Scattered Clouds 27° Good Morning
Scattered Clouds 27° Good Morning

Steve Matthews’ Belmont selections for Friday, July 1


Best Bet: LORD OF LOVE (7)

Best Value: ESTHER THE QUEEN (5)

FIRST: Shadow Rider is riding a forward line on late pace and final figures; breakthrough predicted. Geo Niko has worked four times since game second last out; dangerous. Rare Eagle could impact outcome if fractions get hot and hectic.

SECOND: Kiss the Toad dramatically picked up the tempo in final workout (best-of-44 half-mile); primed and ready. Keep Quiet moves to dirt after failing to beat a runner in turf debut; improvement expected. Jewel Heist makes first start for the streaking John Kimmel barn; could be the goods.

THIRD: Uptown Liza tallied improved internal numbers in last and now gets class relief; set for best. Greenway adds blinkers, moves to dirt and drops; improvement expected. Cheering for Al failed when favored in last but must be respected with class drop for Rudy Rodriguez.

FOURTH: Purpose of Life tallied swift late-pace and final figs when an easy winner in last at Delaware; ready for prime time. Sweetgrass owns fast numbers and gets class and distance relief; very dangerous. Stroke Play makes first start for Danny Gargan and packs potent late kick on “A” game; right in the thick of this.

FIFTH: Esther the Queen was a useful fourth in first start since two-month layoff last time; more to give. The Strip moves to grass after winning two of last three starts on dirt; transfers razor-sharp form. Lamontagne bested a next-out winner when a clear-cut second in last; big-time threat.

SIXTH: Squeeze Thetrigger never fired when trying turf last time; blinkers on and surface switch provide wake-up. Riff Raff returns to maiden-claiming ranks after even fifth in last; dangerous. Kenyan took backward step in last after fast-figured fifth in debut; bounce-back threat.

SEVENTH: Lord of Love makes peak start of form cycle and late-running style could be aided by probable pace dynamics. Final Encore owns advantageous stalker’s style and is training strongly for first start in 55 days. Magnifier is fleet-footed and could play out as the speed of the speed.

EIGHTH: Now Power is riding a two-race winning streak and projects as the speed of the speed in compact field. Coming Attraction was a solid second in last and could be the prime beneficiary if pace meltdown ensues. Jc’s Shooting Star owns two wins from three starts on Belmont grass; price will be tempting.

NINTH: Ghareeb gets class relief and should move forward in second start since two-month layoff. Lone Trader was a last-to-first winner in most recent; pair up potential. Mambo At the Gym bested top selection by nearly two lengths when third in last; dangerous. St. Louie was second in last at Pimlico and owns a win on Belmont grass; don’t ignore. Balderdash can prove tough on a soft lead.

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