Handicapping Thursday's stakes action at Belmont
The three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival kicks off with a dynamite nine-race card Thursday including a trio of stakes for females (races 6-8).
Here are my thoughts on the sequence:
Race 6, Astoria
None of the eight juvenile fillies have competed in New York and I’ll focus on a pair for multi-race wagers.
Eyeinthesky (#3) overcame a dreadful start with a powerful turn of foot, sweeping past rivals to win her May 25 debut at Churchill Downs convincingly, and may continue to show more with a clean beginning.
Tijori (#7) established herself as an exciting prospect when blistering rivals at Santa Anita on May 11, scoring by open lengths for Simon Callaghan, and Flavien Prat retains the mount on the filly from the first crop of Will Take Charge. Tijori is a threat to overpower foes on the front end.
Race 7, Intercontinental (G3)
Delectation (#7) rates top billing. Wesley Ward used May 4 Turf Sprint (G3) for fitness and 4-year-old filly closed fast against males. Will appreciate stretching back out to 7-furlongs today and expecting another powerful finish.
La Sardane (#2) experienced a troubled U.S. debut and French Group 2 winner returns to stakes competition after recording a sharp allowance score for Neil Drysdale. Receives favorable inside draw and eligible to make her presence felt in the lane with Prat.
Malibu Stacy (#1) looms as an interesting longshot after a good effort over the course and distance. Well drawn on rail with Irad Ortiz Jr., 5-year-old mare should be setting the pace and I give her a chance to steal it with further improvement.
Race 8, Wonder Again (G3)
Race appears to go through Significant Form (#5), who is versatile enough to win on the lead or from off the pace. Fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) two back, Chad Brown pupil came back this year with a convincing 6 ¼-length tally in April 22 Memories of Silver and there’s no telling how good she can be.
Daddy Is a Legend (#8) is the main rival. Grade 3-winning filly didn’t have the cleanest trip in the Edgewood (G3) last time but ran well to miss by less than a length in third. George Weaver removes blinkers and the Scat Daddy filly makes her third start off the layoff.
La Signare (#9) experienced early trouble when steadied in her U.S. debut at Keeneland but it was easy to appreciate the closing kick as she came up a half-length short in second versus Toinette, who came back to win the Edgewood. La Signare has room for improvement off that effort and rates a look as an intriguing longshot.
Pick 3 Strategy
I will try to build the bankroll with a couple of Pick 3 part-wheels (races 6-8):
$5 Pick 3: 3,7 with 7 with 5,8,9 ($30)
$5 Pick 3: 3,7 with 1,2,7 with 5 ($30)