Belmont | Race 8 | Post Time 6:45 p.m. (ET) | TimeformUS PPs are now available on DRF.com. Go to PPs
Most of the major players in this optional claimer are returning from layoffs. That includes likely favorite Bahamian Club (#6). This filly ran deceptively well in her second career start last June. She got the wrong trip stalking along the rail during a time when the outside paths were preferred on the inner turf, before getting stymied in traffic late. She subsequently improved when working out a great trip to win at Saratoga. She then ran the best race of her career in the Pebbles to close out her season, rallying into a slow pace after racing outside throughout. The 7-furlong distance of this race may be a little short for her, but she clearly has talent and will be tough to handle if she returns in top form.
Miss Carol Ann (#2) also last raced in the Pebbles back in September at Aqueduct, and was similarly compromised by a slow early pace. She was even farther back in the early stages than Bahamian Club, trailing the field early. Yet she did well to make up some ground through the lane while never really threatening. I don’t mind the turnback as much for her, since she was successful sprinting in Europe last year. Graham Motion also does very well off layoffs.
The horse who could take money who I’m against is Regal Realm (#8). She earned a massive 118 TimeformUS Speed Figure last time, but I have some doubts about the overall quality of that race. She also got to set an extremely slow pace before sprinting home. She’s the primary speed once again, but this is a tougher field.
My top pick is Sail By (#9). This filly has run some of her best career races at Belmont Park. She won her debut here as a 2-year-old before earning her biggest victory in the Grade 2 Miss Grillo at this venue in late 2021. She failed to win during her 3-year-old season, but she did put forth her best effort over this course and distance when a narrowly beaten third in the Grade 3 Soaring Softly. She had a legitimate excuse after that, as she was off to a poor start before chasing outside in the Lek Placid. I like her cutting back off the layoff. She has also changed hands since last year, and has a right to improve off the trainer switch to Phil Antonacci.