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Sweet Lou Monaco analyzes Thursday's racing at Belmont Park

Day two of Belmont’s racing week features a field of seven in a $100,000 allowance optional claiming race for 3-year-olds and up over 1 1/16 miles.

Race 7 of the eight-race card has an approximate post time of 4:40 p.m. ET.

#6, Realm, Junior Alvarado, 2-1

Relief comes at last for morning-line favorite Realm, who ends a streak of seven straight stakes starts, including four graded (1-0-3-1). In his last start, he finished third as the second choice in the $300,000 Grand Prix American Jockey Club Invitational here on Sept. 7. Realm started this string of stakes starts with a neck win as the last choice ($27.20) in the $100,000 Alydar Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 5 where he upended Kurilov, Patch, favorite Timeline and Outplay. Regular rider Junior Alvarado is back aboard and with trainer Barclay Tagg will get his first win, two days shy of two months since his last. The pick.

#1, American Tatoo (ARG), Jose Ortiz, 6-1

After a 1 1/4-length victory in an $85,000 allowance optional claiming race at Belmont on June 19, American Tatoo ran a disappointing seventh to my pick Realm in the Alydar on Aug. 5, his last start. He will be making his seventh career start (3-1-0) and his fourth this year with just that one win. I think Ortiz and trainer Todd Pletcher bounce back big today on the rail to get in the realm of possibility to win this, but he comes up short. Runner-up.

#3, High North, Joel Rosario, 3-1

Looking for his first win in four starts this year, High North has plenty of back experiences, having raced in six graded stakes races, including a third-place finish in the $300,000 Grade 3 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 2, 2018. Since then, he has run fifth, fifth and in his last, a fourth-place finish in the $200,000 Presque Isle Mile Stakes in Erie, Pa. on Sept. 9. A good sign is that Joel Rosario is back on board for his second straight start and he should improve from his last showing. In the mix.

#2, Backsideofthemoon, Manuel Franco, 4-1

Backsideofthemoon will be making an impressive 37th career start (4-7-6) and the sixth this year (0-1-1). After a fourth-place finish in a $95,000 allowance optional claimer at Saratoga in his last start Aug. 9, trainer Rudy Rodriguez, along with owner Michael Imperio, claimed the 7-year-old and gelded him, of which today he will be making his first start since. His last win, a nose win over Doyouknowsomething in the $100,000 Jazil Stakes at Aqueduct on Jan. 20, 2018. However, at Belmont, Backsideofthemoon is 0-for-12 lifetime, with his last five starts finishing 5-2-5-6-3. Sticks around.

PICKS: 6-1-3-2

By Lou Monaco


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