Just a Game Stakes 2021 Results: Althiqa beats stablemate to win

What a day for Charlie Appleby. Wins the Epsom Derby in the UK then a 1-2 in the Just a Game at Belmont.
What a day for Charlie Appleby. Wins the Epsom Derby in the UK then a 1-2 in the Just a Game at Belmont.

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Just a Game Stakes Results & Payouts 2021
  • Finish Position/Horse
  • Win ($)
  • Place ($)
  • Show ($)

Finish Position/Horse

  • 1. Althiqa
  • 2. Summer Romance
  • 3. Daddy is a Legend

Win ($)

  • 16.80

Place ($)

  • 8.30
  • 9.40

Show ($)

  • 5.80
  • 7.10
  • 6.60

The Just a Game was the second race in a row where the top pick for our in-house handicapper was scratched but he always has a backup option:

I like Sweet Bye and Bye from a price standpoint, but this Just a Game feels ripe for an overseas invader, which is why Althiqa is a very narrow second choice for me. Her stablemate Summer Romance (#9) could get more wagering attention, and I can’t say it wouldn’t be for good reason as she beat Althiqa by three lengths last out in the G2 Balanchine, but I think Althiqa is the one you want in this spot. Two races ago, Althiqa blew the doors off Summer Romance going about a mile at Meydan, and it’s likely the frontrunning Summer Romance is going to be pressured early in this spot, or taken out of her element entirely. With plenty of pace signed on to set up her late kick, I think the talented Althiqa makes a ton of sense here.

As for our turf-man - he likes her stablemate...

As for my top pick, give me Summer Romance #9 because not only is she fit after working well on the track over the past month, but she is getting Luis Saez. Talk about a major plus! Her PPs are full of talented opponents. Look back to 2020, when she ran in France against an excellent grass goer named Watch Me in the Prix Rothschild (G1). So what … she was 6th? The point is, European class is European class. If the Breeders’ Cup is any yardstick, then American bettors would do well to remember how good these international Thoroughbreds can be. A little cut in the turf should also be appreciated based on her experience from last year. Snowball argument …

Pocket Square was a big market mover with Jose Ortiz on the British horse and that may well have been a big part of the pools shortening her odds.

It was however going to be a day for Charlie Appleby. The British trainer won the Epsom Derby over in the UK and then took out a 1-2 in the Just a Game here. Summer Romance went out to the early lead and never relinquished it under her stablemate came on the inside of her down the final stretch. Mike Smith didn't have a mount in any of the other Graded Stakes races at Belmont today but made the most of his only ride as he led Althiqa to the win.

The Charlie Appleby 8-9 exacta paid out a tasty $41.25 with the single win paying out $16.80

Belmont Stakes 2021
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