Belmont Super Saturday – Stakes Analysis with suggested plays

BY JOSHUA PRAIN

 

Super Saturday at Belmont Park features an eleven-race card and four Graded Stake events, which will serve as a final prep for most before the year end Breeders’ Cup Championships. Diversify looks to join an elite list by becoming the 7th repeat winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup.  That feat was last accomplished by Tonalist in 2014 and 2015.  Mendelssohn finally put together a solid dirt performance last out in the Travers Stakes, but now he’ll have to prove he’s also capable versus older horses.  This year’s Dubai World Cup winner Thunder Snow also looks to prove he can compete over the dirt on this side of the pond.  We should see some big pools this weekend as many gamblers return from their post Saratoga vacations.  Let’s try to make some money!

Race 7 -Vosburgh Stakes (G1) Post Time – 4:09 PM
Purse $350,000. For Three-Year Olds and Upward. Six Furlongs.
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Sightforsoreeyes (KY) 5/G L D Cohen 124 A T Quartarolo 30/1
2 Maniacal (KY) 5/G L J R Velazquez 124 M J Maker 30/1
3 Forge (KY) 4/C L M Franco 124 D Magner 20/1
4 Mr. Crow (KY) 4/C L L Saez 124 B Colebrook 5/1
5 Silver Ride (KY) 6/G L J L Ortiz 124 B A Lynch 8/1
6 Imperial Hint (FL) 5/H L J Castellano 124 L Carvajal, Jr. 1/5
7 Still Krz (ON) 6/G L I Ortiz, Jr. 124 R Handal 15/1

 

I’d be shocked if #6 Imperial Hint got beat by this group.  He just towers over this field from a number’s standpoint.  He was fantastic winning the Grade 1 Vanderbilt last out at Saratoga and anything remotely close to that performance crushes the competition here.

I do want to take a shot with a bit of a price underneath here. #3 Forge makes his first start off the claim for trainer Dermot Magner.  Magner is still an unknown to many, but he worked for the likes of Todd Pletcher and Chad Brown before going out on his own.  He’s gotten off to a solid start with 2 wins and 4 seconds from just an 8 start sample.  This will be Magner’s first shot at a Graded Stake, so I expect all the nuts and bolts to be tightened.  The Irish born trainer also adds blinkers here, his first time doing that.  Manny Franco gets the leg up.

Interesting to see that Saez and Jose Ortiz flip flop mounts in here. I give the edge to Ortiz and #5 Silver Ride over #4 Mr. Crow and you pick up just a bit more value on your vertical plays.  Both horses exit the Tale of the Cat Stakes at Saratoga, with neither running very well in that contest.  I’d expect both to improve today off seven weeks rest.

Race 8 – Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes (G1) Post Time – 4:42 PM
Purse $500,000. For Three-Year Olds and Upward. One and One Half Miles (Turf).
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Robert Bruce (CHI) 4/C L I Ortiz, Jr. 126 C C Brown 2/1
2 Hi Happy (ARG) 6/H L L Saez 126 T A Pletcher 6/1
3 Sadler’s Joy (KY) 5/H L J Castellano 126 T Albertrani 5/1
4 Carrick (KY) 3/C L J R Velazquez 121 T Morley 8/1
5 Teodoro (IRE) 4/G L1 R L Moore 126 T Dascombe 15/1
6 Spring Quality (PA) 6/G L E S Prado 126 H G Motion 4/1
7 Highland Sky (KY) 5/G L M Franco 126 B Tagg 12/1
8 Channel Maker (ON) 4/G L J L Ortiz 126 W I Mott 9/2

 

Really hate to eat chalk but #1 Robert Bruce looks very good in this spot.  The Chilean bred, trained by Chad Brown exits an impressive win in the Grade 1 Arlington Million last out.  He won’t face any horses from that contest today, but he does meet 5 horses exiting the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga.  The difference is he will be stretching out while they will not.  I don’t see that being an issue for him and he does have a win in his only try at this distance.

#4 Carrick exits a win in the Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington. This son of Giant’s Causeway has been remarkable in his short career and two of his wins have come over the Belmont turf.  He faces older horses for the first time, but I think some of these may be trending the wrong way, while he remains on the up and up.  Johnny Velazquez stays aboard for Tom Morley.  I think a similar trip to his last makes him competitive.

#8 Channel Maker was unable to catch winner when finishing 2nd in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer last out.  The Bill Mott trainee has fired 3 consecutive triple digit Beyers.  If he can improve again he has a significant shot in here.  Jose Ortiz takes the mount.

