Potential value plays at Belmont Park Friday
A strong 11-race card, including five stakes, will be offered the day before the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes and I’ll recommend a few horses today at a decent price on the morning line.
Inside posts have fared well in turf sprints this meet according to track bias stats in the Ultimate Past Performances and La Sardane (who was bet down from 20-1 on the morning line) captured Thursday’s Intercontinental (G3) from post 2.
#2 Unparalleled (8-1) showed high speed from a trio of starts last year including a sharp effort over Belmont’s turf last out in which she just missed to a next-out allowance scorer. The Bruce Brown-trained filly shows a nice slate of works since late April and Dylan Davis is a good speed rider. Unparalleled has broken well in all three starts and I will give the front-runner the edge off the layoff.
Eight of the nine contestants have posted wire-to-wire wins and this 6-furlong turf sprint came up loaded with early speed.
#9 Expected Ruler (10-1) wound up on the front end in a pair of paceless routes at Tampa earlier this year but the 5-year-old gelding is more effective utilizing stalking tactics at shorter distances, recording a fine effort in his lone appearance on Belmont’s turf last fall when posting a close fourth at this distance and level. Irad Ortiz picks up the mount and Expected Ruler can receive a favorable trip behind the speed. He could be finishing fastest of all in the stretch.
Sistercharlie may prove impossible to beat off an outstanding win in the Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland and I think she’ll be odds-on for Chad Brown. She does bring a late-running style to the 1 ¼-mile test and there is only one confirmed front-runner in the nine-horse field.
#1 Fahan Mura (12-1) ships east in razor-sharp form and trainer Vladimir Cerin could have opted for Thursday’s 7-furlong Intercontinental for the miler. But that race drew plenty of speed and the 4-year-old filly appears capable of dictating terms on a clear lead in the New York (G2). Fahan Mura will be making her first stakes attempt and faces a towering class check at this level. But she’s bred for longer distances (by English Channel and out of a Holy Bull mare), drew favorably on the rail and has the best chance for the upset in my estimation. Fahan Mura will be trying to emulate Intercontinental, a 15-1 miler who stole the 1 ¼-mile Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Belmont as lone speed.