The Aqueduct winter meet has its fans. However, Belmont means the return of real New York turf racing and some of the biggest stars in the game.
Racing fans welcomed Belmont Park back into the racing fold on Thursday. The card featured 9 races over 3 surfaces. Making use of the dirt, turf, and inner turf the meet kicked off of several months of racing that will be highlighted by the Belmont Stakes in June.
Race 1 was run on a firm turf course and saw Rheaume at 7-1 check back and close from well off the pace on debut. Both turf courses played heavily to horses coming from the deeper flights. This is fairly typical of New York grass racing as much of the running happens in the late stages.
The best trip on the grass again, not surprisingly was to be inside and save ground. Even the wide turf winners waited until the top of the lane to tip out to the center of the track.
The dirt racing had a little bit of everything for trip handicappers. Horses won from way out of it, just of the pace, and on the front end. One thing that did seem to be evident was that the wider paths of the stretch seemed like where you wanted to be to make up ground.
There is some evidence that may have been changing later in the day as Its All Relevant was a 12-1 winner and did so with a mostly front running inside run in race 8.
Friday Full Card Analysis
Belmont Park Race 1
Post: 1:20 PM ET; Purse: $55,000 Claiming, 1 Mile on Dirt; Entries: 8
- #1A FOXTAIL (8-5) looks to be the class of this field and should get the best of the race flow. The presence of a stablemate also should enhance the chances should team tactics come into play.
- #1 CHARGE ACCOUNT (8-5) will look to set an honest pace and if no one goes with this one it could be a wire to wire victory for this runner who has the top speed figures in the group.
- #4 CHAYSENBRYN (3-1) makes sense outside of the favored entry as this runner has picked up check after check at the mile distance.
- #2 INDIAN BELLA (7-2) is in good form and will have solid connections backing this runner.
Belmont Park Race 2
Post: 1:52 PM ET; Purse: $80,000 Allowance, 1 1/16 Miles on Dirt; Entries: 6
- #6 STONE CREATOR (6-5) should be the pace and has the best speed figures in the group.
- #5 I’M FINE (5-1) has class ratings that make this one a definite player at an overlaid price.
- #1 THAT IS KEY (10-1) could wear down the field late if the pace is coming back to him.
- #2 PREPOSTEROUS (2-1) will look to get a good trip in this race. 2-1 seems too short for the chances but this one would hardly be a surprise winner.
Selections: 6-5-1-2 (Best Bet: #6 STONE CREATOR)
Belmont Park Race 3
Post: 2:23 PM ET; Purse: $100,000 Affirmed Success S., 6 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 5
- #1 NY TRAFFIC (1-1) has the pace and speed figures that make this one possibly the most likely winner.
- #4 BANK ON SHEA (8-5) has been up against some of the toughest New York company lately.
- #2 REGGAE MUSIC MAN (5-1) will look to get a nice pace setup in today’s race.
- #5 LOBSTA (4-1) is a player in this spot and is a must use in underneath positions of the exotics.
Belmont Park Race 4
Post: 2:52 PM ET; Purse: $75,000 Maiden Special Weight, 6 Furlongs on Turf; Entries: 9
- #3 SHAMALAMADINGDONG (5-2) is the experience of the field and could have a significant advantage on this group.
- #6 LOLA LOLA (8-1) is a first time starter that is an intriguing process at 8-1.
- #9 SEE ME NOW (7-2) could get the right setup here.
- #2 QUEEN OF LIES (3-1) has the foundation to run here. Sometime you can see a marked improvement early in these horses careers that could put this one over the top.
Belmont Park Race 5
Post: 3:23 PM ET; Purse: $35,000 Maiden Claiming, 6 1/2 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 10
- #2 WE READY (5-1) has run honest enough races to be considered in this spot. The price is right on this one.
- #10 PRINCE OF FENTON (3-1) shouldn’t be too concerned with the wide draw and could run a big performance.
- #9 MISTER J T (6-1) may end up setting the pace in this race and with maiden claimers that’s never a bad place to be.
- #7 ROMANTIC MAN (6-1)has the top speed figures, but it is hard to know what to make of the speed figures earned at this level.
Belmont Park Race 6
Post: 3:54 PM ET; Purse: $41,000 Claiming, 6 Furlongs on Turf; Entries: 11
- #3 RUNAWAY ROCKETTE (7-2) has the top power rating in the group and should be a tough customer here.
- #10 FREEDOMOFTHEPRESS (4-1) is the fastest turf horse in the group.
- #11 CANDY MONET (6-1) pairs class with a favorable run style for the Belmont turf.
- #5 APPRECIATE (10-1) is an outsider with a chance to get involved in the exotics.
Belmont Park Race 7
Post: 4:27 PM ET; Purse: $48,000 Claiming, 6 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 8
- #5 SICILIA MIKE (3-1) is in great form and really likes these dirt sprints.
- #7 BELLE TAPISSERIE (5-2) is the top speed figure player in the group.
- #1 ALCOOLS (3-1) gets the benefit of being an entry here so if you bet this one you get Fast Break too. This is a sentimental pick as this is one who has been on the right end of some good scores.
- #1A FAST BREAK (3-1) paired with the #1 this one is another who has run top speed figures in the group.
Belmont Park Race 8
Post: 5:01 PM ET; Purse: $94,000 Allowance Optional Claiming, 7 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 6
- #6 SHESALITTLE EDGY (8-1) could be early speed and may look to pull the upset on the front end.
- #2 CUSTOMEREXPERIENCE (5-2) has the top speed figures in the group.
- #3 FLASHNDYNAMITE (6-1) has top connections and may get an ideal trip in this spot.
- #1 LOVE AND LOVE (2-1) comes into the race in great form. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see this one in the winner’s circle at the end of the day.
Belmont Park Race 9
Post: 5:32 PM ET; Purse: $45,000 Maiden Claiming, 6 Furlongs on Turf; Entries: 15
- #7 MIZTERTONIC (7-2) is a fresh face coming to a field of losers. I usually prefer those with experience in maiden specials and those without in claimers.
- #5 BOX OF JOE (3-1) has run against some decent company given the class level.
- #2 KARMA’S WARRIOR (8-1) is a slightly less interesting newcomer to the group. That being said, at 8-1 against this field, it is hard to talk anyone off this horse.
- #10 HE’SGOTTASHORTFUSE (10-1) is a price horse that may outrun the odds here.
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