Saturday is Stars and Stripes Day at Belmont Park, and it’s produced a stellar card with top-quality racing and ample wagering opportunities. I’ll profile the Pick Five and late Pick Four, and hopefully we can build on Tuesday’s success, which included a Pick Five score at Santa Anita. One note: This analysis assumes races scheduled for the turf stay there.
Here’s how I’ll play the card!
$0.50 Pick Five: Race #1
64 Bets, $32
Don’t get too excited thinking we’ll get a price on my single, because I have a VERY difficult time believing we’ll get 6-1 on Le Pin. This colt hasn’t been seen since a solid December debut, where he faded to third in a race won by eventual stakes winner Classic Rock. He’s bred up and down for the turf and should improve in his second start for trainer Todd Pletcher; if we get the listed odds, I’ll be very happy to bet him.
I think the second and third races each come down to two betting interests. I actually preferred 3-1 second choice Bareeqa to 2-1 favorite Selenite before the latter scratched. I’ll substitute a two-horse entry that could be well-meant. Moving to the middle leg, Base Command and National Flag are entered in the third and look like promising 2-year-olds.
I’ll spread in the last two legs, and in doing so, I’ll be alive to a few big prices. 20-1 bomb Kitty Maddnes steps up in class in the fourth, but does so off of an impressive win in her second start of the year. Another step forward would make her a contender at a big price. Additionally, Arghad has never run a truly bad race in six career starts. The cutback he’ll get in Saturday’s fifth should help this 15-1 shot, and I think he’ll be live at a nice number.
$0.50 Pick Four: Race #7
66 Bets, $33
This is an all-stakes Pick Four that includes both Grade 1 races on the Saturday program, as well as a pair of Grade 2 affairs that feature some of the best older horses in the country. I’ll start off with a single, as Mind Your Biscuits seems to have a picture-perfect setup in the Belmont Sprint Championship. Green Gratto and Unified will both be gunning for the lead, which should play into the hands of the returning Dubai Golden Shaheen winner. He loves this seven-furlong distance, and I think he’ll be extremely tough to beat.
The eighth is the Belmont Oaks, and I’m using all three of Chad Brown’s entrants (he had four, but Fifty Five scratched). Sistercharlie ran a tremendous race against much better horses overseas last out, while New Money Honey showed a new dimension when racing on the lead in her Wonder Again win and Uni has been training very well. Meanwhile, I was tempted to single Shaman Ghost in the Suburban, as he does figure to be the best horse in the race. However, I can’t shake the possibility of Matt King Coal getting loose on the front end and wiring the field. As such, I had to use him (thankfully, the ticket isn’t too expensive!).
This leads us to the Belmont Derby. It’s the main event of Stars and Stripes Day, $1.2 million is on the line…and I’m waving the white flag. For my money, this is the most wide-open race on the card. I can make a valid case for as many as seven or eight of these runners, and given that I have plenty of room in my budget, I’m going to hit the “ALL” button to buy myself some security. Even if the first few legs are chalky, this Pick Four has solid potential, as the Belmont Derby favorite may not go off much higher than 3-1 or 7/2.