The Belmont Park spring-summer meeting rolls toward its second weekend Friday and The Saratoga Special’s John Shapazian is ready to tackle the task.
Like much of the eastern part of the country there’s plenty of rain in the forecast, which figures to do some damage to the grass races scheduled on the card.
Shapazian, The Saratoga Special’s leading handicapper several years running who tabbed an area-based 130 winners in 2016 at Saratoga, will provide race-by-race selections for the weekend cards at Belmont. Here are his picks for Friday, May 5.
Should Friday’s opener be moved to the main track DESIROUS is the one to beat, drops in for a tag. On grass, JEANNE’S SPEIGHT moves to the Chris Englehart barn. EPIC LADY and FORRES LILY have had several chances to beak their maiden. 1-3-5-6
ANALYZE YOUR LUCK is another Repole/Pletcher first-timer that always seems to win. CREA’S BKLYN LAW, by Sky Mesa, debuts for Michael Dilger. OLDFASHIONED CLUB ships up from Delaware Park. 6-2-3
FISCAL DISCIPLINE switches to the main track, adds blinkers, shortens up, the one to catch. PUT ON A SHOW drops seven pounds, will also be part of the early pace. MUGU, a Bellamy Road first-timer, may appreciate any moisture in the going. 8-7-3
On the main track, TICKLED PINK has a couple of good works for Graham Motion. On the turf, SCHEME had a troubled trip in her last. JOUST is second off a layoff, looks dangerous. INITIATE broke her maiden convincingly a Tampa Bay Downs; may better this rating. 6-3-8-4
In another turf event with rain in the forecast, TRANSACTION TAX, main track only, has several sharp drills. RUBILINDA, by Frankel, goes for Chad Brown. VIGOR has decent efforts on dirt and grass. PASSING MOMENTS flashed some ability at Gulfstream. 6-2-4-3
BUSTIN IT is off the Jason Servis claim, can boss these. SARATOGA HEATER and PEGASUS RED have both run well on wet surfaces. 1-6-3
KATHRYN THE WISE is an undefeated daughter of Uncle Mo. PRETTY N COOL ships in for Bob Baffert. BAR OF GOLD is 5-for-5 in the slop. 6-9-11
SHE’S SO FINE is the one to beat on the main track. Otherwise, OFF LIMITS comes off the bench after eight months, has worked well in Florida. POP BY adds Lasix for U.S. debut. GIOIA STELLA would be no surprise. 2-6-1-3
If rains move the Friday finale off the turf, NOBLE AND TURE rates a narrow margin. On the grass, SNOWFLY will appreciate any pace meltdown. SON OF OAHU and MASCARELLO also figure close. 1-10-7-6