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SportsHorseracing

Steve Matthews' Belmont selections for Wednesday, Oct. 24

Best bet: ANDRONIKOS (9)

Best value: NIKO'S DREAM (5)

FIRST: Bella Figura owns speed, drops and is training with a purpose for first start in seven weeks. Big Mischief also gets class relief and is working sharply; big-time contender. Red Curls owns competitive figures on best efforts.

SECOND: O Shea Can U See is fresh and projects as the dominant speed. Mohican runs late and will be in the garden spot if top selection hits the wall in the lane. Dooley is another stretch runner that would be aided by pace meltdown.

THIRD: Lion in Wait was a determined winner in last and has paired up victories in the past. Complicit consistently delivers strong efforts; logical, short-priced threat. Ladies' Privilege makes peak start of form cycle; worth long look at long price.

FOURTH: Rossby was compromised by wide trip on inside-biased surface last out; set for best. Rose of Dublin owns speed and gets favorable cutback to sprint; dangerous. Alphabetting drops to lifetime low for streaking Gary Contessa barn; don't ignore.

FIFTH: Niko's Dream has trained sharply since useful fourth in debut; forward move predicted. Plink Freud, also fourth in first start, was less than a length behind next-out winner; very playable. Itsakeyper was a game second in last; right in the thick of this.

SIXTH: Mobridge is a six-time winner on Belmont sod and owns favorable stalker's style. Fox Rules is fleet-footed and could prove very tough on an unchallenged lead. Wicked Freud is rested and logs fast figures on best efforts; must be factored into the mix.

SEVENTH: Alisio concluded work tab with swift 5-furlong drill; call in nine-horse field with eight first-time starters. Chica Boom Chic and Break Curfew are uncoupled newcomers from the Chad Brown barn; nobody said this game was fair. Fuji makes first start for Rudy Rodriguez; tote watching is a must.

EIGHTH: Bellavais is firing bullets for first start in nearly a year; primed and ready. Hallie Belle has been facing graded stakes fields and packs potent kick on "A" effort; very dangerous. Penjade owns two wins and two seconds from four starts on Belmont turf; must consider.

NINTH: Andronikos is fresh and projects as the main speed in wide-open nightcap. Fast Boat drops and gets favorable cutback to 7 furlongs; very dangerous. La Maquina Gris was a strong second in lone start on Belmont grass; very interesting. Unlockthepotential has worked three times since last start; must be factored into the mix.

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