UPDATED: Belmont Stakes Day stakes picks

Here are stakes picks for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes Day card, an annual cornucopia of wagering opportunities. Updated to reflect scratches.

Race 2 | Easy Goer Stakes | 1 1/16 miles

1. Wicked Macho
2. West Coast
3. Outplay
4. You’re to Blame

Comment: Wicked Macho is working bullets left and right and had an impressive debut and the horse behind him came back to win next. Senior Investment’s in-the-money finish in the Preakness Stakes flatters West Coast’s second to that one in the Lexington Stakes. Outplay takes a step up but appears capable.

Race 3 |Grade II Brooklyn Invitational Stakes | 1 1/2 miles

1. Tu Brutus
2. Doyouknowsomething
3. Sunny Ridge
4. Governor Malibu

Comment: The top four have been duking it out the last few months and show up here in this route. Tu Brutus gets the edge if he can set a pace like he did in the Flat Out. Doyouknowsomething appears a little distance challenged, but hasn’t finished off the board this year. Sunny Ridge, similarly, has had his share of wins against these — but at shorter distances.

Race 4 |Grade I Acorn Stakes | 1 mile

1. Salty
2. Sweet Loretta
3. Abel Tasman
4. Union Strike

Comment: Abel Tasman does not get the contested pace in front of her that set up her Longines Kentucky Oaks win. Salty gets a better trip from a better post position (in a smaller field) and can prevail. Sweet Loretta won the Grade III Beaumont in her 2017 bow and jockey Javier Castellano gets off Eight Belles winner Benner Island for this one instead. The Oaks winner figures to hit the board even if she doesn’t get a favorable pace setup.

Race 5 | Grade I Ogden Phipps Stakes | 1 1/16 miles 

1. Songbird
2. Carina Mia
3. Paid Up Subscriber
4. Highway Star

Comment: Is Songbird vulnerable in her first start of the year? Probably not. Being contrarian here is probably a bad bet. Carina Mia can improve in her second start of the year after a stiff and respectable 2017 debut in the Grade I Humana Distaff. Paid Up Subscriber will improve with a better trip.

Race 6 | Grade III Jaipur Stakes | 6 furlongs turf 

1. Pure Sensation
2. Green Mask
3. Conquest Enforcer
4. Disco Partner

Comment: Pure Sensation is two-for-two on this course at this distance, including winning last year’s edition. Green Mask also has won at the distance over this course and should have no problem with the extra furlong from his stakes win at Churchill Downs. Conquest Enforcer returns to turf, which should help him. Disco Partner should improve in his second start of the year and has experience over this turf.

Race 7 | Grade II Woody Stephens Stakes | 7 furlongs

1. Long Haul Bay
2. Wild Shot
3. American Anthem
4. The Money Monster

Comment: Long Haul Bay will have to step up his game in just his third start, but has two nice wins, one in graded company, and appears capable. Wild Shot had the best race coming into this and he was competitive with the best of his generation on the Triple Crown trail, but have doubts even in a return to a shorter distance. American Anthem would be no surprise and must be used on multi-race tickets.

Race 8 | Grade I Just a Game Stakes | 1 mile turf 

1. Roca Rojo
2. Antonoe
3. Dickinson
4. Celestine

Comment: If Roca Rojo improves just a little in her second start of the year, she’ll be tough to beat and is a candidate to be singled in multi-race wagers. Stablemate Antonoe is being challenged here but, similarly, an advance here could put her in the thick of it. Dickinson impressed at Keeneland and is one of the main threats.

Race 9 | Grade I Mohegan Sun Metropolitan Handicap | 1 mile

1. Awesome Slew
2. Mor Spirit
3. Sharp Azteca
4. Tom’s Ready

Comment: Wide open. Multi-race bettors likely will have to use several and hold their breath. Awesome Slew is a little bit of a value pick and was second at Churchill to Limousine Liberal who came back to win the Aristides. This is a steep climb for Awesome Slew in one of American racing’s most prestigious races — but it’s possible.

Race 10 | Grade I Woodford Reserve Manhattan Stakes | 1 1/4 miles turf

1. World Approval
2. Time Test
3. Divisidero
4. Beach Patrol

Comment: World Approval scratched on Kentucky Derby day and showed in the Dixie what might have been if not for soft going at Churchill. He should have every chance. Time Test would not surprise, but multi-race bettors, again, probably should use a handful here — unless you love World Approval. I’ll single him on at least one ticket.

Race 11 | Grade I Belmont Stakes | 1 1/2 miles

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