Friday's Free Horse Racing Picks: Late Pick 5 Predictions From Belmont
Belmont Stakes Eve is upon us, and Friday’s card at Big Sandy is a very good one. We’ve got 11 races on tap, and the late Pick Four features a trio of stakes races. I’ll attack the sequence with a $30 ticket, and here’s how I’ll play it!
Right off the bat, I’m against a 9/5 morning line favorite. #6 CHUB WAGON is undefeated, but the Grade 3 Bed O’ Roses is a significant class test for her. For a race of this level, the field has come up awfully salty, and at her likely price, this is a chalk I can’t endorse.
#8 ESTILO TALENTOSO is my top pick, as she’s been running up against far better horses lately. She was second in the Grade 1 Madison and third in the Grade 1 Derby City Distaff, and the runner-up in the latter event has since come back to win. What I like most here is the outside draw, which is a luxury she’s never had. She’s found trouble while racing inside and between rivals, and this draw could mean a much-improved trip.
I’ll also use #5 VICTIM OF LOVE, the likely second choice. Belmont is her favorite track, and she went back-to-back in the Grade 3 Vagrancy last time out. She has tactical speed but doesn’t necessarily need the lead in order to run well, and that’s a very dangerous combination.
This is the Grade 2 New York for older turf distaffers, and this event hits me as the most wide-open betting race on the program. I’m going five-deep in this spot, and your guess is as good as mine with regard to which runner will go favored.
#12 ALWAYS SHOPPING is cross-entered in the Grade 1 Just A Game Saturday, but I hope she goes here. I think she wants this distance, as opposed to Saturday’s flat mile, and she’s found new life since being switched to the turf last fall. She might have moved a bit early in the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay last time out, and I think she’ll benefit from a jockey switch to Flavien Prat, who’s riding as well as anyone in the country at the moment. At her likely price, she’s a must-use.
#1 MAGIC ATTITUDE, #5 HARVEY’S LIL GOIL, #7 MEAN MARY, and #9 THUNDERING NIGHTS are on my ticket as well. Of those runners, Magic Attitude will probably be the biggest price. However, if another runner goes with Mean Mary early on (most likely #8 ANTOINETTE), it could set things up for her to come rolling late over her favorite turf course.
I can’t get cute in the third leg, the Grade 2 Belmont Gold Cup. Older horses will go two miles (yes, two miles) on the lawn, and I can’t get past the two likely favorites.
#8 BARON SAMEDI comes over from Europe, and it’s safe to say he hasn’t done much wrong lately. He comes in on a six-race win streak dating back to last August, and while he’s not running against Europe’s best horses, two of those wins came in graded races, and one of them came going 1 3/4 miles. John Velazquez sees fit to ride for Joseph O’Brien, and if he’s brought his form with him across the Atlantic, he’ll be tough.
Of the Americans, #2 TIDE OF THE SEA hits me as the biggest contender. His run in the Grade 2 Elkhorn was disappointing, but he had to go a bit quicker early on that day than he probably wanted, and that field was a pretty good one. I think he’s the main speed in this event, and that he’ll take them as far as he can. If he’s not challenged too stiffly, that could mean he leads the field from start to finish.
We’ll finish this off with a maiden race for 3-year-olds and up…sort of. The field has only drawn 3-year-olds, and that’s a big reason why, of the three horses I’ve used, #8 LANDBISCUIT is my top pick.
Landbiscuit ran well twice in Florida before being shipped to the Bill Mott barn, who ran him last month against older foes. He was a decent second that day despite a wide trip, and I think he’ll find this field a bit softer. Jose Lezcano is one of the top turf riders in New York, and further progression in his fourth career start would make this son of Orb a handful.
I’ll also use #4 SUMMER SILENCE and #10 GOLD BEAR. They ran 2-3 in a much longer race back on May 6th, and I think they’ll both be up close to a pretty slow early pace. If one of them lucks into a perfect trip, I think that one may be tough to run down late.
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