Sunday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Highway Star has the tactical speed to work out a favorable trip in the Gallant Bloom

Belmont Park | Race 8 | Post Time 5:18 p.m. (ET) | Go to the FREE TimeformUS PPs

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This Gallant Bloom drew a very competitive field in which all 7 of the entrants have a legitimate chance to win. The likely favorite is Lewis Bay (#3), one of three fillies exiting the Grade 1 Ballerina. While she was somewhat disappointing in finishing third that day, that was hardly her best effort. If she can run back to her performance in the Bed O Roses two back, she’s going to be pretty formidable in this spot. That day she was able to race right up on a moderate pace, and a similar scenario could play out in this spot.

The Pace Projector is predicting a situation favoring runners on or near the lead, and she figures to be right up there, if not leading the field through the opening furlongs. I’m using her, but she once again faces a legitimate rival in Still There, who edged her out for second in the Ballerina last time. Still There (#1) has obviously improved this summer for Dane Kobiskie and she will be formidable if she repeats her Ballerina effort.

Union Strike (#6) may have had the toughest trip of the trio exiting the Ballerina as she was hindered by the slow pace in that race. However, she’s likely to face a similar race flow in this spot.

I’m taking a shot against these fillies with HIGHWAY STAR (#4), who figures to go off at a much more enticing price. Some may argue that this filly has not returned in top form this year, and I think there’s some merit to that point of view. However, it’s not as if she’s run that badly. I thought she bounced back very well in the Ruffian in early May, as she made the first move and just got tired late. She did well to survive a fast pace in the Critical Eye next time out, and then I feel that she may have reacted negatively to coming back on just 11 days’ rest in the Bed O Roses. Based on the TimeformUS Speed Figures hat she’s earned in her last three races, she’s just as fast as she ever was. She missed the Ballerina due to a minor ailment, but she had reportedly been training well prior to that. She has the tactical speed to sit just off Lewis Bay early and you know she’s going to give you everything she has if she’s still in contention at the quarter pole.

THE PLAY

Win/Place: 4

Exacta Key Box: 4 with 1,3,5,6

Trifecta: 3,4 with 3,4 with ALL

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