Wednesday's fifth race at Belmont features eight males going 8.5f over the widener grass course.
Contenders (with reasoning to pick)-
#2 Valid (6-1)- Kiaran McLaughlin had some weird tactics in his last race, a work a day before the race, and now gives him an 11 day break following a 5f work. These odd tactics could either mean a sneaky and carefully planned race by Kiaran, or it could mean a tired horse/no show. He might have a chance here, as he could get a easy pace with the best E1/E2 pace figures, which are consistently in the 100's or high 90's.
#4 Red Vine (2-1)- This classy fellow has never finished off the board. He is a reliable option to at least finish in the money. He comes from the tangible duo of Javier Castellano/Christopher Clemente. He runs distributed races and should improve if needed, as he is lightly raced.
#6 Royal Blessing (8-1)- This Thomas Albertani charge loves Belmont Park, he has succeeded at this distance, he has succeeded off the layoff, and is cutting back in distance. He will be stepping down in distance- which I think will be a good thing- and him getting Irad Ortiz Jr. on board is a positive. I have hit many longshots with Ortiz.
#7 Rapscallion (7-2)- Rapscallion is another one of those consistent grass types, who is technically a lock to hit the board. He gets a phenomenal jockey switch, getting Hall of Famer Johnny Velasquez, and is trained by Graham Motion. He runs distributed races and is well placed for this event. Look for improvement in only his 5th career start.
#2 Valid is expected to be the pace setter here. Valid's pars are earlier than the field. Expect him to at least get the lead and be there in the stretch. #1 Idol American might be one of the stalkers, along with #7 Rapscallion. #8 Peace and Justice could end up being a difference maker here, as his pars have been odd through his first two starts, and not quite sure what to expect from him. The late animals worth watching are without question #4 Red Vine and #6 Royal Blessing. Besides my four contenders posted above, I do have a couple I think could hit the board. This pace is pretty simple, without much evaluation. It looks like an average pace currently.
The Belmont Grass, this course, has yielded 50% L and 50% P. The course has been favorable to late movers.
PLAYS (barring any scratches or change of surface)...
$.50 Trifecta: 2-4-6-7/2-4-6-7/ALL = $36
$.50 Trifecta: 2-4-6-7/ALL/ALL = $84
$2 Exacta: ALL/2-4-6-7 = $48