Stakes Preview: In the Belmont Turf Sprint, two longshots that could lead to a powerful payoff

DontLetTheGamePassYouByfortfus

>>Go to the PPs for The Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational | Post Time 3:38 EDT Saturday

This race is all about trips. There is very little separating these elite turf sprinters, which is why we sometimes can see some wacky results and huge payouts in races at this level. For instance, just check out the Jaipur run here in the spring, when 18/1 Pure Sensation and 16/1 Disco Partner hit the line together. Both of them are back in the field today.

I won’t bore you by extolling the virtues of the short prices in this race—runners like Disco Partner (#2), Long On Value (#3), Pure Sensation (#5), and Green Mask (#10). All have won or placed in races at this level in recent starts and their merits are fairly obvious. Even Ready for Rye (#9) has a right to be competitive here considering that he’s never run a bad race on turf.

Instead, I’ll use this space to highlight two horses that should go off at decent prices and might be able to spice up exactas and trifectas:

It’s worth watching POWER ALERT’s (#6) last race.

screen-shot-2016-10-07-at-12-46-56-pm

He didn’t just break a step slowly—he stumbled badly after the start and lost a good five lengths on the rest of the field. He actually put in quite an effort to close as well as he did, so I can’t hold it against him that he flattened out in the final furlong. All in all, he’s been in decent form this summer even though his failure to win since March may indicate otherwise. There isn’t that much speed in this race—especially for a turf sprint stakes—and this horse is fast enough to sit just off the two likely leaders, Pure Sensation and Pool Winner. I know the six furlongs is a stretch for him, but I like the rider switch to Mike Smith and would not be surprised to see this horse outrun his odds.

The other runner that intrigues me is SALLAL (#7).

screen-shot-2016-10-07-at-12-46-28-pm

It’s too early to tell exactly how good he is, but this might be the right time to take a shot with him. After all, he was visually impressive when he won his U.S. debut two back, gliding to a two-length win after being confidently handled throughout most of the race. Last time, he was bet down to favoritism in the Laurel Dash, and never was given any chance to run. When the gates opened, nothing went right. He broke slowly, and got trapped behind a wall of horses as the leaders set glacial fractions for the distance. You can basically throw the race out. Graham Motion’s runners have been performing exceptionally well at this meet, and it’s a good sign that he’s taking a shot here. At anything close to his morning line price, I’m on board.

THE PLAY

Win/Place: 6,7

Exacta Key Box: 6,7 with 2,3,5,6,7,9,10

Trifecta: 2,3,5,9,10 with 2,3,5,9,10 with 6,7

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