On Belmont-eve, we are treated to an 11-race card rife with exciting betting opportunities, including five stakes races and an all-graded stakes late pick four. Without further ado, let’s dive right in.Best Bet: #8 Whitmore, Race 8
Value Play: #4 Kitten’s Roar, Race 9 (12-1 Morning Line)
Race 1: 8-6-5
#8 BOBBY ON FLEEK is one of a couple with speed in here. Must survive a duel and cover seven furlong distance, but looms a short price. #6 RIFF RAFF should like the distance while hooking a solid pace to chase. #5 BLUEGRASS PREVAILS could get first run on the closers while tracking the early leaders.
Race 2: 3-7-5-12
#3 CATCH YOUR DREAMS should get somewhat of a pace to work with for the first time in her short career, though trainer’s lack of success on the turf is worrisome. #7 SPRING FOLLY encountered trouble when closing in the debut. Can build off that experience. #5 SHE’S DREAMIN will also look to come running late, and her trainer improves runners second time out. #12 DIVINE CAUSE picks up a top turf jockey in Saez and will turn back to a sprint for the first time since her Saratoga debut
Race 3: 1-4-2-6
#1 TURBO STREET was a close fourth behind two next-out winners last time out. Should be poised for a forward move off that effort. #7 FOX RULES ran well when returned to the turf last time out, could have the pace to himself today. #2 ZENNOR will look to get first run on the closers in this spot. #6 BACKSIDEOFTHEMOON won when setting a slow pace in his first turf try last time out. Today should give us a better account of his grass prowess.
Race 4: 5-2-10-8
#5 MARSHALL PLAN looks tough to beat off near-miss debut, and trainer moves them forward second time out. #2 MR CLASSICAL has put in a few upbeat works, debuting for Chad Brown. #10 IRST was closer to the pace second time out, but faltered late when running wide as odds-on favorite. Looks to rebound today. #8 STAN THE MAN debuts for John Terranova, and put in a bullet work from the gate 5/21.
Race 5 (The Tremont): 7-5-8-2
#7 SALMANAZAR won from the far outside in his debut. One of four Pletcher runners in this race, as he takes up half the field today. Runner-up in that race came back to win. #5 DIRECT DIAL took his debut by open lengths, and Asmussen is known for moving runners forward second time out. #8 ANALYZE THE ODDS drew away to win the debut as heavy favorite. Another of Pletcher’s trainees. #2 ADMIRAL JIMMY one more for Pletcher, could be the speediest of this bunch but must handle the added furlong.
Race 6: 2-9-5-3
#2 ROCKETRY should relish the added ground today, as he closed like a rocket to grab third last time out despite loads of trouble. #9 MARKITOFF steps up from MCl to MSW ranks for trainer Maker who boasts tremendous stats off the claim and with blinkers added. Dangerous if overlooked at 12-1 on the morning line. #5 PROVIDENCE ROAD was hard to handle early, exiting the same race as Rocketry while trying the turf for the first time. Should improve if more settled today. #3 BRIANBAKESCOOKIES sheds the blinkers for Clement, going second time off the layoff.
Race 7: 9-3-12-8
#9 MR. MEISTER faces winners for the first time today, but should work out good position in a field with a questionable pace scenario today. #3 BRICKS AND MORTAR is one of two in here for Chad Brown. Rallied nicely to win his debut. #12 J.S. CHOICE faltered badly in the Breeder’s Cup to end last year. Dangerous with Saez added, but could need a race off the bench. #8 SNAP DECISION may enjoy having a little more ground than thisbut nearly took a Grade 3 in Florida a few months ago.
Race 8 (The True North – G2): 8-5-4-3
#8 WHITMORE impressively ran down A.P. Indian on the Preakness undercard. Should get first run on the closers in here and appears the best of the bunch. #5 FELLOWSHIP could be at his best sprinting, which he hasn’t had a ton of opportunity to do thus far. Should offer a square price while adding Castellano and turned in a blazing workout at Laurel earlier this month. #4 STALLWALKIN’ DUDE was professional in splitting horses to win the Diablo last month. Will try to out-finish a few likely closers today. #3 NOHOLDINGBACKBEAR went wide while Stallwalkin’ Dude dove inside in the Diablo. Has hit the exacta in 7 of 8 at this distance.
Race 9 (The New York – G2): 4-8-2-6
Taking a shot with #4 KITTEN’S ROAR, who needs a career effort to win this, but looks to be at the top of her game for trainer Maker. Should enjoy this added bit of ground and come running late at a price. #8 DACITA won this event last year, but couldn’t close the deal behind a sluggish pace last time out. Another who will be doing her best running late. #2 SUFFUSED steadied in traffic at the top of the stretch while Sea Calisi rounded the field in the Sheepshead Bay last time out. Can turn the tables with a better trip. #6 SEA CALISI can easily win this event, as she finished less than a length behind Dacita in last year’s rendition. Must navigate a slew of closers.
Race 10 (The Belmont Gold Cup Invitational – G3): 3-12-10-11
Hard to get a grasp on a two mile race, but landing on #3 NOW WE CAN, who shipped in to finish second in last year’s running of this event. Proved he could handle America’s firmer turf, and is as good a choice as any in this head-scratcher. #12 WICKLOW BRAVE adds Castellano for this local try. #10 RED CARDINAL has hit the board in all eight career races, and won his only try at this distance. #11 TAGHLEEB may be the best of the domestic faces in this event. Won at the distance at Gulfstream on New Year’s Eve in a minor stakes.
Race 11 (The Bed o’ Roses Invitational – G3): 3-2-9-4
#3 INDULGENT seemed to be coming into her own this spring before faltering in the slop at longer last time out. Should adore this return to a seven-furlong trip while getting back to dry land and presenting some value to close the card. #2 HIGH RIDGE ROAD got the better of By the Moon twice at Laurel, and has been running in tougher spots since then. #9 BY THE MOON is the likely favorite, and adores the Belmont course (4-3-1-0). Should be right in contention, but offer little value. #4 QUEZON hasn’t caught a dry track since last August upstate. Has won half of her eight starts at Belmont, but mostly in restricted company. No telling if she’ll move forward on solid ground or if the mud was beneficial all along.