Friday Racing Picks: Belmont Preview
Dancing Vega will take the first feature as Belmont opens its fall meet Friday
After one of the most successful meets ever at Saratoga Race Course, the New York racing scene shifts down state to beautiful Belmont Park in Elmont for the start of its 37-day fall meet on Friday, highlighted by the six-furlong $100,000 Christiecat Stakes on the inner turf for three-year-old fillies.
The fifth running of the nine-horse Christiecat is slated as the 7th race on the eight-race card with post time set for 6:12 p.m. ET.
#5, Dancing Vega, 5-1, John Velazquez
Coming off his third trainer’s crown at Saratoga with 41 wins, including four G1 stakes wins, Chad Brown sends out two - Dancing Vega and Turf War - each of which are making their stakes debuts here in the states.
However, we will focus on Dancing Vega, who won her first race at Doncaster in England in 2018. She had an off-the-board effort as the favorite in the G3 Fred Darling at Newbury, and after that, was transferred to Brown. She made her North American debut at Saratoga on August 9, where she placed an uninspiring ninth in a one-mile optional claimer.
Obviously, this was an introductory race for Dancing Vega on one of Brown’s home turfs and I think Brown will get much more out of Dancing Vega in the first feature of the meet and with Velazquez on board, who better to guide and steer the ship. The pick.
#4, Saint Moon, 7-2, Luis Saez
Just a mere two starts back, the Jorge Navarro-trained Saint Moon finished second in the Blue Sparkler at Monmouth Park in New Jersey and followed up with an 82 career-best Beyer by the grey daughter of The Factor when she led gate-to-wire in a 5 ½-furlong turf sprint at Saratoga.
Luis Saez retains the mount off the last and will have a nice starting spot from post 4. I like the fact Saez stays on board, but the question is can she do even better than the last trip or will she bounce from that performance? I think she bounces just a little bit to come up short. Runner-up.
#3, Brooke Marie, 3-1, Junior Alvarado
One of two horses, including Rose Flower, to be trained by Christophe Clement in here.
The 3-1 morning line favorite, who leaves from post three with Junior Alvarado aboard, has the best Beyer in the field of nine sporting back-to-back 84s for Clement in taking a Monmouth Park allowance race back on July 19 and a closing fourth-place finish in the Galway, her last time out, on August 11 at Saratoga.
Brooke Marie broke her maiden back in October 2018 in an off-the-turf sprint and has stayed consistent with good starts in her career, posting a 2-2-1 record in eight starts thus far. Clement has liked her training for this race, came out perfect in her last start and likes this track. What’s not too like? Just leaning another way.
#9 Rose Flower (GER), 6-1, Manuel Franco
The other Clement trainee, Rose Flower, will make her North American debut leaving from the outside from post 9 with Manuel Franco aboard.
Rose Flower won two of four starts for Giuseppe Botti in France, highlighted by a 1 1/4-length victory in the seven-furlong Prix Amandine on July 5 at Maisons-Lafitte. Since arriving to the states, she has posted two works at Belmont’s dirt training track, including a 49.96 four-furlong go back on August 26.
Clement is taking a shot here, despite the short distance, but she has trained well and has made the transition to the states in good standing. Prefer others.
Other runners include: 1, Peaceful, 6-1, Javier Castellano; 2, Jennemily, 20-1, Rajiv Maragh; 6, Comedy (IRE), 8-1, Jose Lezcano; 7, Turf War, Joel Rosario, 10-1; 8, Queen of Bermuda (IRE), Joe Bravo.
The choices: 5-4-3-9
By Lou Monaco
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