One final weekend is all that remains of Belmont Park’s spring-summer meeting until the action shifts upstate to Saratoga Race Course.
The Saratoga Special’s John Shapazian is ready for Opening Day at Saratoga, saying this week that “it’s Christmas Eve and I'm 6 years old once again.” He isn’t finished with Belmont yet though and brings a 33.5 percent strike rate picking winners into Friday’s 10-race card.
Check out John’s picks below and remember, next week you can read his selections and others in The Saratoga Special. Speaking of special, note the first post Friday at 1:30 p.m.
PARTING SHOT disappointed at Monmouth, timid vote in a weak field. CAUSEWAY CUTIE gets off the rail, seems to run better with a wider post-position. DOUBLE MANE will be the early pace setter. 3-6-5
INTO SUMMER ships in from Churchill for Joe Sharp, picked up her game in last effort. BOULE has been working well after a two-month freshening, the Juddmonte filly goes out for Bill Mott with blinkers on. BOOM BOOM BOOM, by More Than Ready, has been working well for Jimmy Toner. 1-7-3
ANNIE ROCKS (MTO) is the horse to beat on the main oval, 3-for-3 in the off going. On Turf, GRAND JETE IS 2-for-2 since coming across the pond, can boss these with a clean trip. WELCOMING and DREAM PROSPECT must pick up their game to compete with the top choice. BAR OF GOLD tries the lawn, becomes a factor on dirt. 3-2-1-1A-4
LOVE THAT JAZZ drops in for a tag, will be part of the early pace, Charlie Baker gives Jose Ortiz a leg up. MANIPULATED was dull at odds on, maybe the one to beat. SALTINE WARRIOR could go well after a nine-month sabbatical. 8-5-1
RAGAZZA DI PAPA flashed some ability in her first race in over a year, Jose Ortiz rides for Jeremiah Englehart. SHRINK takes on younger rivals, adds Lasix. GRANDPA’S ARIANNA debuts for George Weaver. 1-10-9
If moved to the main track, CAUSE FOR SURPRISE (MTO) should go well for Gary Gullo. On turf, WHATSTOTALKABOUT looks for three straight victories for Jason Servis. D’ELOQUENT and EXCLUDED figure close in a well matched field. 6-10-9-7
In a battle of 2-year-old colts, HOWARD BEACH debuts for Rick Violette with Lasix. WICKED HUNTSMAN may go well for Mitch Friedman. THANK YOU SO MUCH is sent out by Steve Asmussen. 2-1-5
TAMIT comes off a six-month hiatus, faces a softer group today, afforded an edge. LIDO goes out for Kiaran McLaughlin, and PRICED TO HIGH for Wesley Ward would be no surprise. 8-2-1
TOMBELAINE is sent out by Chard Brown, disappointed in his last at odds on, one more chance. INSPECTOR LYNLEY and BLACKTYPE have been racing in graded stakes company, easier field today. 7-1-3
FROST DELAY may light up the tote board for a sharp outfit that often wins second time out. ZENNA will be on the engine. SONG FOR THE SOUL moves to the Wesley Ward barn, should go well. 10-4-1