Saturday stakes spot plays for Delaware and Belmont

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

July 3rd, 2020

The action at Belmont Park is rightly the focus for stakes lovers on Saturday, but Delaware Park's card also offers a trio of added-money events, including a pair of Grade 3s. Here are a few horses we'll be focusing on in some of the bigger events.

Delaware Park Race 6 -- Christiana Stakes -- 3:45 p.m. ET

Returning from a four-month absence is this 1 1/16-mile grass test for 3-year-old fillies is #9 CORRECTNESS (6-1), who outperformed expectations when beaten only three lengths and change in the Florida Oaks (G3) on Mar. 7. A 31-1 outsider that day when exiting a maiden win over the Tampa Bay Downs turf in mid-December, she raced within striking range before weakening in the stretch while facing fillies with stronger resumes.

A $1 million yearling purchase by Lael Stable, Correctness obviously carries high hopes for them and trainer Arnaud Delacour, whose aggressive spotting must be acknowledged. It wouldn't take much improvement for this filly to make her presence felt in this softer spot.

Delaware Park Race 8 -- Delaware Oaks (G3) -- 4:45 p.m. ET

In a race that appears to have a lot of speed on paper, one potential beneficiary is #8 QUEEN BRIDGET (8-1). Although somewhat inconsistent, particularly in her turf tries, her main track attempt two back at Oaklawn suggests she could be finding her best stride on the surface.

Queen Bridget could not have found a tougher race in which to compete on May than a 1 1/16-mile allowance in which she finished third, 6 3/4 lengths behind Gamine and Speech. Gamine, of course, went on to register an other-worldly victory in the Acorn (G1) last month, while Speech registered a second graded stakes-placing earlier in June when second in the Santa Anita Oaks (G1).

There are no fillies of that quality in the Delaware Oaks, and Queen Bridget can be in the mix late with some pace help from the betting favorites.

Belmont Park Race 11 -- Suburban Stakes (G2) -- 6:51 p.m. ET

Provided he doesn't get overbet with Irad Ortiz Jr. reclaiming the mount, #7 JUST WHISTLE (8-1) is a potential value play in this historic 1 1/4-mile event.

Third in the Peter Pan (G3) in just his fourth career start two years ago, Just Whistle subsequently struggled to validate himself as a graded stakes-quality horse. However, that might have changed recently after trainer Michael Matz fitted the 5-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile with blinkers.

His form in his last two, while wearing the hood, has improved noticeably,  beginning with a second-place run in the Hal's Hope (G3) behind a huge longshot and followed by a head victory last out in the Sunday Silence S. at Gulfstream after he was floated wide.

This will mark Just Whistle's first race at a mile and a quarter since last year's Pimlico Special (G3), in which he did well to finish within three lengths of the winner after being shuffled back at the start and racing well back in the pack against 12 rivals. Ortiz was up that day, too, and perhaps can get this grinding type to make a race of it late with a proper pace setting things up for him.