The horses we're most interested in on the Belmont undercard

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TwinSpires Staff

June 5th, 2015

The team has a healthy divergence of opinion on some of the other Grade 1 races on Belmont Day.

James Scully: Looking forward to some wagering opportunities in the Grade 1 turf races, I'll be taking a stand against the top betting choices in the Manhattan and Just a Game, and the Met Mile (G1) figures to be a terrific race -- I like Honor Code's chances but concede it's a very competitive race with a handful of serious win contenders. I'll spotlight Condo Commando as the horse I'm looking forward to playing on the Belmont Stakes undercard. The Grade 1 winner has the class and speed to bury her Acorn (G1) foes on the front end and I would love to get a price in the vicinity of her 4-1 morning-line odds. Condo Commando will be singled as well in Pick 3s, hoping to catch a longshot in one of the competitive supporting features that surrounds the Acorn.

Jennifer Caldwell: The Belmont S. (G1) is the obvious top event on Saturday, but the stakes-laden program at Belmont Park is full of top-notch competitors. For me, I’m most excited to watch Promise Me Silver in the Acorn S. (G1) on the undercard. The unbeaten lass is seeking her ninth straight victory for trainer Bret Calhoun, who has managed the gray filly’s campaign perfectly. Promise Me Silver is facing her toughest field to date, but has met all challenges thus far and I’m rooting for her to overcome this one as well. Already a graded winner thanks to the Eight Belles S. (G3) last out on the Kentucky Oaks (G1) undercard, she’ll be trying for Grade 1 status against proven Grade 1 winners Condo Commando and By the Moon. Promise Me Silver will also take on a talented newcomer in Curalina, who romped by 8 1/4 lengths on the same Oaks program against allowance/optional claiming winners. Honorable mention goes to Wicked Strong a couple races later in the Metropolitan H. (G1). That star-packed contest boasts last year’s Belmont S. (G1) winner Tonalist and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) victor Bayern, but Wicked Strong is a viable candidate to upset the apple cart. The bay colt captured the Wood Memorial S. (G1) last season and filled the fourth spot in both the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Belmont Stakes. He’s raced twice this season, just missing when fourth again in the Gulfstream Park H. (G2) in his March 7 seasonal bow and then coming in third in the April 25 Excelsior S. (G3).

Kellie Reilly: Tonalist in the Met Mile (G1). That's not to minimize the task he faces against such plausible rebound candidates as Honor Code and Bayern, or the gritty Private Zone, but Tonalist is a machine at Belmont Park. The blueblood son of Tapit is not only beaten on this oval, but all four local starts have come in graded company, from a flat mile up to 1 1/2 miles in last year's Belmont S. (G1). His brilliant last-to-first rally in the Westchester (G3) in his reappearance, followed by his three-furlong blowout in :34 3/5 Thursday, suggests he's going to deliver. Elsewhere on the card, there are two horses I'm hoping to see step up off recent losses. Filimbi (Flute's daughter) is back at arguably her best distance in the Just a Game (G1), and Biz the Nurse has upset potential at 15-1 in the Manhattan (G1).

Vance Hanson: The most intriguing betting race on the undercard for me is the Just a Game (G1), where you can make a case for just about everybody. Ball Dancing looks awfully strong, but the value may lie with Lady Lara, a course-and-distance winner who didn't get a proper pace setup last time in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2), and J Wonder, a multiple Group 3 winner who was a rough-trip fourth behind a glacial pace in the Beaugay (G3) last time. I'm also interested to see how much improvement Hyper shows in the Manhattan (G1) in his second start back from an 18-month layoff. A course-and-distance winner in the 2013 Bowling Green (G2) and second in the Canadian International (Can-G1) prior to being sidelined, he was a sneaky-good third in the 11-furlong Man o' War (G1) in his comeback May 9, and might be the better for it as he drops back in distance.