Belmont Highlight Horse for Thursday: Dirt-to-turf move can work for California Swing

Belmont | Race 9 | Post Time 5:45 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 

There are many ways to go in this finale, including quite a few runners dropping out of maiden special weight company for the first time. However, I’m not sure how much of a drop it really is since this race drew such a deep and competitive field. There’s no clear favorite, but runners like Chad Brown’s Altruism, Somesville (#6), and Polar City (#8) are all likely to take money. However, the horse who I think represents the best wagering opportunity is CALIFORNIA  SWING (#1).

While all of California Swing’s recent starts have come on dirt, he is really more of a turf horse and is now getting back to his preferred surface. He’s bred to handle longer distances, and his lone turf-route attempt from last fall is not a true representation of his ability given his trip that day. He was stymied in traffic for much of the stretch run, losing all chance. He would have finished much closer had his rider been able to maneuver him into the clear. Now he’s dropping in for a tag, and Christophe Clement has unbelievable numbers with maiden claimers in this situation. Over the past five years, Clement is 8 for 12 (67 percent) with a $6.40 ROI with horses going from dirt to turf in maiden-claiming company.

THE PLAY

Win/Place: 1

Exacta Key Box: 1 with 2,4,6,8,11

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