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SportsHorseracing

Steve Matthews’ Belmont selections for Saturday, May 5

Best Bet: CAUSE FOR SURPRISE (7); Best Value: GRAND VALOUR (2)

FIRST: Tough Old Bird is riding a forward line on late-pace and final figures; more to come. Holy Gold is speedy and training sharply; very dangerous. Summer Punch drops and returns to dirt; underlay potential.

SECOND: Grand Valour tallied swift final fractions in both starts on Belmont grass; rates call in wide-open maiden field. Joe’s Smokin Gun gets class relief after being eliminated at the start last time; very playable. Hokulea has improved on the numbers since lone grass start in November; worth long look.

THIRD: Dublinthepleasure owns sit-and-pounce style and is favorably posted in evenly-matched field. Combat Controller is fresh and could play out as the controlling speed with aggressive ride. Mister Hayes has won five of last seven starts; right in the thick of this.

FOURTH: Sister Sophia logged all three wins on Belmont turf; 5-furlong workout on April 8 seals the deal. Misericordia was a fast-figured maiden winner on Big A grass last out; razor-sharp and very dangerous. Lady Suebee is speedy, owns fast final figures and makes first grass start for Chad Brown; need more?

FIFTH: Dry Martini logged three tight works since 48-day freshener; timid call in field that’s loaded with newcomers. Preternatural is working with a purpose for debut for Christophe Clement; follow the money. Moses Supposes has been training swiftly for first start; must consider.

SIXTH: Holy Helena won two straight on Gulfstream grass this winter and has trained strongly since shipping back to New York. Estrechada arrives from SoCal and owns fast numbers on “A” efforts. Santa Monica was a visually impressive winner in U.S. debut for Chad Brown; easily could take another.

SEVENTH: Cause for Surprise gets confident price hike after determined win in last; pairs up. Big Guy Ian is fleet-footed and can prove very tough on an unchallenged lead. Will Did It owns fast back figures; must consider.

EIGHTH: Rubellite was a tough-trip fifth in debut and should pack amplified kick with cutback to 6 furlongs. Tapping Colors is riding a forward line on the numbers; very dangerous. My Bronx Tail could play out as the main speed; big-time threat. Battle Joined fired half-mile bullet for first start in nearly a year; must be factored into the mix.

NINTH: Helooksthepart notched rapid late-pace figure when winning last at the Big A and is 1-for-1 on Belmont loam; more to come. Phi Beta Express is swift from the gate and also loves Belmont; big-time player. Very Very Stella regressed in last after fast-numbered placing in previous start; rebound potential.

TENTH: Spring Quality compiled eye-catching, stamina-building workout slate for first start since November; primed and ready. Robert Bruce has won six in a row on grass in Chile and gets Lasix in stateside debut for Chad Brown; obvious threat. Ticonderoga, also from Brown barn, was a determined winner in last start; any questions?

ELEVENTH: Conquest Big E was a front-end winner of Grade 2 stakes at Gulfstream last time and projects as the speed of the speed with heads-up handling. Vulcan’s Forge packs powerful kick on best efforts and owns two wins and a third in three starts at Belmont; very playable. Cloud Computing is training swiftly for first start since poor effort in Travers at Spa last summer; dangerous on best.

TWELFTH: Andronikos adds blinkers and could play out as the controlling speed in first grass start. Flipped logged solid late-pace figure when a strong second on dirt last time; dangerous. Can’tweallgetalong runs late and could be in garden spot if pace meltdown ensues. Pence logged two thirds on Belmont grass last fall; must consider.

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