We look to the East Coast this Saturday for the Belmont. Mike and Miz have given analysis for races 3 through 11 on Belmont’s big day. Race 11 is the 148th running of the Belmont Stakes and the return of Exaggerator to the big stage. Its big card and big money to made! Good Luck!
Race 3: The BIG 3 will be ultra tough here, Carina Mia had a smashing win last time out in the 8Belles at Churchill, she had every excuse to get tired when facing Sophia at Keeneland two back so this time she should give a better account of herself vs. that rival. Speaking of Cathryn Sophia she has been ultra impressive winning 5 of her 6 career starts, the Keeneland race was a bit of a puzzler but she made amends when taking the G1 Kentucky Oaks, strictly the one to beat. Paola Queen doesn’t have near the credentials of the big 3 but looks to be the speed of the race and if the big 3 spend too much time worrying about each other she may be able to take them a long way on the front.
Race 4: Kid Cruz comes into the Brooklyn Invitation with a two-race winning streak. The mile and a half will be the longest distance most of the horses in this race will travel but it should be no problem for Kid Cruz who is racing at his best as of late. The top jockey at Belmont Jose Ortiz keeps the mount and should have the Kid coming up late down the stretch. The Chilean Turco Bravo exits the $100,000 Flat Out Stakes on May 15 narrowly defeating Securitiz who is also in the Brooklyn. This should be a good rematch as both will try the lengthy distance. Javier Castellano will stay aboard Turco Bravo. Securitiz had the momentum in the May 15 race with Turco Bravo traveling well down the stretch. Jockey Irad Ortiz gets back aboard.
Race 5: Carrumba has never missed the exacta in 8 career tries, she needs to make up some ground on a couple of today’s rivals and has never been in this kind of company but have a feeling the connections wouldn’t be taking this shot if they weren’t confident she would give a good account of herself. Classy mare Stopchargingmaria took last year G1 Breeders Cup Distaff and narrowly missed in her return at Keeneland, she should be ready to fire a big shot today with improvement from the return race. Wow! is all you can say about Curalinas romp in the La Troiene at Churchill last out, it’s very tough to come out firing after an extended layoff and crush the way she did, however, with such a big performance off a layoff and a career best Beyer there is a real regression possibility, be careful here.
Race 6: The Grade 3 Jaipur for four-year olds and up on the turf is a race to look for big payouts. You cannot overlook French connection of jockeys Florent Geroux and Julien Leparoux on the turf. I won’t do that here, and go to the outside with Leparoux and the horse in gate 13 Take Cover. This is a gutsy little horse coming off two wins in a row. Only downside, those wins weren’t against the best of company. Guns Loaded on the other hand has been racing with better at Santa Anita. Had a little trouble in the Grade 3 Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs on May 6 but Mario Gutierrez should know how to avoid traffic this time around and if Guns Loaded gets the trip, he could be headed to the winner’s circle for the fourth time in five races. The Chad Brown-trained A Lot is a horse that I like a lot. He’s coming into this race taking a slight cutback in distance which he enjoys. A Lot was in the barn of Bill Mott for his entire career but after being claimed by Chad Brown and cutting back in distance, I’m hoping for A Lot to be winning a lot more. (Editor’s Note: Take Cover scratched from Race 6.)
Race 7: Counterforce will be going past 6 furlongs for the first time in his career but the extra panel should be just to his liking, when facing Justin Squared last out he was pace compromised and with all the speed signed on today he should get a great trip. Sharp Azteca attended a blistering pace in the Pat Day Mile and held well for the score, will be forced to use that pace from the rail but with two excellent works since that last win we know he’s feeling good. Awesome Gent didn’t care for the slop in his last two but before that he rattled off three beauties in a row, should sit a nice trip and expect connections add to long shot intrigue.
Race 8: The Longines Just a Game Turf mile is one of the most difficult races to handicap and one of the best on the card. Rainha Da Bateria finished second to Tepin in her last race and any horse that can hang with one of the best turf horses in this country deserves the respect in this field. Javier Castellano will try to keep her a little closer than 6 wide down the stretch, but count on Rainha to be making up ground. Celestine is 8 of 9 on the turf and is coming out of a solid and impressive victory in the Honey Fox. She set the pace in the mile distance and kicked clear to win for Bill Mott and Junior Alvarado. Three bullet works should put Celestine in good form for the mile. Strike Charmer will enjoy the cut back in distance to the mile and always gives a good solid effort from this veteran turf runner.
Race 9: The Metropolitan handicap is known as a sire making race and this year is no exception with the talent signed on. Calculator has been getting to the leaders in the past few at 7 furlongs, the mile trip should be right up his alley and Alvarado should know exactly when to push the button now having ridden him his past two starts. Upstart is the type whose good race will dazzle you and then will throw in a clunker, he has some huge figures that would make him tough in here including a 102 over this trip and course as a two year old, back class play. It will be hard to keep one of the Pletcher trio off the board and of those three we like Blofeld the best, his stalking style should play very well and two back victory at this one turn mile distance was his best yet.
Race 10: The Grade 1 Manhattan brings the best of the best male turf runners. Look no further than the number 1 post and World Approval. The Casse horse doesn’t have the best work tab but is a graded stakes winner and in good form. Leparoux is hitting 29% for the Casse barn and the mile and a quarter might be the distance World Approval has been looking for. Big Blue Kitten is a veteran at long distance on the turf. Multiple graded stakes races make this consistent son of Kitten’s Joy hard not to include on a ticket. Joe Bravo knows this horse well and has faced the same rivals over and over. Divisidero at 8-1 is a gift. In the head-to-head duel with World Approval in the Turf Classic on Derby Day, he prevailed by a neck. I give the edge to World Approval this time around. Since Prado got in the saddle, Divisidero has hit the board in his last three races, all graded stakes races.
Race 11:The feature of the day is the 148th running of the Belmont Stakes, Destin ran a respectable 6th is Louisville off an 8 week break, his style should put him in a tracking spot without much pace signed he should get first run on the leaders and that is a great asset in this marathon. Suddenbreakingnews encounter all sorts of trouble in the Derby and still came running to narrowly miss third, gets the hall of fame services of Mike Smith today and if anybody knows how to get a horse to come from the clouds on a big day its him. Lani has been a real interesting horse to follow while making every race in the Triple Crown, his latest works have been much improved and you have to think at some point he will show up with a big effort, flyer.