The Chad Brown entry of Financial System (#1) and Unleveraged (#1A) is likely to go off as a prohibitive favorite since both runners would be viable contenders as separate betting interests. I prefer Unleveraged, who won his maiden off a lengthy layoff at Aqueduct last time while beating a decent field. He earned a respectable 113 TimeformUS Speed Figure, and he would be a win candidate here if he merely repeats that effort. Financial System disappointed in his return last time, but he may not have appreciate the 10-furlong distance. The cutback in trip will help, but he may be a cut below these from a class perspective.
The logical alternative to the entry is Il Primo Sole (#9), who makes his first start in the U.S. while returning from a 10-month layoff for new trainer David Duggan. This runner showed promise in Europe last year, losing the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) by just five lengths and finishing a close fifth in a competitive 30-horse handicap during the Royal Ascot meet. His top Timeform Rating of 114 puts him in the mix, but there are some hurdles. Something clearly went badly awry in his final start of 2018, and now he’s returning as a new gelding with Lasix. He does appear to be working forwardly.
I’m using him, but my top pick is first-time turfer YAMANO MAKER (#7). The Pace Projector is predicting that this race may favor runners on or near the lead, and Yamano Maker is predicted to be in front early. This colt showed promise at the start of his career but has since disappointed in two starts against winners. I’m hoping the switch to turf may wake him up since he certainly has some pedigree to handle it. Empire Maker is a 13 percent turf sire, and his dam was a winner sprinting on turf in Japan. She has produced Japanese Group 3 turf winner Meisho Naruto as well as dirt performer Epicharis. Yamano Maker drilled four furlongs over the Belmont turf course Sunday and appeared to take to it very well.
Exacta Key Box: 7 with 1,5,9
Trifecta: 1,7 with 1,7 with ALL