Here are stakes picks for Friday’sBelmont Stakes-eve card, with a couple races that are enticing. Updated for scratches.
Race 3 | Rags to Riches Stakes | 1 1/2 miles
1. Mei Ling
3. Joint Return
Comment: Mei Ling has never been out of the money at Belmont and gets a distance that his sire, a Belmont Stakes winner, says he should like. Joint Return can improve in second start since a couple months off, is a shorter price and unproven at the distance.
Race 4 | Tremont Stakes | 5 1/2 furlongs
1. Hey Mike
2. Silver Mission
3. Lady Stardust
4. Saratoga Two Step
Comment: A very interesting edition where the edge goes to Hey Mike based on his second-place finish in the Kentucky Juvenile during Derby week where the third-place finisher in that stake came back to win for fun last weekend. Silver Mission is second pick solely because Velazquez stays on this one.
Race 5 | Jersey Girl Stakes | 6 furlongs
2. One True Kiss
3. She’s All Ready
4. Quick Release
Comment: Kareena won what looks to be a key race and looms large.
Race 8 | Grade II True North Stakes | 6 furlongs
1. Always Sunshine
2. Catalina Red
3. Holy Boss
Comment: The scratch of Private Zone probably makes this a better betting race. Always Sunshine is the next most likely winner but not a lock. Catalina Red can improve in the second start of the year after a very impressive 2016 debut.
Race 9 | Grade II New York Stakes | 1 1/4 miles turf
1. Sea Calisi
3. Havana Moon
4. Photo Call
Comment: Sea Calisi is my single in multi-race wagers. Can improve in second U.S. start after running against Europe’s best. Trophee could add value to the exacta and has done well on the Belmont lawn.
Race 10 | Belmont Gold Cup Invitational Stakes | 2 miles turf
1. Da Big Hoss
2. Up With the Birds
3. Closing Bell
4. Now We Can
Comment: Da Big Hoss is a proven distance runner and has the right running style for this kind of marathon. Up With the Birds is a contender in year’s third start.