I handicapped five stakes races and an allowance race at Churchill and Belmont yesterday, including the Belmont Stakes. The Belmont Stakes, altered this year to a one-turn, 1-1/8th mile contest, proved to be an outcome that many predicted -- Tiz The Law stayed behind the pace set by Tap It To Win....drew even with that one at the top of the stretch and almost effortless pulled away from the field to win by about four lengths. I'm happy for the Sackatoga Stables ownership group...and "Tiz" did what he had to do to capture the win in an eerie, ghost town like Belmont Race Track setting. He paid $3.60 to win
On the day, I gave you 24 selections. There were some scratches, so I had to do a little bit of readjustment of my picks. It's always a good idea to check back here at the site to see if I had to do that. It produced a winner for us in Belmont Race 7. When Noble Jewel was scratched out of the race, I inserted Speightstown Gal as a replacement. She took the seventh race, holding off a hard-charging Light In The Sky. A $2 win wager got you a $11.20 return
Overall, on my picks, I had six winners, a second and three thirds. That's a 41% "in the money percentage. When you consider that there were 18 possible win, place or show slots to be filled...that 10 for 18 comes out to 56%. I'll take it.
Maybe the most impressive race of the day at Belmont was Race 8, the Grade I Acorn. Gamine absolutely blew away the field to win by 18 3/4th lengths in the mile race and set a new stakes record for the race. You have to wonder if trainer Bob Baffert is now eyeing the final two legs of the Triple Crown for this awesome three-year old filly? These weren't $10K claimers that Gamine beat. Jockey John Velazquez probably wouldn't mind, right? She paid $3.60 to win.
Race 9 saw another impressive filly win the Grade I Jaipur. Oleksandra beat the boys in the six furlong turf affair. Jockey Joel Rosario got her to the wire just in time to catch and pass long-shot Kanthaka at the wire. She paid $6.50 to win on the $2 venture.
At Churchill, Race 6 -- the Audubon Stakes -- went to Field Pass. This one was our top selection for the 1-1/8th test on the turf. A $5 win payout on the odds-on 3/2 favorite
Race 9 -- the Wise Dan, a Grade II Stakes, saw Factor This finish first in the 1-1/16th turf contest.. The even money odds on this favorite got you a $4 payout on a $2 wager. Another top selection here.
Out of the six races selected, my top pick for the race won three of the six. My second selection won two of the six and my late selection after scratches in the seventh race at Belmont also won. Coincidentally, that was largest payout on the day
The Pick 4 at Belmont (12-1-2-8) paid $70 on the .50 cent wager. I know, that's low for a Pick Four, but, as I've said here many a time, to quote the late Scott Harris -- "we can pick winners, but we can't pick what we get paid."
I chased that Pick 4 at Belmont and hit it. In what I considered a wide open Race 7, I took all four of my picks. In Race 8, I narrowed it down to three horses and had the winner. Race 9 looked like a two-horse race to me, and I fortunately picked the right two. I saw the Belmont Stakes as a two-horse race also. Tiz The Law and Tap It To Win were the two.
The .50 cent, $24 wager on the Pick 4 got me a small profit of $46, which I'll gladly accept, given all "the chalk" that was on the blackboard in New York yesterday. I'm glad I didn't chase exactas at either track. I did try trifectas, though, at Churchill... which wasn't too wise. I ran first and third in each race. So, those two $1 -- $24 "boxes" of my top four picks lost me the $48 I wagered.. It wiped out my Belmont profits and I lost $2 on the day, all bets considered.
I looked at Uncle Gregory for a very long time in Churchill Race 7. Out of Uncle Mo and with Corey Lanerie on board, I couldn't figure out why he was 28-1 on the tote board. I thought he rated a chance to hit the board. But, unfortunately, I didn't put down a wager. As fate would have it, he won and paid $58.20 to win.
(that sound you just heard was me kicking myself...)
A huge card at Churchill next Saturday, so I'll tackle that next week.
Happy Father's Day!