Weekend Stakes Preview 6/4

American Pharoah looks to make history in the Belmont Stakes

American Pharoah will look to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 as he leads a cast of eight runners in the Grade 1 $1,500,000 Belmont Stakes. The 3/5 morning line favorite, American Pharoah will get the biggest test of his career at a mile and a half and facing some rested horses coming out of the Kentucky Derby. American Pharoah has won six straight and as with most Triple Crown hopefuls, freshness and ability to get the mile and a half will be the question marks. Frosted finished a flying fourth in the Kentucky Derby and that run will make him a logical play as he’s had some time to freshen up since that effort. He closed into that soft Derby pace and he should certainly be making some noise turning for home in the Belmont. Materiality was taken way back off the pace in the Derby which was surely not his preferred running style. Expect him to send and be on or near the lead in this spot with only eight horses in the race and American Pharoah the only other real speed type. The rest of the field will have to make up some serious lengths to challenge the top three, with Mubtaahij having possibly the most upside of any of the price horses. His Derby effort wasn’t much but that’s such a strange race and it was his first North American start.

The Belmont Day undercard is absolutely loaded with great horses and huge stakes events. The Grade 1 Manhattan is loaded with Grade 1 turf winners like Twilight Eclipse, Big Blue Kitten, Jack Milton and Finnegan’s Wake. Big Blue Kitten has the best local record with 3 wins from 5 starts while Finnegan’s Wake is 0 for 4 at Belmont. Long shot Legendary is 30/1 on the morning line in the Manhattan but 3 for 3 at Belmont. This is however a huge class test for him. The Grade 1 Met Mile came up salty as always with Private Zone drawn down on the rail and the horse to catch. He’s 2 for 2 at Belmont and both were Grade 1 wins. Bayern will try and bounce back after a very subpar effort to start his 2015 campaign at Churchill Downs. He freaked last year in the Woody Stephens, winning by almost eight lengths in his only try at Belmont. Tonalist is 4 for 4 at Belmont including winning the Belmont Stakes last year. He kicked off his four year old campaign with a big win at Belmont last month in the Westchester Stakes.

Ball Dancing is the 3/1 favorite in the Grade 1 Just a Game and last time out won the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland. She’ll be facing a tough cast including the winner of this race last year Coffee Clique who most recently finished second in the Grade 2 Distaff Turf Mile. Promise Me Silver will put her perfect record on the line in the Grade 1 Acorn, a $750,000 event. She’ll be facing Condo Commando who will look to get back on track after a tough 9th place finish in the Kentucky Oaks. Shook Up ran second in the Kentucky Oaks and shows up here with Robby Albarado on board.

The Brooklyn Invitational drew a field of twelve betting interests at a mile and a half including Effinex who comes into this race with two straight wins. Todd Pletcher sends out Coach Inge and Micromanage as an entry and they could offer some decent value with the 2 for 1 proposition. Untapable returns to New York for the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Stakes off a nice win in the Apple Blossom. At 2/5 she figures to be the lowest priced favorite of the day. The Grade 3 Jaipur Stakes drew 13 runners and appears to be a wide open event. The Grade 2 Woody Stephens drew six runners including undefeated Competitive Edge who is 4 for 4 so far. He’ll cut back to seven furlongs from a mile but he’s got good early speed and has buried his rivals in each start so far including last time out in the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile. Selections for the Belmont Stakes

  1. Frosted
  2. American Pharoah
  3. Materiality

Longshot: Mubtaahij Selections for the Manhattan Stakes

  1. Jack Milton
  2. Big Blue Kitten
  3. Hyper

Longshot: War Dancer Selections for the Met Mile

  1. Private Zone
  2. Tonalist
  3. Honor Code

Longshot: Bay of Plenty Selections for the Just a Game

  1. Coffee Clique
  2. Filimbi
  3. Ball Dancing

Longshot: Tepin Selections for the Acorn

  1. Promise Me Silver
  2. Shook UP
  3. Condo Commando

Longshot: Curalina Selections for the Brooklyn

  1. Sky Kingdom
  2. Neck N Neck
  3. Effinex

Longshot: Call Me George Selections for the Ogden Phipps

  1. Untapable
  2. Rosalind
  3. Princess Violet

Longshot: Wedding Toast Selections for the Jaipur

  1. Mosler
  2. Ageless
  3. Unbridled’s Note

Longshot: Channel Marker Selections for the Woody Stephens

  1. Competitive Edge
  2. Ready for Rye
  3. Two Weeks Off

Longshot: Classy Class

Big Friday Stakes at Belmont

Belmont Stakes weekend isn’t just about the big day Saturday, as Friday will feature some great stakes action as well. The $300,000 New York Stakes, the $250,000 Grade 2 True North and the $250,000 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational are the feature events on a fun card of racing that gets underway at 12:50pm EST on Friday. Dad’s Caps comes into the True North off a Grade 1 win in the Carter Handicap, a race he won with ease. He had been running second behind the talented Salutos Amigos before that and the win could give him more confidence. Eastwood could be an interesting price play in the True North as he’s 10/1 on the morning line and coming off two fantastic wins, both at the allowance/optional claiming level. He was actually fourth in this race last year in what was his only stakes start and he seems a better horse coming into this year’s event.

