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Steve Matthews' Belmont selections for Wednesday, Sept. 19

The spring-summer meets with more than 59 stakes

The spring-summer meets with more than 59 stakes races begin at Belmont Park in Elmont, Friday, April 26, and  runs through July 7. Racing events include the Man o'  War Racing Festival on May 11; and The Big Apple Showcase Day, with the splotlight on New York-bred horses, May 28. Will there be a Triple Crown contender this year?  The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival is set for June 6 to 8 with the Belmont Stakes race and the third leg of the Triple Crown on June 8. Don't forget to celebrate trackside with the Stars and Stripes Racing Festival on July 4 to 6. Closing day is July 7, and the racing action moves to Saratoga with opening day July 11.
INFO 718-641-4700,  nyra.com
ADMISSION $5 grandstand and clubhouse, $3 preferred parking Photo Credit: Ed Betz

Best bet: PAGLIACCI (6)

Best value: CHA CHA HEELS (4)

FIRST: Crater Rim notched improved late-pace figure when a hard-charging third in last; more to come. Spring Drama drops and makes peak start of form cycle; very dangerous. Reconsider It stretches out to suitably longer distance; don't dismiss.

SECOND: Southeast tallied rapid final fraction when a late-running fourth in last; class drop seals the deal. Flatexcel is fleet-footed and could prove very tough on an unchallenged lead. Vicar's Legend returns to dirt and owns competitive numbers on best efforts.

THIRD: Tiz Morning fired crisp half-mile work since speed-and-fade tightener in last; call based on price potential. Barahin has trained sharply since displaying good early foot in well-bet debut; logical player. Our American Star owns six seconds and three thirds from 22 starts; another minor award?

FOURTH: Cha Cha Heels fired half-mile bullet since tough-trip fifth in last; sitting on breakthrough. Southern Gal compiled solid work slate for first start since last fall; primed and ready. Myhartblongstodaddy has finished second as the favorite in last two starts; disappoints again?

FIFTH: Steam Engine carved the fractions when a clear-cut second as the favorite in debut; rates close call. Stop Me If You Can regressed in last after strong placing in prior; rebound threat. Grammi Dance made middle move and flattened in debut; improvement expected.

SIXTH: Pagliacci had no chance when blocked behind wall of horses in the stretch last time; deserves another chance. New York Song also got bogged down in traffic in same race as top selection; very playable. Bourbon Currency exits same Aug. 27 dash as top pair and could move forward in second start since six-month layoff; don't ignore.

SEVENTH: Hills Pond hails from top-shelf Philly-based barn and should pack amplified wallop with cutback to 7 furlongs; tight, recent work tab seals the deal. Rappel runs late and could be the prime beneficiary if pace meltdown ensues. Japonski gets confident price hike after game second when 40 cents on the dollar at Monmouth last out; very interesting.

EIGHTH: Party Like Grandma has smoked two fields on the lead; wire to wire once again. Elegant Zip tallied solid late-pace figure when a game maiden winner in last; dangerous. Maiden Beauty fired eye-catching 5-furlong bullet since chasing 'Grandma' around the track last out; could easily close the gap.

NINTH: Party in the Sand wheels back in a hurry after even fourth on Sept. 8; forward move predicted. Tequila Sunday, 0-for-16, actually crossed the finish line first but was dq'd from top spot this past summer at Belmont; big-time player. Galway Girl returns to dirt and drops and could land in exotics at juicy number. Zecha shows no listed works since hard-fought placing in last; bounces today?

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