Belmont Park Horse Racing Picks for Saturday 7/4/20
With most of the sports world on pause, it's a great time to dive into horse racing, and FanDuel Racing gives you the chance to do just that.
Starting at 1:15 p.m. EST, we have 11 races at Belmont Park on Independence Day. Using our numberFire projections as a guide, here are some of the best bets.
As always, check the program for scratches and changes, and check the weather and track conditions.
(I will reference Equibase's Speed Figure in selected races, which tells you how fast a horse has been running in each of its races -- adjusted for track, distances, and conditions.)
Valid Point , Race 8
FanDuel Racing Odds: 7/2
Race 8 is the $150K Poker Stakes for older horses going one mile on the turf. This is the start of the Late Pick 3 and Pick 4, and the most money will be bet on these races, adding to the pari-mutuel pools.
This race drew nine entries, but Its All Relevant (3/5) for EPO trainer Rudy Rodriguez will likely scratch as he’s only running if the race is moved to the main track. The favorite then is Value Proposition (5/2) breaking from the outside post with leading Belmont jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. riding for EPO trainer Chad Brown. Value Proposition has won 3-of-4 races, including a win in early June over this turf track off a nearly 11-month layoff. He faces better competition here and needs a strong pace to close into for another win. There's no value here, though.
Brown’s other entry, Valid Point (7/2), is a better bet, and if he wins, you’ll better understand the power of EPO. Valid Point won a Grade 1 race last summer with a 110 speed figure. That was his third straight win to start his career before missing the money in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G2). He makes his 2020 debut here, and numberFire picks him second and to make a "Valid Point" in his return off a long layoff.
Got Stormy (7/2) was scratched from the Grade 1 Just A Game last week and will go here against the boys as the top pick at numberFire. This fine filly has finished first or second in six Grade 1 races over the past 14 months and has eight wins and more than $1.5 million in race earnings. She offers consistent triple-digit speed figures, and she’ll likely be pressing the pace and looking to cash in again for excellent trainer Mark Casse. She's a win contender and should be included in horizontal wagers.
Seismic Wave (8/1) offers value as a closer with the best turn of foot in the field. He’ll likely have to kick and close into a slower pace, but he gets super stretch rider Joel Rosario to guide him as he did last month, when he just missed the money off a layoff.
Vekoma, Race 9
FanDuel Racing Odds: 5/2
Race 9 is the one-mile, $500K Metropolitan Handicap. Vekoma won 5-of-7 starts and missed the money only on an off track in the 2019 Kentucky Derby. But he won his last race on a sloppy Belmont track by more than seven lengths over Network Effect a month ago while posting a career-best 116 speed figure. He’ll likely press or stalk and come running just off the pace.
Here's a full breakdown of the Met Mile.
Rockemperor, Race 10
FanDuel Racing Odds: 5/1
Race 10 is the $400K Manhattan, and eight runners are lined up for this 1 1/4-mile race on the inner turf. It's a distance race on turf, and it's no surprise to see the EPO trainers lined up with their colts able to find that extra gear. Trainer Chad Brown has won four of the last six editions of this race, and he has three colts entered, with Instilled Regard (2/1) the favorite ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr. He’s a logical inclusion, but Instilled Regard may be overbet after winning a Grade 2 race a month ago and posting a 111 speed figure. Daily Horse Picks has Instilled Regard on top, but class and speed comparisons favor our pick, Rockemperor.
A better bet and price to consider is Brown-trained Rockemperor (5/1). The Irish-bred has not finished first or second in four U.S. starts, but he was disqualified from second last race in May at Santa Anita while posting a career-best 120 speed figure. He's likely sitting on a big race.
Sadler’s Joy (7/2) is a veteran turf runner but is vulnerable here without much pace as a deep closer. numberFire likes him on top, but we'll fade.
It's also worth checking out EPO trainers Brad Cox with Dot Matrix (6/1) and Mike Maker with Cross Border (10/1), the latter of whom could be dangerous on the lone lead. Dot Matrix finished a strong-closing second a month ago and was two lengths in front of race favorite Sadler’s Joy in a large field.
Tacitus, Race 11
FanDuel Racing Odds: 9/5
Race 11 is the Grade 2 Suburban Stakes with a $200K purse, and eight older horses will race 1 1/4 miles. Three runners in here finished 1-2-3 in last year’s Belmont Stakes, which was won by Sir Winston (7/2) ahead of Tacitus (9/5) and Joevia (20/1).
Tacitus will press the pacesetter, Mr Buff (2/1), in this race, and Mr. Buff won three straight races from December to February before finishing second last month as the favorite in a minor stakes race. numberFire likes Mr Buff on top, but Tacitus has an ideal setup and conditions to break through for his first win in 15 months (seven races), and FanDuel Racing's implied odds suggest a 36% chance to win.
Moretti (5/1) changed up his style and ran on the lead over a sloppy Belmont track last month to win by more than five lengths over Sir Winston. Todd Pletcher is another EPO trainer whose capable of getting this well-bred colt to run with energy on a shorter turnaround at a distance, and Moretti can again finish in front of Sir Winston and strong stretch rider Joel Rosario.