What to watch for wagering on Belmont Stakes Eve
Conditions of the main track change day to day or even race to race, and this especially seems to be the case during big race weeks, so we offer notes on Thursday’s main track racing know that things are likely to change before Saturday’s Belmont Stakes day card, but the way the track played Thursday can’t go undocumented.
In the first three dirt races of the day, the horse last down the backstretch won each race. In the fourth dirt race, the winner came from ninth, and the horse who was last of 13 closed to finish fifth.
The difference maker came in the shortest and most prestigious of the dirt races when Bode’s Dream went gate to wire to win the Astoria Stakes. Her accomplishment on the front end was not lost on her connections.
“We were a little bit concerned being on the lead since speed is not holding,” jockey John Velazquez said.
“I was kind of concerned how the track was playing,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “It didn’t seem like speed was holding up very well. There was a very strong headwind down the backside.”
That wind is not expected over the next two days, so that could be one of several variables that change, but certainly after four deep closers winning from five races on Thursday it is something to watch on Friday.
Speaking of Friday, it’s an 11-race card with six stakes, including a trio that caps the Pick 5 and early Pick 4 (races 3-5), and the other three as races 8-10 to kick off the late Pick 4 and conclude the Grand Slam.
My grid for the day is below.