Scully: Handicapping the all-stakes Pick 5 on Belmont Stakes day
The 153rd running of the $1.5 million Belmont S. (G1) anchors an all-stakes Pick 5 (Races 7-11) Saturday at Belmont Park. All five races are Grade 1 events, and I will lean on a couple singles in the sequence.
Here is how I will attack the all-stakes Pick 5.
Race 7: Ogden Phipps S. (G1, 3:18 p.m. ET)
Swiss Skydiver and Valiance are out because of fevers, which leaves a field of five, and #5 Shedaresthedevil (5-2) is the one to beat.
Last year’s Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner has improved at age four for trainer Brad Cox. She opened the season with sharp scores in the Azeri S. (G2) and La Troienne S. (G1), and she was flattered when the runner-up in each race came back to win graded stakes next time out.
#3 Letruska (9-5) may have trouble replicating her fine victory in the Apple Blossom H. (G1), but I won’t leave the classy mare out of the equation.
If Shedaresthedevil and Letruska hook up early, #7 Bonny South (10-1) might be the beneficiary. She opened the year with a confidence-building win in the Doubledogdare S. (G3) last time out.
Race 8: Just a Game S. (G1, 3:58 p.m. ET)
A competitive field is set for this one-mile turf affair, and I will spread eight deep. #1 Zofelle (8-1), #6 Pocket Square (5-1), and #8 Althiqa (8-1) all merit serious respect for top honors, and #2 Sweet Bye and Bye (12-1), #4 Regal Glory (8-1), #9 Summer Romance (6-1), and #11 Blowout (4-1) also will be included.
#3 Daddy Is a Legend (30-1) is intriguing at long odds. Beaten 2 1/4 lengths when third in the 2019 Just a Game, the daughter of Scat Daddy concluded that season with a close second to Got Stormy in the Matriarch S. (G1). Something was amiss last year — Daddy Is a Legend didn’t make it back to the races until August — and connections wrapped up on her after only two starts.
The six-year-old mare returned to form in her 2021 debut, a salty Keeneland allowance. She rallied from just off the pace to win by about a length, and she was flattered when third-place finisher Temple City Terror came back to win a stakes next time out.
Daddy Is a Legend appears to be training forwardly under the care of trainer George Weaver, and she is a candidate to move forward in her second start after a lengthy layoff.
Race 9: Metropolitan H. (G1, 4:42 p.m. ET)
Against five rivals with little early speed, #6 Knicks Go (6-5) should have things his own way.
The five-year-old will relish the cutback in trip, and his last three U.S. starts are easily good enough to win today.
Race 10: Manhattan S. (G1, 5:38 p.m. ET)
In his first appearance since November, #4 Domestic Spending (3-1) remarkably dead-heated for the win in the May 1 Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs. Look for a better trip Saturday, and Domestic Spending is my best bet of the day.
After he raced at the back of the Turf Classic field, the four-year-old rallied into a pocket in upper stretch. He bullied his way through rivals but was still blocked in deep stretch, which forced jockey Flavien Prat to take a right turn at a key stage. Domestic Spending had another gear in reserve and flew home to catch perfect-trip Colonel Liam on the wire.
The Chad Brown-trained gelding now has five wins from six starts, registered his fifth consecutive triple-digit Brisnet Late Pace rating, and will have more to offer in the Manhattan.
Race 11, Belmont S. (G1, 6:49 p.m. ET)
#7 Rock Your World (9-2) has a tactical advantage over his seven rivals. And despite a romp in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), the John Sadler-trained colt has something to prove after he flopped in the Kentucky Derby (G1).
Speed is a weapon only if horses use it, and Joel Rosario can’t afford to play it coy, after he lost his iron out of the Kentucky Derby starting gate. Based upon Brisnet E1 and E2 Pace ratings, Rock Your World is easily the quickest in the Belmont field.
The Candy Ride colt has a pedigree built for longer distances. His dam, a daughter of Belmont winner Empire Maker, is a half-sister to a Grade 2 winner at 1 1/4 miles. Rock Your World netted a 102 Brisnet Speed rating when he scored by 4 1/4 lengths in the Santa Anita Derby, and I will tab him to go gate to wire in the final race of the Triple Crown.
#3 Rombauer (3-1) will be used on all multi-race tickets, following his 3 1/2-length victory in the Preakness S. (G1). I’ll also add longshot #8 Overtook (20-1), who will be running late in his second start off the layoff for three-time Belmont winner Todd Pletcher.