How to Bet the Man o’ War Stakes

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

May 11th, 2018

A total of five stakes, four of which are graded, will highlight a fine Saturday card at Belmont Park. The finale is the $700,000 Man o’ War Stakes (G1) at 1 3/8 miles on the lawn and a strong field of 10 will test the grassy marathon.

#1 POSTULATION – Eddie Graham trainee draws the coveted inner post slot and could be dangerous making a second run of 2018. Son of Harlan’s Holiday had a fine summer and thrives at distances at least this long. He’s hooking a tough field but the bay rates an exotics contender.

#2 SADLER’S JOY – Chestnut was third over yielding ground in this contest last campaign and could shine this time around making his third off the layoff. Tom Albertrani charge has a sharp turn of foot, which the five-year-old displayed recording multiple graded wins over the last 12 months last summer and a fast-closing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) last fall. Grade-1 hero is a must use under Julien Leparoux. 

#3 SCHOLAR ATHLETE – Graham Motion trainee has won three-of-four but steps up in class and will need a lifetime-best to top this cast. Son of Einstein defeated a few of these at nine panels last time. Improvement makes the gelding perhaps a superfecta contender.

#4 CATCHO EN DIE – Group-1 victor was claimed for $40,000 last time and I will have to watch one before getting in his corner.

#5 WAKE FOREST – Bay won this race in 2016 and is more than capable on his best day. Chad Brown pupil was not sharp on this lawn last season but has the back class to run with any horse in the field. Javier Castellano will be in the stirrups.

#6 CALL PROVISION – Gelded son of Lemon Drop Kid is one of three for Brown in the field and was a troubled fourth in the Elkhorn (G2) in his 2018 debut. Chestnut has never defeated a field of this nature but dons a fine 5-3-2-0 mark at 1 3/8 miles. He looms large beneath top gun Jose Ortiz.

#7 HI HAPPY – Todd Pletcher pupil comes off a daylight score in the Pan American (G2), a second straight big showing since joining this barn. Multiple Group-1 star fits well here and comes in with a bullet half-mile move.

#8 BIGGER PICTURE – United Nations (G1) winner lacks consistency but has class and also loves Belmont (7-4-2-0 mark). Kentucky-bred is much better than his seventh-place showing in the Pan American and could be the value of the field.

#9 ONE GO ALL GO – Elkhorn (G2) victor has now been close in five consecutive graded races on the green, the last trio coming at distances similar to that of today. Six-year-old brings speed and form to the table but draws a tough post.  

#10 MONEY MULTIPLIER – Son of Lookin At Lucky was third in a Group 1 tilt in Qatar most recently. Brown trainee was given an impossible post here, widest of all on the inner turf, and Grade 2 winner will need a lifetime best over a turf course where he is 0-for-4.


This is one tough handicapping assignment with a well-matched field of strong grass performers. One Go All Go, Hi Happy, Scholar Athlete and Postulation have all shown an affinity for racing up close early on and I expect the quartet to produce an honest and contested tempo. I think the closing types will have an edge today.

The Elkhorn drew a very good field and Call Provision ran big despite being in traffic in a seasonal debut. Chestnut has room for improvement and the price should be honest.

Sadler’s Joy is the most consistent and potentially the most talented horse in the field. He has faced the best in the division for a few seasons and always fires late.


$10 Win-Place-Show #6 Call Provision = $30

$10 Exacta Box 2-6 = $20

$1 Superfecta 2,6 with 2,6 with 7,8,9 with all = $42

Good luck playing the Man o’War!