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Steve Matthews’ Belmont selections for Sunday, June 17

Best Bet: SPARKY (7); Best Value: THE I MAN (1)

FIRST: The I Man compiled tight work tab for first start since November; throw deep in weak opener. Our American Star is riding a forward line on the numbers and logged 5-furlong drill since last start; dangerous. Merger of Banks (speed) and Flipped (second in last start) are two more that must be considered if price is right.

SECOND: Conquest Bigluck E projects as the main speed in first start since claimed by Robertino Diodoro. Going Strong has been going strong (hard-charging seconds) in last two starts; strong threat. Bar None was a winner at this level on May 3; right in the thick of this.

THIRD: Marengo Bay logged solid training slate for first start since November; primed for best. Field of Courage gets class relief and would be aided by hot pace; very interesting. Tombelaine owns three wins, a second and two thirds in six starts on Belmont sod; be no surprise.

FOURTH: Rucksack is fleet-footed and returns to dirt; demand value on barn (Nick Zito) that needs a map to find the winner’s circle. Gravitating has finished second in four of six starts; prefers minor awards? Nightstrings regressed in last after much-improved placing in previous start; bounce-back potential.

FIFTH: Baggins was compromised by slow start last out; forward move predicted. Gins and Tins set hot, pressured pace and naturally tired last time; very dangerous with softer flow. Mobilization fired half-mile bullet for debut for barn (Tom Morley) that won with fat-priced newcomer at this meeting; worth long look.

SIXTH: Have Another tallied swift late-pace and final figures when winning by nearly nine lengths last out; pairs up. Monteleone was a clear-cut second in last; logical, short-priced player. Scarf It Down compiled tight work tab for first start since March for streaking Jeremiah Englehart barn; must be factored into the mix.

SEVENTH: Sparky logged solid final fraction when a clear-cut maiden winner in last; more to give. Stolen Pistol owns fast figures and is training with a purpose for first start since December; worth long look. River Knight’s speed gives him a puncher’s chance at a juicy ticket.

EIGHTH: Very Very Stella gets confident price boost after decisive victory in last at Penn National; call in ultra-contentious dash. Still Krz is speedy, rested and hails from Jason Servis stable dangerous. Full Salute delivers fast-figured efforts with machine-like consistency; right in the thick of this.

NINTH: Fire Away has won three of last four starts and notched rapid late-pace figure when winning on turf two starts back; fires again. Oscar Performance is speedy, classy and loves Belmont grass; be no surprise. Made You Look is worth a long look considering he’s a last-race winner from the Chad Brown barn; dangerous.

TENTH: Tapping Colors has worked three times since hard-charging second in last; more to come. Quaff also was second in last and makes second outing since eight-month layoff; big-time player. Aoife owns competitive numbers, is training with a purpose and could be overlooked in the wagering; don’t ignore. Battle Joined was an even fifth in first start in nearly a year last time; improvement expected.

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