Belmont Derby requires spread in all-stakes Late Pick 4

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

July 8th, 2017

An all-stakes Pick 4 encompassing 80 percent of Belmont Park's graded stakes on Saturday is a bit of a challenge even with one planned single (and not the one you might expect) in the sequence. Here are my thoughts on the four races:

Belmont Sprint Championship (G3) -- Race 7

Unified (#7, 5-2) edged Mind Your Biscuits (#2, 9-5) by a neck in the Gulfstream Sprint Championship (G3) in February, with the latter going on to dominate the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1). Both are among the best sprinters on the East Coast and are hard to dismiss. I'll also include the deep-closing Awesome Slew (#5, 5-1), who drew a bad post in the Met Mile (G1) and should appreciate the cut back to seven furlongs.

Belmont Oaks (G1) -- Race 8

With an unlucky second in the Prix de Diane (French Oaks [G1]) last time, Sistercharlie (#12, 5-2) may well stand out against these. She was stopped in running, recovered and closed fast to get within a length of the longshot winner Senga, an effort arguably good enough to win this if repeated.

Suburban (G2) -- Race 9

On strict form, it's Shaman Ghost's (#6, 4-5) to lose. However, he had to work pretty hard to win the Pimlico Special (G3) and virtually the only pace here will have to be provided by Matt King Coal (#2, 7-2).

Belmont Derby (G1) -- Race 9

Oscar Performance (#4, 3-1) could be looking at yet another easy lead following a wire-to-wire score in the Pennine Ridge (G3), and his pedigree suggests another furlong is within his scope. Good Samaritan (#1, 12-1) and Ticonderoga (#2, 15-1) were stuck behind the slow pace of Oscar Performance and can improve if the that one gets unexpected pressure. Arklow (#6, 8-1) has improved considerably since moving to turf, while Called To The Bar (#5, 5-1) won a key Group 3 at Saint-Cloud and perhaps is better the Coolmore entries Homesman (#3, 4-1) and Whitecliffsofdover (#10, 10-1). I'll lean against them as well as Yoshida (#7, 7-2), who won the James W. Murphy at Pimlico convincingly but against a field that has not subsequently flattered the form.

Here's the 50-cent ticket: 2/5/7 with 12 with 2/6 with 1/2/4/5/6 = $30.

Good luck!