Potential value plays at Belmont Park Friday

Profile Picture: James Scully

June 8th, 2018

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.

Race 2

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.

Race 4

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.

Race 9

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.

Good luck!