Here are stakes picks forSaturday’s Belmont Stakes Day card, a cornucopia of wagering opportunities. Updated after scratches.
Race 1 | Easy Goer Stakes | 1 1/16 miles
1. Economic Model
3. Rally Cry
4. Race Me Home
Comment: Cupid is a logical pick, but at 3/5 is too short for backing. While he’s raced against the toughest company, the Rebel win looks to be more anomaly than trend. Economic Model has a nice race over the track and offers some value (five-horse-field value).
Race 3 | Grade I Acorn Stakes | 1 mile
1. Carina Mia
2. Cathryn Sophia
3. Go Maggie Go
4. Off the Tracks
Comment: This is a blockbuster event where Carina Mia might be best suited to the one-turn mile after her impressive race in the Eight Belles. If betting multi-race wagers, you have to include the Kentucky Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia. A well-matched bunch.
Race 4 | Grade II Brooklyn Invitational Stakes | 1 1/2 miles
1. Shaman Ghost
2. Kid Cruz
3. Turco Bravo
Comment: Multi-race wagers may want to go as many as five deep (Securitiz would be the other), but giving the edge to Shaman Ghost based on having won at a mile and a quarter and racing in his second off a long layoff. Kid Cruz would be no surprise. Turbo Bravo won a furlong short of this distance and deserves consideration. Samraat is the classiest horse in the race but could be distance challenged.
Race 5 | Grade I Ogden Phipps Stakes | 1 1/16 miles
2. Sheer Drama
Comment: Curlina won the Acorn and was second in the Beldame over this track, ran her eyeballs out in her first of the year at Churchill Downs and should improve in her second race off the shelf. Sheer Drama wouldn’t surprise after a rough trip in the LaTroienne. Cavorting is three-for-four at Big Sandy, including a win in her most recent race, the Ruffian. In her third off a layoff, she has upside.
Race 6 | Grade III Jaipur Stakes | 6 furlongs turf
1. A Lot
2. Green Mask
4. Guns Loaded
Comment: A Lot shortens up from his most recent win and has a shot at a bit of a price in a wide-open affair where multi-race wagers will need to use several. Green Mask broke his maiden at the distance on this lawn two years ago and narrowly missed in April. Can improve in third off the shelf.
Race 7 | Grade II Woody Stephens Stakes | 7 furlongs
1. Sharp Azteca
2. Justin Squared
Comment: Sharp Azteca impressed in the Pat Day Mile and should have every chance. Justin Squared gets his toughest test yet.
Race 8 | Grade I Longines Just a Game Stakes | 1 mile turf
2. Lexie Lou
3. My Miss Sophia
Comment: Recepta was impressive despite a rough trip last out and could pull off a mild upset. Lexie Lou is a Canadian champion and is irresistible at 15-1. My Miss Sophia might improve in her second start of the year.
Race 9 | Grade I Metropolitan Handicap | 1 mile
4. Anchor Down
Comment: Will trust that Pletcher knew what he was doing scratching Stanford at Pimlico. Frosted’s only knock is how he’ll run off the ship from Dubai. Calculator always is right there, gets a little weight break and is a spicy 10-1 in the morning line.
Race 10 | Grade I Woodford Reserve Manhattan Stakes | 1 1/4 miles turf
4. Big Blue Kitten
Comment: Another furlong from the Churchill Downs Derby Day affair should benefit Slumber, particularly in his second race off the shelf. Flintshire is among the best in the world and gets Lasix for the first time. Ironicus is two-for-three at Belmont and Big Blue Kitten won this last year.
Race 11 | Grade I Belmont Stakes | 1 1/2 miles
4. Cherry Wine
Comment: Suddenbreakingnews has the breeding to relish the distance and can boast a closing move almost as impressive as Exaggerator’s in the Kentucky Derby — and maybe more so if you consider the troubled trip. Exaggerator, the Preakness winner and Derby runner up, is the most likely winner but the price is not enticing. Destiny was a play-against in the Derby based on a two-month layoff, but ran a credible sixth and wouldn’t be a shocker after that experience.