Likely favorite Clint Maroon (#8) ran fairly well in the Pennine Ridge last time, but he just couldn’t quite handle the nine-furlong distance. Stamina was always going to be the chief concern for this son of Oasis Dream, so the cutback to one mile in this race suits him perfectly. The one caveat is that he got an absolutely perfect trip, setting a slow pace, when he achieved that career-best speed figure in the Woodhaven two back, and he may find himself in a stalking position this time. I believe he’s the most likely winner, but I am not thrilled with accepting a short price on anyone in this competitive race.
Win Win Win (#7) also figures to attract some support as he makes his turf debut. He’s clearly good enough to beat this field, and his pedigree says that turf is not supposed to pose a problem. However, it’s always dangerous betting horses trying something for the first time at short prices.
I’ll use both, but my top pick is POLE SETTER (#4). This horse won the Paradise Creek going seven furlongs last time, benefitting from a perfect front-running trip. His TimeformUS Speed Figure did not come back very high, but that had a lot to do with the slow pace. He proved in his prior start on dirt that he’s capable of running much faster, and I believe he can transfer that form to turf. He is going to be the controlling speed once again, and he figures to appreciate the very firm turf course at Belmont. I just think he’s going to get the right trip again, and he still figures to be a square price.
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 1,5,7,8
Trifecta: 4 with 1,5,8 with 1,5,6,7,8