Belmont Festival $100 budget plays: Thursday Late Pick 4

Profile Picture: James Scully

June 8th, 2017

The 2017 Belmont Festival kicks off Thursday, with 18 stakes races being offered over the 3-day period, and the track is guaranteeing huge pools for multi-race wagers (Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5 & Pick 6).

I will be playing many of these pools on a $100 budget. Here are my thoughts and tickets for Thursday’s $250,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4:

6th race: A lot of players will be spreading in the opener, a 1 3/8-mile turf allowance/optional claimer that features a contentious field of 14, but I will take a stand with #1 Keepingitquiet. The Medaglia d’Oro colt lost all chance at the start of his career debut, a March 25 maiden special weight at Gulfstream that has proved to be a key race, and came back to stylishly break his maiden for Todd Pletcher last time out. Bred to star on turf, the up-and-coming sophomore colt won’t be facing an imposing cast and could seize the early initiative from the rail post in a paceless field.

#10 Flying Bullet, #13 Marchant and #14 St. Louie will be used as “Bs.” And I will add #4 Powerful Instinct, #7 Richmond Street, #9 Sunset District and #11 War Bond to the mix as savers.

7th race: Most trainers would be tempted to jump straight to stakes competition for #8 Coal Front but Pletcher is more judicious, utilizing a 6 ½-furlong entry-level allowance for the extremely promising 3-year-old colt. A $575,000 2-year-old purchase, the son of Stay Thirsty recorded one of the more impressive wins of the recent Keeneland meet, registering a field-best 101 BRIS Speed Rating for a 6 ½-length debut romp, and Coal Front can make it two straight.

#5 Patternrecognition and #7 Blessed Halo are “Bs.” And I will spread on a ticket with #3 Bombs Away, #4 So Noted and #11 Divine Interventio.

8th race, Intercontinental (G3): Ten distaffers are set for the 7-furlong turf stakes and I’ll key upon a pair, #4 Fair Point and #9 Take These Chains. A Grade 3 winner in her 2016 finale, Fair Point will make her second start of the season for Shug McGaughey and is eligible to thrive in turf sprints at age 5. Take These Chains has opened her racing career with three straight convincing wins and the Irish-bred daughter of Fastnet Rock could be any kind for Chad Brown.

Will add #5 Mississippi Delta, #7 Conquest Babayaga and #8 Portmagee as savers.

9th race: A full field of state-breds will square off in the 6-furlong turf maiden special weight and #5 Uncle Chester appears to have turned things around after going off form over the winter, returning from a 4-month freshening with a head second. The Arch gelding has run his best races sprinting on turf. #8 Top Hat City exits a good showing on Laurel’s turf and appears more than capable in his first start for Gary Contessa.

#1 Speightful Kitten, #7 Summer Mischief and #11 Uncle Throne will be used as back-ups.

50-cent Pick 4 Tickets (races 6-9)

Using a $100 budget, here are the four tickets I will be playing:

Ticket 1: 1,4,7,9,10,11,13,14 with 5,7,8 with 4,9 with 5,8 ($48)

Ticket 2: 1 with 3,4,5,7,8,11 with 4,9 with 1,5,7,8,11 ($30)

Ticket 3: 10,13,14 with 8 with 3,5,8 with 5,8 ($9)

Ticket 4: 1 with 5,7,8 with 3,5,8 with 5,8 ($9)

Total: $96

Good luck!

TwinSpires has a 2017 Belmont Stakes contenders blog up. has a link to free Ultimate PPs and more news on each contender