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Friday's free horse racing picks come to us from Belmont Park's opening week as racing handicapper Andrew Champagne breaks down his late Pick Four.

Friday Free Horse Racing Picks: Late Pick Four at Belmont Park

It’s opening week at Belmont Park, and Friday’s late Pick Four is headlined by a pair of stakes races for turf sprinters. The sequence starts in the sixth of nine races on the program, and I’ll look to attack it with an $18 ticket. Here’s how I’ve put it together.

Race #6

We kick things off with a very tricky maiden race for 2-year-olds. Only two of the 10 runners in here have raced before, so some deep dives are required.

I’m using three of the nine betting interests, and my top Pick is #2, CAIRAMA. Despite a pretty modest pedigree, this son of Cairo Prince sold for $525,000 earlier this year and has several strong gate drills ahead of his debut. The rail draw is less than ideal, but he may be talented enough to overcome it.

#1 SWING DISTRICT/#1A SYSTEMIC CHANGE and #3 AFJAN are on my ticket as well. These three well-bred first-time starters go out for trainers Chad Brown and Todd Pletcher, and Afjan, in particular, has several flashy works going into his first-afternoon outing.

Race #7

 My single comes here, in the Allied Forces Stakes for 3-year-olds going six furlongs on the grass. Eight horses will go postward, and there’s one in here I really like.

#7 JAXON TRAVELER has never run a poor race. He’s won five of nine starts, has never finished out of the money and exits a strong effort in a stakes score at Pimlico. He’s only tried turf once, but he was third behind the freakishly-fast Golden Pal that day, and there are no such monsters in this field. I think he’s the classiest runner in the bunch and that he’ll be very tough to beat if he fires his usual shot.


The sister races of the Allied Forces is the Christiecat, and it features eight 3-year-old fillies (plus two main-track-only runners). I’m going three-deep in here, and I think this is a very competitive, wide-open race.

#9 HONEY PANTS is 2-for-2 over this course and returns to her home turf (pun absolutely intended) for this event. She was last seen running a competitive second in a stakes race at Woodbine, and that race didn’t really set up for her late kick. I think she’ll get more pace to chase here, and she’ll be the one they have to hold off late.

I’ll also use #5 CALDEE and #10 BYE BYE. The former cuts back to a sprint distance and won over this turf course back in May, while the latter came flying late to be beaten just a neck at this level last time out and took the Grade 3 Soaring Softly during the Belmont spring meet.


We finish with a tricky maiden claimer, and I’ll look to extract some value out of this sequence by going against the chalk. It’s not like #9 TELLAPERFECTTALE can’t win, but she wasn’t that much better than several of her rivals in that spot, and only one work since then hits me as a bit of a red flag. Given her likely price, I’ll try to beat her.

My top Pick is a hefty price. #5 MADAME ROSE is 0-for-16, which is a pretty big red flag, and her 20-1 odds reflect that. However, there isn’t a lot of early speed in this field, and she chased a solid pace against a better group last time out. In addition, she was second and third against two similar groups in the spring over this surface, and I think there’s a fair bit to like.

#2 BONANA FANNA FOE, #6 LITTLE MS SCARLET, and #8 KNOW IT ALL RED will also be on my ticket in the Friday finale. There isn’t a lot of form signed on, and I simply don’t think any runner in here should be a short price. If we can beat the chalk to finish things off, we should be in line for an excellent score.


R6: 1,2,3

R7: 7

R8: 5,9,10

R9: 2,5,6,8

Article Author

Horse Racing

Andrew Champagne is a horse racing handicapper with a specialism in juveniles. One thing is for certain, Champagne gets the party started.


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