Saturday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: In the Lee heads into the Perfect Sting in top form

Belmont Park | Race 4 | Post Time 3:09 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs

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La Sardane (#2) is the horse to beat as she shoots for her second consecutive New York stakes victory, but I still have some reservations about her overall quality. While it may seem that she answered those questions by taking down a Grade 3 stakes race last time, that race does not look quite as solid once you dissect it. The favorite scratched, and her remaining top rivals just completely failed to show. In fact, the 3 shortest prices in the wagering outside of this filly (Delectation, Stormy Victoria, and Thundering Sky) were the last 3 to cross the wire. Approaching the eighth pole, it appeared that La Sardane was going to draw off to a convincing victory, but she never really got away from her rivals and had to work hard to beat inferior horses like Faypien and Heavenly Score. I’m always a little leery of horses who have a quick burst of speed and flatten out, especially when they’re stretching out in distance. I’m using her defensively, but I think this is the time to take a shot against her.

The most logical alternative is T​hais (#4), who kept good company in a couple of stakes races last year and got the job done in her return to the races on May 18. She’s going to have to improve on that effort to win here, but that’s certainly a possibility. I’m using her, but the horse I want to bet is actually coming out of a different optional-claiming race.

IN THE LEE (#6) just got up as the heavy favorite when beating today’s rival Pas de Soucis on May 24. She was confidently handled that day, as she was reserved off a moderate pace before unleashing a strong stretch bid. Her speed figures are just slightly lower than those of the top contenders, but I think she has the most upside of anyone in this field. She improved with racing throughout last season and hinted that she might be able to compete at this level in a better-than-it-looks fourth in the Commonwealth Oaks. Furthermore, the Pace Projector is predicting a situation favoring horses on or near the lead, and she is one of the few who possesses the tactical speed to stay close to the early pace.

THE PLAY

Win: 6

Exacta Key Box: 6 with 2,3,4,7

Trifecta: 6 with 2,4 with 1,2,3,4,7

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