Fittingly, this Belmont Derby is the most interesting race on the card. I’m completely against morning-line favorite Oscar Performance, who absolutely walked on the lead in the Pennine Ridge and faces a different situation here. Out of that race, I prefer Good Samaritan and Ticonderoga, who had different kinds of trouble. Good Samaritan (#1) never had any cover in that race and traveled 58 more feet than the winner, according to Trakus. Ticonderoga saved a bit more ground racing between horses, but he had to wait for room at the top of the stretch and ran the fastest final quarter. I like Ticonderoga (#2) stretching out to 10 furlongs, so he’s the one I prefer of the pair.
Arklow (#6) is another runner that I want to use. He’s undefeated on turf after defeating Good Samaritan in the American Turf at Churchill Downs back in May. He clearly relished the going that day and did well to battle back for the win after making an early move to the front coming off the turn. That said, he was very much with the flow of that race, staying in an outside path over a course that was deeper down towards the rail. He shouldn’t have any problems stretching out to 10 furlongs, but I think the two aforementioned Americans may offer better value.
The enigma in this race is Yoshida (#7). He’s been visually impressive in his two starts this year, but both of those efforts came against much weaker company. All things considered, he got a great ride and trip last time, saving every inch of ground while closing into a fast pace. He’s probably going to face more adversity today, and I find him to be a bad bet as the favorite.
Three Europeans have crossed the Atlantic to contest this race. Of that trio, I strongly prefer Called to the Bar.
CALLED TO THE BAR (#5) brings some convincing form into this race. He was beaten by the talented Waldgeist in his lone start as a 2-year-old, and that horse won a Group 1 later in the season before finishing second in the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club at 3. Furthermore, the two horses whom Called To The Bar defeated last time in the Prix du Lys, Ice Breeze and Shakeel, returned to finish first and second in a French Group 2 in their next starts. He’s shown tactical speed in his races, so he doesn’t figure to be compromised by the pace, and he is the top pick over Ticonderoga.
Exacta Key Box: 2,5 with 1,2,3,5,6,7
Trifecta Key Box: 2,5 with 2,5 with 1,3,6,7