Stephanie’s Kitten leads what should be a very tough entry in the New York Stakes on the grass. She’s done great work at Belmont and kicked off her 2015 campaign with a big win in the Grade 3 Hillsborough at Tampa. She’s paired up with Kitten’s Queen who has won two straight and now moves to the Chad Brown barn, something that usually is always a good thing. Riposte won this race last year but hasn’t won since and will have to turn it around to beat the entry mates. But she’s 2 for 3 at Belmont so perhaps she’ll wake up a bit. The Belmont Gold Cup is a 2 mile turf event that drew a solid field of eleven runners. Unitarian figures to be the favorite and he’s 1 for 1 at the 2 mile distance. He likes to close from off the pace and it appears he can sustain that bid even at 16 furlongs. Dynamic Sky hasn’t tried two miles yet but he can be very tough on his best day. He was 4th in his lone Belmont start last time out but was very wide that day. The $150,000 Jersey Girl and the $250,000 Tremont Stakes complete what should be a great Friday of racing at Big Sandy. Selections for the True North

  1. Dads Caps
  2. Eastwood
  3. Rock Fall

Longshot: Stallwalkin Dude Selections for the New York Stakes

  1. Stephanie’s Kitten
  2. Eastern Belle
  3. Beauty Parlor

Longshot: White Rose Selections for the Belmont Gold Cup

  1. Manchurian High
  2. Unitarian
  3. Dynamic Sky

Longshot: Arctic North

Mint Julep Stakes tops Churchill Saturday

The $100,000 Mint Julep Stakes is a Grade 3 event and is the Churchill Downs feature on Saturday. A big field of twelve was drawn for the mile and one sixteenth turf event including I’m Already Sexy who was second in this race last year. She just missed by half a length last year and should appreciate a class drop after finishing 8th in the Distaff Turf Mile last time out. Strike Charmer has done some good work at Churchill Downs, winning 3 of 6 starts including the Cardinal Handicap last fall. She was sixth last time out in the Grade 2 Distaff Turf Mile against a crew much saltier than the one’s she’ll face in the Mint Julep. Kitty Wine hasn’t been in good form lately but she used to be a good on the lead type. A reversal in running style could make her a contender in here at a price as this field isn’t particularly loaded with speed. Selections for the Mint Julep Stakes

  1. Kitty Wine
  2. Strike Charmer
  3. I’m Already Sexy

Longshot: Maid on a Mission

Saturday Stakes Action at

Belmont Park

Race 1                  Easy Goer Stakes                      11:35pm EST

Race 3                  Woody Stephen Stakes             12:39pm EST

Race 4                  Jaipur Invitational                      1:15pm EST

Race 5                  Ogden Phipps Stakes                1:52pm EST

Race 6                  Brooklyn Invitational                  2:34pm EST

Race 7                  Acorn Stakes                                 3:15pm EST

Race 8                  Just a Game Stakes                    4:00pm EST

Race 9                  Met Mile                                      4:49pm EST

Race 10               Manhattan Stakes                     5:46pm EST

Race 11               Belmont Stakes                        6:50pm EST


Race 8                  Minnesota Distaff                      5:07pm EST

Race 9                  Brooks Fields Stakes                  5:36pm EST

Churchill Downs

Race 10                Mint Julep Stakes                     6:17pm EST


Race 7                  Lafayette Stakes                      9:22pm EST

Race 8                  Evangeline Mile                         9:49pm EST

Race 9                  Acadiana Stakes                       10:16pm EST

Gulfstream Park

Race 4                  Parrot Key Stakes                     2:15pm EST

Race 8                  Tiger Lilly Stakes                       4:55pm EST

Race 9                  Tangelo Stakes                        5:28pm EST

Hastings Park

Race 3                  Emerald Downs Handicap       5:54pm EST

Race 4                  River Rock Casino                      6:26pm EST

Monmouth Park

Race 11               Crank It Up Stakes                    5:39pm EST


Race 10              Jostle Stakes                                    4:58pm EST

Santa Anita

Race 4                  Crystal Water Stakes                 4:00pm EST


Race 8                  Steady Growth Stakes              4:59pm EST





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