Horses to play in June 4 carryovers at Belmont, Churchill Downs

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June 4th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson analyzes a pair of Saturday carryovers at Belmont Park and Churchill Downs.

Belmont Park, Race 5: $56,384 Pick 6 carryover (3:03 p.m. ET)

What better way to kick off the weekend at Belmont Park than by chasing a share of a $56,384 Pick 6 carryover?

The $1 non-jackpot wager gets underway in Race 5, a maiden special weight for New York-bred fillies and mares sprinting seven furlongs on turf. #5 Lisa’s Vision (2-1) is the morning line favorite for trainer Jorge Abreu, and it’s easy to understand why. The daughter of Laoban ran strongly in her debut sprinting six furlongs on grass at Aqueduct, finishing second by less than one length after leading in midstretch.

But Abreau wins at just a 10% rate with second-time starters, half of his 20% success rate with first-time starters. So if we want to keep the stats on our side, shouldn’t we side with Lisa’s Vision’s stablemate #6 Sarah’s Splendor (3-1), a debuting filly from Abreu’s barn?

Sarah’s Splendor is a daughter of Summer Front, who sires a respectable 10% winners from first-time starters. Sarah’s Splendor has put together a lengthy work tab in preparation for her debut and is picking up hot jockey Flavien Prat, a 26% winner at Belmont this spring. Using Lisa’s Vision and Sarah’s Splendor in equal strength seems like a solid way to start the Pick 6, though bold bettors might consider singling Sarah’s Splendor at a nice price.

Churchill Downs, Race 11: $2,357 Super High 5 carryover (5:58 p.m. ET)

The final race on Saturday at Churchill Downs features a $2,357 carryover in the $1 Super High 5. Usually the Super High 5 is offered on a low-level event, but on Saturday the Super High 5 is available to play in the $200,000 Audubon S., a 1 1/8-mile turf test for three-year-olds.

The consistent #2 Grand Sonata (7-2) looms as the morning line favorite for trainer Todd Pletcher. The son of Medaglia d’Oro has posted Brisnet Speed ratings in the 82-87 range in all six of his starts, including victories in the Dania Beach S. and Kitten’s Joy S. (G3) at Gulfstream Park. Grand Sonata also showed promise on the Kentucky circuit when finishing second in the Transylvania S. (G3) at Keeneland last time out, beaten less than one length.

But could #9 James Jones (9-2) have a chance to steal the show? Conditioned by renowned turf trainer Chad Brown, James Jones broke his maiden impressively over this course and distance last month, rallying strongly from midfield to win a maiden special weight by 2 1/4 lengths. James Jones unleashed a solid turn-of-foot down the homestretch to earn an 88 Brisnet Speed rating, higher than any figure posted by Grand Sonata.

James Jones still has upside for improvement, so if his 9-2 morning line odds hold up, James Jones is an appealing choice to key on top in the Super High 5.

Good luck!