TODAY'S PAPER
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SportsHorseracing

Steve Matthews' Belmont selections for Thursday, Oct. 3

Best bet: LEAD GUITAR (6)

Best value: ALLURED (3)

FIRST: Mr Phil was a clear-cut second in last; more to come. Paradise Pride makes first start with maiden-claiming tag; very dangerous. King of American drops and returns to dirt; wake-up potential.

SECOND: Mosienko moves to turf after useful third in debut; potent second-out stable. Jen's Battle owns speed and could prove tough on a soft lead. Mazal Eighteen was a game second in last; dangerous. Canarsie Angel was compromised by rough trip last time; don't overlook.

THIRD: Allured gets class relief, returns to dirt and makes peak start of form cycle; forward move predicted. Always Forgiven makes first start for Joe Sharp after late-running second in last; dangerous. Dr. Devera's Way exits clear-cut maiden score in key race last out; worth long look.

FOURTH: Noble Jewel was a fast-figured winner this course and distance this past spring; history repeats. Shrink is fresh and logged only win on Belmont sod; price will be tempting. Itsakeyper made menacing middle move and flattened last time; tighter in second start since three-month layoff.

FIFTH: Crick packs potent kick and is favorably posted outside in bulky field; 5-furlong bullet last week seals the deal. Lookbothways owns four seconds and two thirds from eight starts; minor award again? Handle With Care is fleet-footed and could play out as the controlling front-runner; must consider.

SIXTH: Lead Guitar led from start to finish when breaking maiden last out; encore performance. A Little Faith tallied swift late-pace figure when a winner in lone start on Belmont turf this past summer; very dangerous. Kerry's Ring notched a win and two seconds from last three starts; right in the thick of this.

SEVENTH: Small Bear loves Belmont Park loam and is training with a purpose for first start since New Year's Day; primed and ready. Roaming Union owns speed and gets favorable cutback in distance and class relief; big-time player. Realm needed last and owns fast back numbers on "A" efforts; must be factored into the mix.

EIGHTH: Forever Wicked logged improved placing in last and additional 16th should play to strength. Hold My Call is speedy, adds blinkers and must be given long look if able to escape AE list. Macho Boy also is quick from gate and could prove very tough if able to shake clear from other front-runners. Political logged tightly grouped work tab for debut; stay tuned to the tote.

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