Shapiro’s Belmont Stakes Day Late Pick 4
by Scott Shapiro
Starting in the 8th race with the Just a Game and ending with the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes, the $1.5 million guaranteed four-race slate has an opportunity to return a strong payout with competitive fields and the chance for double-digit winners throughout.
My slogan for the day is “In Brown We Trust.” Here are my thoughts:
Race 8, Just a Game
The one-mile event for fillies and mares over the over the Widener Turf Course goes through 9-5 morning line favorite #2 Roca Rojo. The Irish-bred exits a win off the bench over the good going in the Distaff Turf Mile (G2) on Kentucky Derby Day. She should get an honest pace to run into over a course in which she is a perfect 3-for-3. She will be the single on the first of my two tickets.
If Roca Rojo regresses off the effort at Churchill Downs this race is relatively wide-open. #1 Dickinson and #5 Celestine are the next most likely winners, but their morning line prices reflect that. I will spread deep on the second of my two tickets and also include likely pacesetter #6 Sassy Little Lila and the “other” Chad Brown runner #7 Antonoe.
Race 9, Metropolitan Handicap
The Met Mile is about as wide-open as it gets this year and is a race where I will take a stand against 5-2 morning line favorite #9 Mor Spirit. This Bob Baffert runner has rebounded off of a disappointing three-year-old campaign with two wins and a runner-up effort against stakes company in 2017. However, he strikes me as more of a two-turn horse instead of one who will thrive at the one-turn mile configuration offered at Belmont Park. He can win, but at a short price I think Mor Spirit is worth taking a stand against.
I will spread deep in the $1.2 million event with my top 3 horses being runners that have had success over this oval.
#2 Rally Cry is my favorite of the lower priced options. He put forth a career best effort against allowance company last time out and may be peaking at just the right time for trainer Todd Pletcher. Stablemate #11 Tommy Macho had traffic trouble in the Carter H. (G1) but was likely best. He should sit a great trip from his outside post. #7 Economic Model likely used his last as a prep and has done his best running in Elmont, New York. Brown takes the blinkers off and Economic Model should be rolling late at a big price.
Race 10, Woodford Reserve Manhattan
In the third leg of the all stakes Pick 4, I really like the chances of #4 Time Test. The British-bred son of Dubawi made his first start off the layoff on yielding ground in the Fort Marcy (G3) at Belmont. He disappointed his backers losing by a nose at odds of 2-5, but that does not bother me much. I think Time Test was clearly pointing for this spot and will be fully cranked by Brown on Saturday. He is the single on the second of my two tickets.
If Time Test fails, this race could go several directions. I do not trust #3 World Approval over this course and at this distance, but there is no denying he is in great form. I will include him as well as #2 Wake Forest, #5 Ascend, #6 Potemkin and #7 Divisdero on my ticket where I singled Roca Rojo.
Race 11, The Belmont Stakes
I will use four runners equally in the featured final leg of the Triple Crown. For my thoughts on the 1 ½-mile event over the main track, check out my analysis of the big race at the link below:
Good luck on one of the best days of racing this country has to offer!
Here are my two tickets for the Pick 4 commencing in Race 8. Both are for the minimum 50-cent denomination.
2 with 1,2,5,7,8,10,11,12 with 2,3,4,5,6,7 with 2,7,10,12 ($96)
1,2,5,6,7 with 1,2,5,7,8,10,11,12 with 4 with 2,7,10,12 ($80)
Total Budget $176
Handicapper Scott Shapiro’s Spotlight Selections for the 2017 Belmont Stakes Day program are available at Brisnet.com