Most of the major players in this race are coming out of the American Turf at Churchill Downs. Victor Camelot Kitten (#2) is the morning line favorite, and deservedly so. With the exception of a rare poor showing in the Breeders’ Cup, he’s yet to run a bad race. However, we cannot ignore the fact that he worked out an absolutely perfect trip to pull off the upset last time. He may sit a nice trip again today from this advantageous inside post, but we don’t want to take too short of a price on a horse that does not have that much margin for error.
We slightly prefer Dressed in Hermes (#6) out of the American Turf. He was forced to race wide every step of the way after hopping at the start. He had previously proven his quality by taking three stakes in California and finishing a strong fifth in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He’s likely to go off at an inflated price, but should not be ignored.
Our top selection in the Pennine Ridge is HIGHLAND SKY (#5).
However, that’s not because we think he’s going to offer inordinate value in the win pool. This horse is probably going to go off at closer to co-favorite with Camelot Kitten than at his 8/1 morning line. That said, we’re picking this horse because he has turned into a beast. Normal horses cannot overcome the trip that he worked out in the Woodhaven Stakes, in which Luis Saez was forced to start his move at the half-mile pole and go wide around the far turn, before still running down the leaders. This distance does not figure to pose an issue, and the move to a Belmont turf course that is more conducive to his running style should only work in his favor.
In larger trifecta plays, we could also use Hammers Vision (#1), who should play out as the controlling speed from the rail, Converge (#8), who did not produce his best effort in the American Turf, but had previously shown promise, and Toughest ‘Ombre (#9), a huge price that was wide for much of the way in the Woodhaven and may be on the improve.
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 2,6
5 with 2,6 with 1,2,6,8,9
5 with 1,8,9 with 2,6