Belmont Park’s Late Pick 4 wager had an average pool size of $466,000 in June. The fireworks will start early this month for the 50-cent wager, with a difficult sequence covering races 6-9 on Friday, July 1. Here’s a closer look:
BEL 6th race (3:34 EST) -- There’s everything to like about HOODOOLAND, today’s solo play to start the Pick 4 sequence. She took serious money in her debut, but was ‘off a bit slow’ and finished a distant second to a 2-to-5 first-time starter. She finished ahead of World Traveler, who won a MSW sprint by 5-1/2 lengths next-out and ran a troubled third in allowance company. She did it on a day when all seven main-track winners at Belmont won in front-end fashion by a combined 41-1/2 lengths. For good measure, she posted a :47.2 bullet workout for a trainer who wins 19 percent of the time with second-time starters.
BEL 7th race (4:08 EST) -- CAPONE, $400,000 sales buy, disappointed as a debut favorite, but he returned with first-time Lasix, just missed in a key 7F race against recent allowance runner-up Baltasar, then broke his maiden with a strong stretch kick in the slop last out. RYAN’S CAT, part of an entry, hasn’t shown much recently, but he has some big races to run back to and he benefits from a projected lively pace against several rivals who have yet to show a passing gear. SAINT SELBY has a good first gear, dueled and drew clear to a 92 Beyer speed figure in a 6F allowance victory and is a head short of a perfect main-track record, albeit against New York breds. UNIKEE beat two next-out winners when he broke his maiden, then emerged from a 4-way scramble for the lead and led until the closing yards in a follow-up allowance at 7F.
BEL 8th race (4:40 EST) -- Going 4-deep in today’s featured race, with runners arriving from seven venues for this turf marathon. KINENOS is a must use after he made up 9 lengths in the final half mile in a tougher comeback allowance at 1-1/16 miles over the Belmont lawn. KURAMATA, unhurried for 3/4s of a mile after a bumpy start, closed with a flourish while 5-wide to finish third at Aqueduct. OFFLEE NAUGHTY won at 1-1/8 and 1-3/8 miles in California and is a viable longshot. TIBERIUS MERCURIUS in only 1-for-18 on grass, but he is running well since the barn switch and won twice at this distance on Turfway Park’s synthetic track before testing Grade II company.
BEL 9th race (5:12 EST) -- CHARGER tries sprinting on the turf for the first time off the re-claim by trainer Linda Rice. He runs well when fresh, faced five, next-out runners-up when he won out of a triple key race two starts back, then raced wide on a sloppy track against the likes of recent three-peat winner No Burn and Road to Success, who finished first or second in seven of his last 10 starts. FAST N FEARIOUS was roughed up at the start, recovered quickly to set a fast pace at 7F and gave way in deep stretch to three rivals who were 5-6-7 at the first call in the race. He can maximize his speed in this spot with a trouble-free break. OUR TROUBADOR won twice on the Belmont lawn during a $65,000 season at age 4, tailed off against tougher rivals this year, now starts as a first-time gelding. BOOM BOOM KABOOM tracked a 3-way duel in perfect position but lacked clear running room until deep stretch, finishing second under the same conditions. Now he draws outside in a field twice the size.
Suggested 50-cent Ticket
BEL 6th Race: 4
BEL 7th Race: 1, 2, 3, 5
BEL 8th Race: 2, 3, 4, 5
BEL 9th Race: 6, 8, 10, 12