With an epic day of top shelf racing on tap and a Triple Crown on the line, this Saturday at Belmont Park should go down in history as one of racing’s greatest days ever. Race after race, this card is absolutely stacked. I could gush all day about how fantastic of a day it will be, but we have work to do and winners to dope out. Here are some quick thoughts on the day’s six grade 1 affairs…
The pace could get hot and will definitely be contested for these three year old fillies and for that reason I will be against the morning line favorite and frontrunner, My Miss Sophia. I landed on House Rules as my top selection as I believe she will love getting back to a one turn mile. Same goes for Unbridled Forever. If you look back to her race at one turn, she broke her maiden in style that day going seven panels at Churchill Downs. Rounding out my top three will be Eight Belles winner Fiftyshadesofgold. Going one turn is definitely her game and if she is able to settle nicely off the pace she will be tough again this time out. Others I gave looks to, and that may be on my tickets in multi-race wagers, are Sweet Reason and Artemis Agrotera. Both have shown talent and have been working well, but I do worry that both are coming off layoffs in a tough race. Regardless, I may have to throw them on some of my tickets.
1. House Rules 2. Unbridled Forever 3. Fiftyshadesofgold
The Ogden Phipps
What a showdown this is going to be. East coast verse west coast at its finest. The winner obviously will be Close Hatches, Beholder, or Princess of Sylmar. Although Close Hatches has proven me wrong many times in the past I think this race will go to either Beholder or Princess of Sylmar. I expect a truly awesome stretch drive that will ultimately go to the Princess. This race is in her back yard and I know for sure that we did not see her best the last time these two great fillies met in the Breeders’ Cup. What a race!
1. Princess of Sylmar 2. Beholder 3. Close Hatches
The Just a Game
I am all in on Discreet Marq in here. She is the class of the field and should get a perfect trip pressing the pace. She will be a single for me. Two others I find interesting though if she does not fire today are Somali Lemonade and Coffee Clique. Somali Lemonade has a new lease on life after adding the blinkers and I feel Coffee Clique has finally put it all together and has become a serious racehorse. If my top one falters these are the two I expect to beat her.
1. Discreet Marq 2. Somali Lemonade 3. Coffee Clique
The Met Mile
Let me start off by saying I am a huge Palace Malice fan. I wasn’t always, but he has proven that he is an absolute beast and won me over. He is a top class animal and truly a pleasure to watch run. With that said, I am against him today. I feel the rail, along with twelve talented foes to his outside, will be too much to overcome. Since I am trying to beat him I will go deep on multi-race tickets. Horses I believe can win this are Goldencents, Central Banker, Normandy Invasion, Clearly Now, and Shakin It Up. My top selection in here is Clearly Now. I have been chasing him since November’s Cigar Mile at Aqueduct and this poor guy just cannot get a clean trip. With Lezcano, the last jock to win aboard him, and a nice outside post I expect him to finally repay me for my loyalty (and yes, I know I have written this about him before). Filling out my second and third choices Shakin It Up and Central Banker. Shakin It Up may have moved too soon last out and may be able to turn the tables this time on Central Banker. As for Central Banker, he is too sharp to disregard at this time.
1. Clearly Now 2. Shakin It Up 3. Central Banker
The way I see it, this is Seek Again’s race to lose. He is coming into this second time off of the layoff after giving Wise Dan all he could handle his comeback race. He owns a win at the trip and in my opinion is your most likely winner. The one I will fear though will be Grandeur. I was against him last out and I thought he ran very well. He gets Gary Stevens up today and adds Lasix which can only help his chances. He is the main threat. Rounding out my trio will be Imagining. I can’t figure this one out. I bet against he wins, I bet on him he falters. He cannot be counted out.
1. Seek Again 2. Grandeur 3. Imagining
The day’s main event will cap off an absolutely unreal day of racing with an elusive Triple Crown on the line. It does not get any better than that, folks. After much scrutiny, I can only envision this race playing out two ways. One is California Chrome kicking away to glory at the top of the lane and running straight into the history books. The other is California Chrome kicks away at the top of the lane,Victor Espinoza peaks back at the competition, and sees Wicked Strong coming like a freight train to mow him down in the final yards. I expect the final furlong to be about as dramatic as it can get. In my heart of hearts though, I believe California Chrome will indeed become our twelfth Triple Crown winner. I do not think we have seen everything he has yet and I expect Espinoza to empty his tank in here. History will be made this Saturday in the Belmont Stakes.
1. California Chrome 2. Wicked Strong