The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival kicked into gear Thursday and rolls on Friday with a five-pack of stakes to whet your appetite for Saturday’s main event.
The day features the usual mixed bag with fillies and mares sprinting and on the grass, older horses going long on the turf and champion sprinter Jackie’s Warrior looking to add another victory to his glistening resume. Everything starts at 12:50 p.m. ET with the first stakes, the Grade 2 Bed o’ Roses for older fillies going 7 furlongs, at 1:58.
Our team of handicappers are back for some more swings – five Friday and nine Saturday. They’ve produced some good results thus far in the Triple Crown season, which for us includes the Friday-Saturday cards on the big weekends.
Charles Bedard leads the way with 14 winners over the four cards, including a half dozen on Preakness Day. He and Paul Halloran were also the only handicappers to come up with Early Voting in the Preakness.
Saratoga kingpin John Shapazian sits alone in second with 11 winners, two more than Joe Clancy and Tom Law. Jessica Paquette, on her way to Sam Houston Race Park this weekend to call some Quarter Horse racing (go Jessica!), comes into the weekend sixth with eight winners. Sean Clancy, Rob Whitlock and Paul are tied for seventh – that’s last in this race – with seven.
Here are the handicapper’s picks for Friday, June 10. Be safe out there and good luck.
Bed o’ Roses (G2). $300,000, fillies and mares, 4 and up, 7 furlongs. Post time 1:58 p.m. ET.
The smallest of all the stakes fields this weekend with just four but quite a group with Grade 1 winners Bella Sofia and Obligatory casting a long shadow. The former returned for her 4-year-old season with a victory in the Grade 3 Vagrancy while the latter makes her third start off the layoff seeking three straight wins. Glass Ceiling is no slouch either. She comes in riding four-race win streak and gets four pounds from the top two.
Jessica: Obligatory, Bella Sofia, Glass Ceiling.
John: Bella Sofia, Easy To Bless, Glass Ceiling.
Charles: Glass Ceiling, Bella Sofia, Easy To Bless.
Paul: Bella Sofia, Glass Ceiling, Obligatory.
Rob: Glass Ceiling, Bella Sofia, Obligatory.
Joe: Glass Ceiling, Obligatory, Bella Sofia.
Tom: Bella Sofia, Obligatory, Glass Ceiling.
Sean: Obligatory, Bella Sofia, Glass Ceiling.
Belmont Gold Cup (G2). $400,000, 4-year-olds and up, 2 miles, turf. Post time 4:42 p.m.
Time to stretch things out with the Belmont Friday tradition. Not as many Europeans as usual, just two in Loft and Outbox. Abaan will try to go all the way on the lead, like he did in the 2-mile H. Allen Jerkens on Christmas Eve at Gulfstream.
Jessica: British Royalty, Outbox, Abaan.
John: Outbox, Loft, Abaan.
Charles: Cibolian, Loft, Abaan.
Paul: Outbox, Strong Tide, Loft.
Rob: Loft, Abaan, Outbox.
Joe: Loft, Outbox, Abaan.
Tom: British Royalty, Cibolian, Loft.
Sean: Loft, Outbox, British Royalty.
True North (G2). $300,000, 4-year-olds and up, 6 1/2 furlongs. Post time 5:17 p.m.
Jackie’s Warrior returns to the Big Apple for the third time. He won the Grade 1 Champagne at 2 and finished a close second in the Grade 1 Woody Stephen’s on Belmont Day at 3. Ten-time winner stands way out in this group but Mr Phil, Sound Money and Baby Yoda wouldn’t be a total shock.
Jessica: Jackie’s Warrior, Sound Money, Night Time.
John: Jackie’s Warrior, Mr Phil, Sound Money.
Charles: Mr Phil, Jackie’s Warrior, Sound Money.
Paul: Baby Yoda, Jackie’s Warrior, Sound Money.
Rob: Jackie’s Warrior, Sound Money, Mr Phil.
Joe: Jackie’s Warrior, Baby Yoda, Sound Money.
Tom: Jackie’s Warrior, Mr Phil, Baby Yoda.
Sean: Jackie’s Warrrior, Baby Yoda, Mr Phil.
New York (G1). $750,000, fillies and mares, 4 and up, 1 1/2 miles, turf. Post time 5:50 p.m.
Chad Brown sends out four of the seven here, including 6-5 favorite Rougir and undefeated 5-2 second choice Bleecker Street. He runs three more in the Just A Game on Belmont Day, too. We’ll get to that later.
Jessica: Family Way, Bleecker Street, Rougir.
John: Virginia Joy, Rougir, Bleecker Street.
Charles: Rougir, Bleecker Street, Core Values.
Paul: Rougir, Virginia Joy, Family Way.
Rob: Virginia Joy, Family Way, Rougir.
Joe: Rougir, Bleecker Street, Virginia Joy.
Tom: Rougir, Bleecker Street, Virginia Joy.
Sean: Rougir, Bleecker Street, Virginia Joy.
Intercontinental (G3). $200,000, fillies & mares, 4 & up, 6 furlongs, turf. Post time 6:22 p.m.
Load up and get out on this one. Field of 13 older females for turf sprint, including graded stakes winners Caravel and Jouster and top threats Tobys Heart, Mrs J McKay, Star Devine, Illegal Smile, Flower Point and Nevisian Sunrise.
Jessica: Star Devine, Nevisian Sunrise, Illegal Smile.
John: Miss J McKay, Tobys Heart, Caravel
Charles: Miss J McKay, Illegal Smile, Caravel.
Paul: Miss J McKay, Star Devine, Flower Point.
Rob: Miss J McKay, Illegal Smile, Flower Point.
Joe: Illegal Smile, Miss J McKay, Star Devine.
Tom: Robin Sparkles, Miss J McKay, Tobys Heart.
Sean: Tobys Heart, Illegal Smile, Miss J McKay.