Shapazian’s Belmont picks – June 23

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The first full weekend of summer is here and Belmont Park rolls out a nine-race twilight card for Friday afternoon.

The Saratoga Special’s John Shapazian continues to churn out winners, five more last weekend, and is hitting at a 36 percent clip for the weekend cards at the meeting. His record stands at 84-for-232.

“Hopefully next weekend the track will be fast and firm or at least have a weatherman give us a correct forecast,” Shapazian said. “I was lucky on Sunday going 3-for-8 because I handicap for fast and firm and got who knows what.”

Here are John’s picks for Friday, June 23. And remember, special post time of 3:05 p.m. EDT. Good luck.

Race 1
SPRING FOLLY makes her second career start for Michael Dickenson after incurring traffic in her debut.  FANCY GEM should improve after a stumble in her first start, Javier Castellano gets the assignment.  DYNAMICGIANTGIRL fired a bullet on June 16, goes out for underrated connections.  2-1-5

Race 2
PLANET TRAILBLAZER will be closing, needs some swift fractions from his rivals, as does NOBLE AND TRUE, going out for David Jacobson.  VILMA draws an advantageous outside post, will be an early pace factor.  1-2-7

Race 3
In a competitive event, LUNA DE LOCO is afforded an edge coming in from Churchill for Brad Cox.  DROVER CRAZY disappointed in his last, switches to the Rudy Rodriguez barn.  BOLITA BOYZ makes his first start at “Big Sandy,” should go well for Robertino Diodoro.  3-5-1A

Race 4
NOW IN A DRIVE ran well from an outside post in last, should graduate today for Brian Lynch.  SENTRY figures close, maybe the horse to beat.  LUCULLAN makes his first attempt on turf, will try an take them gate to wire.  2-9-1

Race 5
SINGAPORE TRADER shows a series of steady drill, Todd Pletcher gives Johnny V. a leg up.  FIVE STAR BUNT, son of Posse, worked well at Saratoga.  COLLECTIVE EFFORT has been sharp in the morning for Ray Handal.  5-3-4

Race 6
PALLADIAN BRIDGE must bring her “A” game, as she faces younger rivals.  MIZZEN MAX has not been seen since January, has lots of upside potential.  ZEALOUS SCHOLAR cuts back, the one to catch.  4-1-2

Race 7
AT GUARD takes off the blinkers, looks well spotted for Tony Dutrow.  SWIFT ONE goes turf to dirt, drops to a more realistic level.  HARD HITTER may be around for a minor award.  6-8-2

Race 8
SEIZE comes off a seven-month hiatus, will be tough to beat if ready.  GREY FOX disappointed on the Preakness undercard.  BIBBO may take a step forward after his last.  11-1-7

Race 9
REEL CREEL cuts back to 6 furlongs, drops, has little to beat.  STROMIN MACLEAN, newly gelded, should improve.  BELLOWS tries the lawn for Graham Motion.  12-9-8