Experts’ Belmont Stakes undercard stakes picks

Today’s Belmont Stakes day card has plenty of stakes action before the big race. We asked our experts to share their selections.

The lengthy roster of added-money events five straight Grade 1 races leading to the Belmont itself, so there’s plenty of action (and wagering opportunities) to come.

Read on – and good luck!


This nine-furlong test for older fillies and mares figures to be an early preview of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in November, and all roads lead to defending Distaff champ #5 Idiomatic (3-5), our experts’ top choice. She’s run off six consecutive wins, a streak that included a score in last year’s Grade 2 Delaware Handicap, followed, now, by four straight Grade 1 victories.

Not inclined to take 3-5 on the champ? Our ‘cappers also like Pretty Mischievous (6-1) and Raging Sea (9-2) in their top three. The former, a three-time Grade 1 winner as a three-year-old, was well beaten by Idiomatic last out in the La Troienne and will need to step forward in her second start of the year. The latter, trained by Chad Brown, kicked off her season with a facile score in the Grad3 Doubledogdare.

Joseph AielloTed BlackDerby Bill WatsonEric RubinNick HahnGary QuillMackenzie Pfeiffer
WIN5. Idiomatic5. Idiomatic6. Raging Sea3. Pretty Mischievous6. Raging Sea3. Pretty Mischievous5. Idiomatic
PLACE1. Randomized1. Randomized5. Idiomatic4. Soul of an Angel5. Idiomatic5. Idiomatic2. Tizzy in the Sky
SHOW3. Pretty Mischievous6. Raging Sea3. Pretty Mischievous6. Raging Sea3. Pretty Mischievous1. Randomized3. Pretty Mischievous


If our ‘cappers are right, this seven-furlong test for three-year-olds is a pretty cut-and-dry affair. If not, well, things could get interesting.

New Jersey-bred #1 Book’em Danno (9-2) is undefeated in four starts at seven furlongs or less and 0-for-2 in two tries at a mile. Fortunately for him and trainer Derek Ryan, that puts the Stephens right in his wheelhouse. The speedster ran big last out in the G3 Saudi Derby, a result flattered when winner Forever Young was a near-miss, tough-luck third in the Kentucky Derby.

The 7-2 morning line favorite is #7 Prince of Monaco. The Bob Baffert trainee won his first three starts but hasn’t been seen since running fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Our ‘cappers are also intrigued by #9 Nash (6-1), who was the runner-up as favorite in the Pat Day Mile last out, from which winner Seize the Grey won the Preakness.

Joseph AielloTed BlackDerby Bill WatsonEric RubinNick HahnGary QuillMackenzie Pfeiffer
WIN1. Book’em Danno4. Valentine Candy9. Nash1. Book’em Danno1. Book’em Danno1. Book’em Danno1. Book’em Danno
PLACE7. Prince of Monaco9. Nash7. Prince of Monaco7. Prince of Monaco9. Nash10. Nutella Fella7. Prince of Monaco
SHOW8. Vlahos1. Book’em Danno1. Book’em Danno11. Maximus Meridius7. Prince of Monaco7. Prince of Monaco10. Nutella Fella



Sophomore filly #6 Star of Mystery (6-1) gets all the love from our ‘cappers, which is a bit bold, considering she’s tackling older boys. No worries, though: she’s done so successfully before and is trained by top grass trainer Charlie Appleby.

Others getting some love: #5 Big Invasion (8-1), the runner-up in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint; #12 Mischief Magic (8-1), the other Appleby; and #8 Cogburn (2-1), the morning line favorite off an easy win in the G2 Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs.

Joseph AielloTed BlackDerby Bill WatsonEric RubinNick HahnGary QuillMackenzie Pfeiffer
WIN6. Star of Mystery6. Star of Mystery5. Big Invasion6. Star of Mystery6. Star of Mystery12. Mischief Magic13. Grooms All Bizness
PLACE8. Cogburn12. Mischief Magic8. Cogburn2. Arzak2. Arzak5. Big Invasion4. Coppola
SHOW12. Mischief Magic8. Cogburn7. No Nay Mets8. Cogburn7. No Nay Mets7. No Nay Mets5. Big Invasion


It’s Maryland-bred week at the Spa, as Studlydoright won the Tremont Thursday for trainer Jerry Robb and Future Is Now won the G2 Intercontinental Friday for Mike Trombetta.

If past is prologue, then, it could be a good day for Maryland-bred #3 Post Time (7-2), who our ‘cappers believe will win. He was along too late last out in the G3 Westchester but had won two prior graded events in the G3 General George and G2 Carter. He’ll be looking for some early pace to take the starch out of the frontrunners and then to run ’em down late.

Who else? Last year’s Preakness winner #2 National Treasure (8-5) continues to run at a high level for Baffert and just missed in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. #6 White Abarrio (6-5) won last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Classic but in the Saudi Cup, in which National Treasure was a good fourth, he was absolutely nowhere. Last year’s Preakness runner-up #4 Blazing Sevens (8-1) arrives off a win in just his second start since the Middle Jewel.

Joseph AielloTed BlackDerby Bill WatsonEric RubinNick HahnGary QuillMackenzie Pfeiffer
WIN3. Post Time3. Post Time6. White Abarrio4. Blazing Sevens2. National Treasure3. Post Time3. Post Time
PLACE2. National Treasure2. National Treasure2. National Treasure3. Post Time4. Blazing Sevens2. National Treasure4. Blazing Sevens
SHOW6. White Abarrio6. White Abarrio3. Post Time2. National Treasure6. White Abarrio6. White Abarrio2. National Treasure


Appleby strikes again? Could be, as our ‘cappers like #9 Measured Time (7-2) after he’s racked up five wins in seven starts, a ledger marred only by a pretty good fourth in the G1 Dubai Turf. Our ‘cappers also give some love to #8 Far Bridge (10-1) off an even, troubled effort last out in the G1 Turf Classic and #5 Program Trading (5-2), the favorite off a win in the Turf Classic.

Joseph AielloTed BlackDerby Bill WatsonEric RubinNick HahnGary QuillMackenzie Pfeiffer
WIN9. Measured Time9. Measured Time8. Far Bridge8. Far Bridge9. Measured Time9. Measured Time9. Measured Time
PLACE5. Program Trading5. Program Trading5. Program Trading9. Measured Time5. Program Trading7. Nations Pride1. I’m Very Busy
SHOW1. I’m Very Busy7. Nations Pride1. I’m Very Busy3. Kertez1. I’m Very Busy1. I’m Very Busy5. Program Trading


  • Nick Hahn, author of the eponymous Nick’s Picks for Colonial Downs.
  • Eric Rubin, host of Better Betting podcast
  • Gary Quill, co-host of Better Betting and former The Racing Biz Maryland handicapper
  • Derby Bill Watson, legendary former Colonial Downs on-air analylyst
  • Mackenzie Pfeiffer, Maryland Jockey Club on-air analyst
  • Joseph Aiello handicaps Saratoga for The Racing Biz.
  • Ted Black is the Charles Town correspondent for The Racing Biz.