Race 9 – Pilgrim Stakes (G3) Post Time – 5:16 PM
Purse $200,000. For Two-Year Olds. One and One Sixteenth Miles (Turf).
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Rhythm With Soul (NY) 2/C L L Saez 118 J C Kimmel 15/1
2 Forty Under (KY) 2/C L M Franco 118 J C Englehart 6/1
3 Dashing Dan (NY) 2/G L C Hill 118 M Dilger 15/1
4 Vineyard Sound (KY) 2/R L E S Prado 116 M Dilger 12/1
5 Opry (KY) 2/C L J Castellano 122 T A Pletcher 9/5
6 Ole Mole (KY) 2/C L D Cohen 118 G Preciado 30/1
7 Somelikeithotbrown (NY) 2/C L I Ortiz, Jr. 118 M J Maker 7/2
8 Social Paranoia (KY) 2/C L J R Velazquez 116 T A Pletcher 10/1
9 Spirit Animal (KY) 2/C L J L Ortiz 118 C C Brown 4/1
10 Pipes (NY) 2/C L J Lezcano 118 G C Contessa 20/1
Also Eligibles:
11 Casa Creed (KY) (MTO) 2/C L Rider TBA 118 W I Mott 3/1

After looking over the Grade 3 Pilgrim I don’t think this is a race you need to be very deep in. I will have 3 horses on my tickets and no more than that.  In the top slot I want to take a shot with the “other” Pletcher. Pletcher has the confidence in his maiden #8 Social Paranoia to take a shot here just like he did with the With Anticipation winner Opry at Saratoga.  The son of Street Boss did not engage early on in his last outing and when he finally did respond to the urging of Johnny Velazquez he finished with solid run.  Pletcher puts on the Blinkers today, a high percentage angle for him.  I think if this horse is anywhere near the pace he has a big shot to upset this field at 10/1!

I was a big fan of #5 Opry before he broke his maiden in the Grade 3 With Anticipation last out and he’s the horse to beat today.  I think this horse has the potential to be a very nice turf horse moving forward, but he has seemed to have adopted a late running style which could make him vulnerable.  He’ll be on my tickets and I expect to see him and Castellano rolling late.

I expect #9 Spirit Animal to improve in this spot for trainer Chad Brown.  The son of Lemon Drop Kid broke his maiden last out in Saratoga at this distance.  While I do expect him to improve, I’m not sure it’ll be enough to beat the Pletcher pair.  I’ll use defensively in Pick 4’s and underneath in my vertical plays.

Race 10 – Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) Post Time – 5:50PM
Purse $750,000. For Three-Year Olds and Upward. One and One Fourth Miles.
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Carlino (KY) 4/G L J Lezcano 126 M A Hennig 30/1
2 Gronkowski (KY) 3/C L J L Ortiz 122 C C Brown 4/1
3 Mendelssohn (KY) 3/C L R L Moore 122 A P O’Brien 7/2
4 Patch (KY) 4/C L L Saez 126 T A Pletcher 20/1
5 Uno Mas Modelo (KY) 5/G L J Castellano 126 A T Quartarolo 30/1
6 Diversify (NY) 5/G L I Ortiz, Jr. 126 R A Violette, Jr. 4/5
7 Discreet Lover (FL) 5/H L M Franco 126 U St. Lewis 15/1
8 Thunder Snow (IRE) 4/C L C Soumillon 126 S bin Suroor 6/1

 

While I will be taking some small shots against him in my horizontal plays, there’s not denying the fact #6 Diversify is the horse to beat and he’s my top pick in here.  I do not believe there is anyone in this field that can keep up with the 5-year old Richard Violette gelding and he likely wins this in front running fashion, like he has in most of his victories.  The son of Bellamy Road has 6 wins and 2 seconds from 8 starts over the Belmont dirt.

I’ve been against #3 Mendelssohn for pretty much all his 3-year old campaign, but he finally proved himself in the Grade 1 Travers last out.  Aidan O’Brien seems dead set on getting this horse to the Classic and clearly believes in his ability.  He faces a new test versus older horses but an improvement off his last makes him a competitive option here.

I think a bomb is destined to pick up the show spot in here and I’m going with fan favorite #4 Patch to do the honors.  The one-eyed son of Union Rags likes the Belmont surface and I like him to pick off some competitors late to round out the trifecta.

Suggested Plays

Race 7

$5 Exacta

6 w 3,5 = $10

$1 Superfecta’s

6 w 3 w 4,5 w ALL = $8

6 w 4,5 w 3 w ALL = $8

Race 8

$5 Exacta Key Box

1 w 4,8 = $20

Race 9

$2 Exacta Key Box

8 w 5,9 = $8

$.50 Superfecta’s

8 w 5,9 w 5,9 w ALL = $7

5 w 8,9 w 8,9 w ALL = $7

5,8 w 5,8 w ALL w 9 = $7

Race 10

$1 Trifecta’s

6 w 3,4 w ALL = $12

6 w ALL w 3,4 = $12

Bonus Play’s: Late Pick 4 (Races 8-11)

1 w 5,8,9 w 3,6 w ALL = $30

ALL w 5,8 w 6 w 2,3,4,5,6,7 = $48

Good luck!

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