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58° Good Morning

Steve Matthews' Belmont selections for Saturday, Sept. 29

Best Bet: OPRY (9); Best Value: PONTI SCHEME (6)

FIRST: Qian  B C is riding a forward line on the numbers. Ro Jo displayed improved speed in last; developing and dangerous. Mister Buy Bien is from a dam that has thrown two grass winners; very interesting. On dirt: Beachside.

SECOND: Diodoro entry: Helooksthepart packs potent kick and mate Pete's Play Call was a front-end winner in last; potent pairing. Almithmaar logged two works since determined win in last; dangerous. Life in Shambles drops and owns fast figures; easily ould  take this.

THIRD: Jupiter Rising reached new heights on both late-pace and final figures last time; more to come. Shiraz gets favorable cutback in distance; worth long look. Sparky logged only win on Belmont turf; don't ignore.

FOURTH: Southern Phantom has made slight forward progression on the numbers in all three starts; keeps on giving. Till Then debuts for white-hot Jonathan Thomas barn; could be the goods. U S Navy Cross was bought for $550k as a yearling; follow the money.

FIFTH: Blue Jean Kitten logged half-mile drill since useful fifth in debut; more to give. Trish the Dish gets Lasix after tough trip in last start; very playable. Balon Rose was bought for a ridiculous $1.6 million as a yearling; needs to be a runner to justify that outlay.

SIXTH: Ponti Scheme makes peak start of form cycle after earning improved late-pace figure in last; call based on price potential. Romantic Moment is speedy and could play out as the controlling front-runner. Complicit owns two wins and a second in two starts on Belmont grass; must consider.

SEVENTH: Imperial Hint owns an edge on pace and final figures. Still Krz also owns speed and swift numbers and is training sharply for return to favorite footing; very dangerous on "A" effort. Sightforsoreeyes could land in exotics at fat ticket if fractions get fast and furious.

EIGHTH: Sadler's Joy own three wins at the mile-and-a-half distance. Robert Bruce has worked strongly since winning Arlington Million last month; big-time player. Teodoro gets the meds for stateside debut; very interesting.

NINTH: Opry made good-looking rally when a clear-cut winner in grass debut; pairs up. Vineyard Sound is fleet-footed and could prove very tough on an unchallenged lead; don't dismiss. Somelikeithotbrown was second to Opry last time; right in the thick of this.

TENTH: Diversify has been a virtual winning machine; two 5-furlong bullets since last score seals the deal. Carlino was a clear-cut winner in last and and handles 10-furlong trip. Gronkowski should benefit from return to Belmont Park.

ELEVENTH: Ferdinanda regressed in last after fast-figured placing in previous start; rebounds. Lion in Wait is fresh, loves Belmont sod and could play out as the dominant speed; very dangerous. Initiate compiled tight work tab for first start since last fall; don't ignore. Transaction Tax is speedy and should offer generous price; not the worst place to land.

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