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Steve Matthews' Belmont selectons for Friday, May 24

Best Bet: PASSPORT TO VICTORY (7); Best Value: ANNIE ROCKS (6)

FIRST: El Fenomeno projects as the controlling speed in turf debut; call based on price potential. Thenorthremembers cuts back to sprint and could be in the garden spot if top selection hits the wall in the stretch. Blacktop Legend is another that should pack intensified wallop at 6 furlongs; very dangerous.

SECOND: Lazarus Project drops and gets favorable cutback to 6 furlongs; rebounds on Friday. Candy Promises makes first start since claimed after winning by more than eight lengths last time; very playable. Javelin was a distant second to Candy Promises on May 10 but owns faster back numbers; must be factored into the mix.

THIRD: Our Honor was a late-running third last time and should be aided by added ground. Inclunation failed to fire when trying turf last out; return to dirt is key. Bumperdoo adds blinkers and gets class relief; don't ignore.

FOURTH: Stock Trade notched only win on Belmont sod; price won't get pulse racing, however. Straphanger is from a dam that has thrown two grass winners; very interesting. River Knight's speed gives him a puncher's chance at a fat ticket; intriguing.

FIFTH: Lucky Bet ships in from Tampa and drops two price levels after even third in last; more to come. Ridolfo exits clear-cut placing in last; worth long look. Mister Muy Bien was a subpar fifth on grass last out after wide third on dirt two starts back; bounce-back potential.

SIXTH: Annie Rocks gets confident price boost after hard-charging second last time; handles the hike. Eloweasel has worked three times since decisive score last month; razor-sharp and very dangerous. Sweet Bye and Bye is speedy and firing bullets but has been idle for more than eight months; must take the good with the bad.

SEVENTH: Passporttovictory earned improved internal numbers in last after logging fast late-pace figure in previous start; primed for breakthrough. Chiclet's Dream is rested, training sharply and owns swift numbers; signature Chad Brown pattern. Birthday Gift packs strong late kick on best efforts; price will be tempting.

EIGHTH: Salsa Bella has trained swiftly since tough-trip fifth in last start; best price potential of the contenders. Too Cool to Dance owns a win and a second in two starts on Belmont grass; likely underlay. Goodbye Brockley also loves Big B sod (two wins, two seconds from four starts); right in the thick of this.

NINTH: Alvernia compiled three tight works this month for first start in seven weeks; career-best predicted. Pretty Spectacular gets the meds and returns to maiden ranks; very playable. Kris d'Oro made sustained rally when a game second in debut at Monmouth; must consider. Sander's Empire was eased in the slop last time but could impact at juicy price on dry land.


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