Belmont Highlight Horse for Saturday: Rain-soaked course makes Zhukova dangerous in Man o’ War

Belmont | Race 8 | Accelerated Post Time 4:38 p.m. (ET) | Go to the FREE TimeformUS PPs 

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There were a few key scratches in this Grade 1 Man o’ War, but the two runners likely to attract the most play remain in the race. Of the two favorites, I prefer Sadler’s Joy (#1), who has really come to hand this winter and does not appear to be fazed by moisture in the ground. He has a strong late kick that was on display last time in the Pan American as he rallied to victory in the final furlong.

Wake Forest (#3) appears likely to go off at a slightly shorter price than the aforementioned colt. He most recently won the Mac Diarmida in his first start of the season and now attempts to win this race for the second year in a row. However, he appears to be at his best over firm ground, and I’m not quite convinced that we’ll see a top effort over today’s yielding or soft going.

One more who should have no trouble with the conditions is my top pick, ZHUKOVA (#4).

While Dermot Weld has not had recent success with his North American starters, he has won multiple American Grade 1 events over the course of his training career, especially going back to the early part of the last decade. This filly loves cut in the ground and got her season off to a strong start at Cork last month. She put in some remarkable performances last season, earning Timeform figures of 132 and 128. If she brings that form here, the others are likely running for second.

THE PLAY

Win: 4

Exacta Key Box: 4 with 1,3

Trifecta: 4 with 1,3 with ALL

Trifecta: 4 with 2,8 with 1,3

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