Belmont Friday stakes picks

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The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival kicked off Thursday with a trio of stakes – congrats to the connections of Cambier Parc, Maryanorginger and Significant Form – and rolls on Friday with a five-pack to set the stage for Saturday’s main event.

Friday’s 11-race card starts at 12:50 p.m. EDT and the stakes start a little more than two hours later with the Grade 3 Bed o’ Roses Invitational fillies and mares. The day offers plenty more variety with sprints and routes, older horses and 2-year-olds. The co-featured Grade 2 New York and Grade 2 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational headline the day.

The handicappers from This Is Horse Racing are back for the final weekend of the 2019 Triple Crown season and serve up another portion of picks. If you’re scoring at home – and why wouldn’t you? – Ben Gowans and Tom Law are tied for the season with nine winners. John Shapazian and John Cox are tied for third with seven apiece with Sean Clancy (six) and Joe Clancy (five) rounding out the field.

Bed o’ Roses Invitational S. (G3). $250,000, 4-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, 7 furlongs. 2:58 p.m. EDT.

Field of seven to open the day’s stakes. Chalon looked good off the layoff winning 6-furlong stakes on Black-Eyed Susan Day undercard. She’s deserving favorite on the line but Pacific Gal, Dawn The Destroyer and Separationofpowers bid for the upset.

Joe: Chalon, Mybigitalianfriend, Pacific Gal.
Sean: Chalon, Saguaro Row, Separationofpowers.
Tom: Chalon, Separatonofpowers, Pacific Gal.
John S.: Chalon, Mybigitalianfriend, Separationofpowers.
Ben: Chalon, Pacific Gale, Separationofpowers.
John C.: Pacific Gale, Chalon, Separationofpowers.

Tremont. $150,000, 2-year-olds, 5 1/2 furlongs. 4:09 p.m.

Surprise, surprise. Wesley Ward sends out two impressive maiden winners in Maven and Dixie Mo, the latter a filly taking on the boys after winning going 5 furlongs at Indiana Grand. Maven, a son of American Pharoah, scored at 2-5 at Aqueduct and figures to be favored. Don’t count out Rookie Salsa, who ran record to 2-for-2 with victory in Kentucky Juvenile for Jerry O’Dwyer.

Joe: Maven, Rookie Salsa, Fore Left.
Sean: Rookie Salsa, Maven, Fore Left.
Tom: Maven, Rookie Salsa, Fore Left.
John S.: Maven, Now Is, Dixie Mo.
Ben: Fore Left, Memorable, Rookie Salsa.
John C.: Rookie Salsa, Memorable, Fore Left.

True North S. (G2). $250,000, 4-year-olds and up, 6 1/2 furlongs. 4:42 p.m.

Traditional Belmont Friday fixture marks the return of Catalina Cruiser, who saw unbeaten record come to end in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs. John Sadler ships son of Union Rags in from California to meet nine opponents led by Whitmore, Recruiting Ready, Strike Power and Stan The Man.

Joe: Catalina Cruiser, Recruiting Ready, Whitmore.
Sean: Catalina Cruiser, Mr. Dougie Fresh, Whitmore.
Tom: Whitmore, Catalina, Cruiser, Recruiting Ready.
John S.: Catalina Cruiser, Mr. Dougie Fresh, Nicodemus.
Ben: Gold For The King, Whitmore, Do Share.
John C.: Nicodemus, Whitmore, Catalina Cruiser.

New York S. (G2). $600,000, 4-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, 1 1/4 miles, turf. 5:15 p.m.

Seven line up to take on Homerique, who won Grade 3 Beaugay over the course in her U.S. debut for trainer Chad Brown and owner Peter Brant. Group 1 placed in France at 10 furlongs last season, daughter of Exchange Rate figures to be heaviest favorite in the day’s stakes.

Joe: Holy Helena, Homerique, Competitionofideas.
Sean: Homerique, Holy Helena, Competitionofideas.
Tom: Homerique, Competitionofideas, Holy Helena
John S.: Homerique, Competitionofideas, Holy Helena.
Ben: Homerique, Competitionofideas, Holy Helena.
John C.: Semper Sententiae, Homerique, Holy Helena.

Belmont Gold Cup Invitational S. (G2). $400,000, 4-year-olds and up, 2 miles, turf. 5:48 p.m.

Always one of our favorite races, grass marathon caps the day with a field of nine that includes three Europeans. They’ve been successful in this race and Raa Atoll might be the one to beat from that group off a victory going the same distance May 12 in Germany. How about the home team? Red Knight won going 2 miles two starts back and Arklow rebounded from losing his rider two starts back with runner-up in Grade 1 Man o’ War.

Joe: Canessar, Mootasadir, Amade.
Sean: Mootasadir, Amade, Red Knight. 
Tom: Red Knight, Amade, Arklow.
John S.: Amade, Red Knight, Arklow.
Ben: Raa Atoll, Arklow, Red Knight.
John C.: Arklow, Red Knight, Canessar.