Thursday Afternoon Spot Plays at Belmont Park

Profile Picture: Scott Shapiro

June 6th, 2018

Thursday afternoon starts the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival in Elmont, New York.

The New York Racing Association has a massive three days of thoroughbred racing in store headlined by attempt at history in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday.

With a plethora of opportunities to score out over the weekend let’s try to get things started on Thursday with a few bankroll building spot plays during the solid 9-race card.

Race 3

#3 Mybigitalianfriend is one of seven first-time starters entered in this six and a half furlong dash over the main track. The daughter of Union Rags is one of two trainees entered in this special weight event for fillies and mares three-years-old and upward and takes on a group of runners that race for barns that are generally patient with their trainees.

Mybigitalianfriend is a half-sister to 2011 Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes winner Currency Swap, who also won at Saratoga on debut, so winning early is in her blood. She has worked well along side stable mate #1 Kidoro, including a four furlong drill at Monmouth Park on May 15th in 48 flat, as well most recently a five furlong blow out in 1:01 flat on May 29th. She appears ready to roll on first asking.

Race 6

#3 Eyeinthesky took a ton of support at the windows in a strong maiden special weight event at Churchill Downs on May 25th and rewarded her backers with a good- looking debut victory for trainer Mark Casse. The daughter of Sky Mesa broke mid-pack, relaxed a few lengths off the early pace, made a big move on the turn and finished full of run to score as the 4-5-favorite.

The Florida-bred takes on winners for the first time on Thursday in the $150,000 Astoria Stakes run at five and a half panels. Look for jockey Florent Geroux to once again settle off the early pace and come with another big late run. If she can avoid regression off the relatively quick turn around time I expect her to get the best of this group of two-year-old fillies in the lane. 7-2 on the line is quite attractive.

Race 9

#10 Nantucket Red makes her second lifetime start for Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott. In her initial try this daughter of Get Stormy found a cozy spot along the inside under jockey Nik Juarez and appeared loaded throughout, but failed to find room along the inside costing her significant momentum. Juarez eventually found somewhere to go between rivals in the stretch, but at that point it was too late and she finished third beaten just two lengths.

Anytime a Mott runner shows talent on debut it is worth noting since he rarely has his trainees cranked on first asking. It is always tough to beat a pair of Chad Brown runners in a race like this, but I like the chances of this Diane Snowden homebred to move forward off that first start. Getting Jose Ortiz aboard this gal is a positive. At 8-1 I will gamble she can avoid serious ground loss from her outside draw and best this full field of special weight foes.

Let’s get the big week in New York started right!