Belmont Park: Stakes plays for May 1
A trio of graded stakes tilts will headline a fine 11-race card on the first Saturday of racing at the Belmont Park meeting. A pair of Grade 2 events on the green are joined by a Grade 3 contest over Big Sandy.
Fort Marcy S. (G2)
A nine-furlong test on the inner turf brought out a compact field of five, with three hailing from the barn of Chad Brown. His #2 Rockemperor has kept top company since arriving in the U.S. in 2019, and is more than due for his initial stateside victory. The five-year-old son of Holy Roman Emperor has placed in five graded tilts since importing here, with three of those coming at the Grade 1 level. The bay will be closing stoutly under Franco.
Sheepshead Bay S. (G2)
A fantastic field of six fillies and mares will go postward in the 1 3/8 miles inner turf affair. I think that #2 Mutamakina is poised for a big second half of 2021 for Christophe Clement and will give her top billing. A winner of the Long Island S. (G3) in her 2020 finale, the five-year-old daughter of Nathaniel had fine sophomore form overseas when finishing second in a pair of Group 2 tilts, including one to the brilliant 2020 Arc de Triomphe (G1) victor Sottsass. The bay has a touch of tactical speed and will always be in range with Lezcano in the stirrups.
Westchester S. (G3)
The one-mile test for the boys on the main surface attracted just six, but a pair of standouts headlines the cast. #6 Dr Post knocked heads with some fine opposition in 2020, and is working swiftly in preparation of his four-year-old debut.
Dark bay son of Quality Road, who placed in both the Belmont S. (G1) and Haskell S. (G1) last campaign, looks like a fine fit going one-turn off the break and received a fine post draw outside of the one to catch, as well. Manny Franco has the call.
It won’t be easy to upend millionaire and favorite #5 Mr. Buff, but I will side with the Pletcher pupil, nonetheless, who is ready to fire off the shelf.