The highlight of the weekend is Belmont’s Stars and Stripes card, and it’s full of wagering opportunities.
The stakes action begins in Race 6, The Dwyer, where Mendelssohn is the expected favorite in the one-turn mile event for 3-year-olds. He’s clearly the most likely winner, but don’t dismiss Firenze Fire for the red hot Jason Servis. I never felt like Firenze Fire was a serious Kentucky Derby threat, and going a mile is his best game for sure. At expected odds of between 5-1 and 7-1, he’s the play.
The Belmont Sprint will pit Limousine Liberal against Whitmore. I’d lean towards Limousine Liberal in here given that Whitmore has so far proven more effective at six furlongs. Favorable Outcome is also worth a look.
The Belmont Oaks Invitational marks the North American debut for Athena from the Coolmore folks. I don’t think her supporters will be lucky enough to get 9-2, but if you think she’s the most likely winner, which I do, then even 7-2 could be good value. I also like Mighty Scarlett for Chad Brown. She had to work hard to close into slow fractions in the Wonder Again, and was gaining on the top two finishers, both of whom show up here at much lower odds. Mighty Scarlett is the play for me here. Maybe box her in the exacta with Athena, and use both in your multis.
Dr. Dorr is a standout in the Suburban for me. I don’t like Tapwrit, War Story, or Hoppertunity in this spot. And Dr. Dorr has the look of an up-and-comer who the Handicap Division will have to deal with all summer long. It took him a while to figure out how to be a racehorse, but Baffert has him going in the right direction now.
In the day’s feature, the Belmont Derby, I suspect Analyze It and Catholic Boy will garner the bulk of the wagering attention. I don’t plan to play either of them. It’s Hunting Horn for me, from the people who will bring us Mendelssohn and Athena earlier on the card. It could be a heck of a day for the Coolmore people. I think Hunting Horn wins this and reminds the crowd that they do things differently on the grass over in Europe.