Manhattan Stakes 2021 Picks: Domestic Spending keeps costs low

Trainer Chad Brown has Domestic Spending back for a rematch with Colonel Liam ... See what is what in this turf tradition at Belmont!
Trainer Chad Brown has Domestic Spending back for a rematch with Colonel Liam ... See what is what in this turf tradition at Belmont!

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1¼ (Turf) Manhattan S. (G1), $750k, 4+

Before the “Feature,” as is custom on a Super Saturday in North American racing, a major Grade 1 turf distance contest takes the stage. The Manhattan S. has a lovely history, and is a mainstay on this Belmont card. It is like getting an extra present during the holidays. The 1¼ test forces jockeys to decide whether to “settle” their mounts early or go for the gusto and get loose on the lead.

There are many directions to go, but I cannot see anyone beating Domestic Spending #4 from the barn of Chad Brown. Here is why … bred out of Kingman (GB), last time this deep turf router came off-the-bench in maybe one of the toughest grass races of the year—Turf Classic @CD on Derby Day. The 4-yr-old gelding had to face short-priced favorite Colonel Liam #10, and that was no easy task. With Flavien Prat in the saddle, the “KS” of Klaravich came rolling late! He was just up in time to score a “Dead Heat.” Now, Prat has returned, and I am not at all worried about the added distance. The sky is the limit for this one.

As for Todd Pletcher’s Colonel Liam #10, unfortunately he will not have the services of Irad Ortiz. The star jock was thrown off a mount on Thursday, and though he was not severely injured, he is out for Belmont Stakes Day. That will have a huge impact on the turf races because Ortiz is an absolute brute on the lawn. He can take over a race, and finds more gears when it appears that there is none. I still think Pletcher’s prize is good, but clearly this is a big loss.

When it comes to long shots in this race, you could consider a talented runner like City Man #1. This Christophe Clement charge was pretty game in Fort Marcy (G2) last time at Belmont on KYD147 Day. Not many noticed how good the colt was, and I suspect that the addition of Tyler Gaffalione will be a boon in this spot. If he can keep his mount out of traffic troubles, then he has a shot to hit the board at a price. Let’s take to the turf!

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Wheel, 4 w 1/10

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