How to bet the River Memories Stakes at Belmont Park on July 11

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

July 9th, 2021

A field of eight fillies and mares, including one main-track only entrant, will contest Sunday’s $150,000 River Memories S. at Belmont Park. The 1 1/2-mile turf endeavor is headlined by a trio of runners who last contested the June 4 New York S. (G2) here during the Belmont Stakes Festival, and I believe that the race will go through those three.

My top pick is #5 Virginia Joy from the barn of Chad Brown. A Group 3 heroine in her native Germany, the Soldier Hollow four-year-old brought in excess of $1 million at the conclusion of her sophomore campaign, and she gave a nice impression of herself in her U.S. debut.

The bay filly drove home a fine winner in a solid allowance race at Belmont Park going 1 1/4 miles in April, and she ran fairly well most recently when fourth in the New York. The German-bred let me down a bit on that day when she looked like a winner around the backside, only to be a bit flat in the final furlong after receiving a ground-saving voyage, but she deserves another chance for sure.

It may have been the yielding ground, or possibly that she wants to run longer, but I am willing to give her a pass for that and come back with the lass in her third start of the campaign. Manny Franco will guide the Group-1 placed filly and have her in striking range every step of the way.

#6 Civil Union really came to hand last summer and will look to get back to her best following two unplaced efforts in 2021. Trained by Shug McGaughey, the War Front mare was triumphant in this race last season and is a three-time winner overall on the surface, led by a victory in the Flower Bowl S. (G1) in October. The bay was also beaten by just 1 3/4 lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), so the talent is obviously there. She will show marked improvement on Sunday.

I may have overestimated the ability of #2 Mutamakina off her 2020 efforts since she came to the U.S., but I am certain that she is better than her sixth-place result in the New York. Clement pupil had run well in her first two attempts at Belmont Park, and the five-year-old is another that I will tab for a vastly improved showing on Sunday. Joel Rosario picks up the mount.

River Memories Wagers

  • $20 win #5 Virginia Joy ($20)
  • $5 exacta key box 5 with 2,6 ($20)
  • $3 trifecta box 2,5,6 ($18)