Horses of interest: Belmont Stakes Day edition
As usual, we’re casting about for some well-priced contenders who may be worth including in your Belmont Day wagering strategy.
Race 3, the Brooklyn (G2): #1 Governor Malibu (8-1) has to step it up against the likes of Tu Brutus and Send It In, but the Christophe Clement trainee may have more up his sleeve in this third start off the layoff. A creditable fourth in last year’s Belmont S. (G1) over this 1 1/2-mile trip, he now wheels back off a hampered third in the Commentator’s one-turn mile on Memorial Day. The Malibu Moon colt gets a rider switch to Jose Ortiz, who’s connecting at a 24% clip with Clement for the past 60 days according to Brisnet.
Race 4, the Acorn (G1): #1 Union Strike (8-1) was unlucky not to win the Eight Belles (G2) after a tough trip. As a one-turn specialist, the Union Rags filly might meet Abel Tasman in a race that plays more to her strengths than to those of the Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner. Salty is another obvious threat but cutting back from a couple of routes.
Race 6, the Jaipur (G3): #6 Undrafted (12-1) may not be quite what he once was, and the seven-year-old was outworked by Royal Ascot-bound filly Con Te Partiro at Keeneland on Monday. Still, that’s a tempting price on a horse of his back class, the 2015 Diamond Jubilee (G1) winner, who was until recently pointing for the Wokingham at Royal Ascot himself. Successful in his only prior Belmont venture in the 2014 Jaipur, the Wesley Ward veteran opened this campaign with a Keeneland allowance score. Undrafted at least should get another strong pace in this contentious affair.
Race 7, the Woody Stephens (G2): #4 Gold for the King (15-1) faces his first class check outside of New York-bred company, and I don’t know how he’ll deal with Recruiting Ready et al. But he’s a close second to Recruiting Ready on BRIS Prime Power rankings, the only entrant with two triple-digit BRIS Speed figures to his credit, and has the highest career Speed rating (104) of the bunch. Never off the board in seven starts, the Posse gelding is perfect on fast tracks, and trainer Charlton Baker has a 25% strike rate in graded stakes. At even half his morning line, he could be a solid value play.
Race 9, the Metropolitan H. (G1): #7 Economic Model (15-1) was best of the rest behind champion Drefong in last summer’s King’s Bishop (G1), sports a 4-2-1-1 local mark, and trainer Chad Brown wins 24% when taking blinkers off. If he’s not good enough to upset, he might at least be good enough to spice up the exotics.
Race 10, the Manhattan H. (G1): #4 Time Test (5-1) probably won’t stay this price, but I’ve got to discuss him here. I’ve been smitten by him since he burst onto the scene for trainer Roger Charlton in the summer of 2015, when he shaped as a potentially serious operator in Royal Ascot’s Tercentenary (G3). Charlton had rhapsodized about how well Time Test worked with stable star Al Kazeem. While he hasn’t quite lived up to his hype, the Juddmonte homebred is entitled to thrive with maturity, as the progeny of Dubawi tend to do. Toss his upset loss in the Fort Marcy (G3), considering the unsuitably yielding ground and lack of pace. The Manhattan conditions should be ideal for him – 1 1/4 miles on quick ground – and he picks up Javier Castellano. If Time Test is as good as I hope he is, he wins this for Brown.
Race 11, the Belmont (G1): With the foot issue bedeviling Epicharis, my one long-held thought about this race has been virtually dashed already. I’m warming to the idea of Irish War Cry, but for the purposes of this column, I agree with my colleague Vance Hanson that #4 J Boys Echo (15-1) is an upset candidate at an enticing price.
Time Test photo by Frank Sorge/Horsephotos.com