The report cards are out, seeing who will make the grade in the Belmont Late Pick 4 Friday, a lineup that features the Grade I New York Stakes, Grade II Belmont Gold Cup and True North and the Grade III Intercontinental on the turf, respectively. If you hit the 50-cent wager, a big payout could await. Here’s a look at the action:
BEL 8th race (4:42 EST) -- ABAAN is the most proven graded-stakes performer, one of two entrants to win at today’s 2-mile distance and the controlling speed. But the $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup invitational attracted proven turf marathoners who were based in five countries in 2021, including Germany invader LOFT, who has a 9/2-3-2 record in stakes company this year, all at 1-1/2 miles or longer. More than half the entrants will test the Belmont lawn for the first time, so hit the ‘ALL’ button to start the sequence.
BEL 9th race (5:17 EST) -- JACKIE’S WARRIOR (8-10, $1.7 million) picked up where he left off as 2021 champion sprinter with a pair of wire-to-wire graded stakes wins under minimal urging. He got away easy in the G-I Churchill Downs at 7F, but he carries 124-pound high weight in the $300,000 True North and his speed figures to be tested by the razor-sharp MR. PHIL, who draws the rail off three consecutive, front-end allowance victories for his new connections. BABY YODA, who posted last year’s second-best Beyer speed figure (114) at Saratoga the only time he ran 6-1/2F, appears rounding to a big effort off a pair of comeback starter allowance victories that produced a total of four next-out winners. He’s worth using on the ticket if the front-end battle ensues.
BEL 10th race (5:50 EST) -- Trainer Chad Brown has four of the seven fillies and mares entered in the G-1, $750,000 New York Stakes at 1-1/4 miles on the turf – and three are coming off graded victories. ROUGIR, a Group 1 winner in France, ranged up 4-wide and kicked into gear in the final sixteenth to win the G-3 Beaugay going away. VIRGINIA JOY controlled the pace on a yielding Belmont lawn to win by 14-1/4 lengths in the G-II Sheepshead Bay. BLEECKER STREET made a last-to-first move into a slow pace in the G-III Modesty at Churchill Downs. Brown’s 27-percent ‘repeat’ win rate could take a slight hit, even if he wins. But his entrants are uncoupled in the wagering, so use the ‘ALL’ button once again.
BEL 11th race (6:22 EST) -- The 13 entrants in the $200,000 Intercontinental Stakes are a combined 38-106 on the turf with $223,000 in average earnings. TOBYS HEART, a $647k earner, rallied to win all three of her 5-1/2F turf stakes races -- the latest against multiple G-III winner Change of Control (8-25, $700k on turf) – and now gets an extra half-furlong to cover. CARAVEL is a Grade III winner and 8-for-10 when taking on fillies and mares. ROBIN SPARKLES and FLOWER POINT are a combined 11-27 with three grass stakes wins between them. JOUSTER is 3-8 and the only G-II winner in the field. All that being said, MISS J McKAY gets the call as today’s Pick 4 solo despite drawing outside. She defeated more of an allowance-caliber field in the License Fee Stakes last out, but she did it stylishly, tracking the leader while in-hand until she exploded clear in mid-stretch.
Suggested 50-cent Ticket
BEL 8th Race: ALL
BEL 9th Race: 3, 4
BEL 10th Race: ALL
BEL 11th Race: 13