BELMONT STAKES DAY PRICE PLAYS

Miss Marissa
Miss Marissa held off Bonny South to win the 2020 Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes. Photo by Allison Janezic.

We scoured the Belmont Stakes card to find a some palatable price plays on a day featuring no fewer than eight Grade 1 races, topped, of course, by the Belmont Stakes.

What’d we come up with? Read on to find out:

In the Grade 1 Woody Stephens, #1 Nova Rags (8-1) offers intrigue. The betting public will likely focus on Jackie’s Warrior and Dream Shake, who ran one-two all the way around the track in the Pat Day Mile on the Derby undercard, but both benefited from the speed bias. On the cutback from route races, with plentiful front end speed to liven things up, Nova Rags figures to be running on late with Junior Alvarado up for Hall of Famer Bill Mott…

Conversely, the in Grade 1 Acorn – and, sorry, this one’s not much of a price – the stretching-out #4 Dayoutoftheoffice (4-1) could be sitting on a strong effort. The Tim Hamm trainee gacked up a two-length lead late to be second in the G2 Eight Belles last time on the Kentucky Oaks undercard, but that was her first start since November when second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. The added ground shout suit her today – the Eight Belles was a furlong shorter than this one-mile test – and most of the money figures to head towards Kentucky Oaks runner-up Search Results and fifth-place horse Travel Column…

  • Fillies rule at MHBA Yearling Show
    A Street Sense filly was named Grand Champion while a Great Notion filly was tabbed reserve champion at the 2021 MHBA Yearling Show August 1.

Letruska ran huge last time out to defeat both Monomoy Girl and Swiss Skydiver in the G1 Apple Blossom and, after scratches, won’t have to contend with either of those rivals in the G1 Ogden Phipps. She will have to square off, however, with another horse with plentiful front-end speed in 2020 Kentucky Oaks winner Shedaresthedevil. If those two hook up, that could play to the benefit of #7 Bonny South (10-1), who arrives off a Grade 3 win in her first start of the season and certainly owns the right to move forward today. Do note that regular pilot Florent Geroux picks trainer Brad Cox’s other horse in here, Shedaresthedevil, though getting Joel Rosario up is a pretty nice consolation prize…

The two Grade 1 turf tests might be among the best on the card. The G1 Just a Game is a wide-open affair, so anywhere you look ought to provide value. We’re thinking the showdown between three Chad Brown runners – including our preferred #6 Pocket Square (5-1) – and two Charlie Appleby trainees in #8 Althiqa (8-1) and #9 Summer Romance (6-1) ought to be worth the price of admission.

The G1 Manhattan is another fantastic race, featuring Grade 1 winners Domestic Spending, Channel Cat, Gufo, and Colonel Liam. Chad Brown trains four (!) of the 10, including Domestic Spending…

In the Belmont, the winner likely comes from the trio of Essential Quality, beaten favorite when fourth by a length in the Kentucky Derby; Preakness winner Rombauer; and Derby show horse Hot Rod Charlie with perhaps a slight edge to Rombauer. Look for #5 France Go de Ina (30-1) to give an improved account of himself here and maybe sneak into the exotics as the longest shot on the board. This globetrotting runner, based in Japan, had a lot of things go sideways before the Preakness and was rank early in the race. But he ran a decent race for all that and remained prominent until midway on the final turn before backing out. He’s got better races in him still…

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