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SportsHorseracing

Steve Matthews’ Belmont selections for Sunday, May 20

Best Bet: LEMON BLITZ (6); Best Value: SAMUNA (7)

FIRST: Stormy Forecast has trained sharply for first start for Robertino Diodoro; breakthrough predicted. Freeload was a fast-figured second as the favorite last time; be no surprise. Justinspeightofit displayed improved speed in last; price will be tempting.

SECOND: You Promise makes quick return after tough-trip fourth on May 11; weakness of field is selection’s strength. Mama’s Red Hat returns to dirt and owns competitive numbers on best efforts. Way Over Budget was an improved third in last; must consider.

THIRD: Conquest Twister was a determined winner in last and rates call if race is moved to dirt. Canarise Kid was a front-running winner the last time he touched Belmont turf; very dangerous. Excluded is improving and makes peak start of form cycle; worth long look.

FOURTH: Stonefactor is speedy and could secure unchallenged lead in big field. Dream Passage has finished second at short odds in last three starts; continues pattern? Caitriona makes third start since 10-month layoff; should be nearing peak.

FIFTH: Jcs American Dream gets class relief and owns fast back figures; call in weak field. Madame Barbarian packs potent late kick on best efforts; dangerous. Ritzy Lass gets confident price boost in first start since claimed by Steve Asmussen; big-time player.

SIXTH: Lemon Blitz was pace and position compromised when second to a repeat winner in last; more to give. Space Captain owns speed and makes first start since claimed (and gelded) by Michelle Nevin; very dangerous. Beach Access was a game third in last and must be factored into the mix if able to escape AE list. Gambler’s Fallacy debuts for Chad Brown; need more.

SEVENTH: Samuna logged swift late-pace figure when a better-than-it-looks sixth in U.S. debut; more to come. Homeland Security is 2-for-3 on Belmont grass and compiled tight work tab for first start since September; big-time player. Tapella moves to turf for Todd Pletcher; underlay potential.

EIGHTH: Joopster drops after speed and fade versus pricier at Keeneland last time; two, swift 5-furlong works in the interim seal the deal. Lightning Buzz regressed in last after determined win in previous start; rebound threat. Hard Hitter is another that took backward step in most recent after big effort two back; must consider.

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