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Steve Matthews' Belmont selections for Friday, June 19


Best value: MAXWELL ESQUIRE (9)

FIRST: Market Alert outworked 142 rivals in half-mile drill on June 7; best guess in field of 10 newcomers. Quick Nick compiled bullet-riddled work tab for potent first-out stable; follow the money. Effinity concluded training slate with half-mile bullet; could be the goods.

SECOND: Astoundment starts from the fence and could get the early jump in field that's light on speed. Tonal Verse owns two seconds and a third from three starts; likely underlay. Coilean Bawn logged string of 5-furlong drills for first start since November; must consider.

THIRD: Ari's Naughty Luca pulls weight from the majority of the field and projects as the speed of the speed with heads-up handling. Call the Cat drops and could be the prime beneficiary if top selection hits the wall in the stretch. Jack Bo should be aided by cutback to sprint.

FOURTH: Autostrade was compromised by wide trips in last two starts; price play in field with vulnerable favorite. Leitone owns very fast final numbers but takes suspicious class drop; you've been warned. Shadow Rider (two wins at Belmont) and Creative Style (raced last week) could roll past them all if pace meltdown ensues.

FIFTH: Morality Clause should pack amplified kick at 6 furlongs. Miss You Blues fired 5-furlong workout on June 10; very interesting. Mariposa d'Oro is from a dam that has produced two turf winners; must consider.

SIXTH: Queen Kahen drops and returns to dirt after speed sharpener in last. Mo Flash owns fast late-pace figures on best efforts; dangerous. Camorra is fleet-footed and gets confident price boost; very playable.

SEVENTH: Collegeville Girl moves to grass after nine-length score on Big A dirt in March; transfers form. Awillaway owns speed and should be favorably positioned in bulky group. Lovely La La notched both wins on Belmont sod; must be factored into the mix.

EIGHTH: Nueva York tallied fast late-pace and final figures when winning on March 7; more to come. The Caretaker logs rapid final numbers on "A" efforts; likely underlay. Eye Luv Lulu owns speed and swift numbers but take troubling class drop; handle with care at short odds. 

NINTH: Maxwell Esquire should pack amplified late kick with cutback to 6 furlongs. Jack and Noah owns bulletlike speed and could prove very tough on an unchallenged lead. Chimney Rock was a determined winner on CD sod on May 17; right in the thick of this.

10TH: Rosey's Invasion adds blinkers and looms the controlling front-runner in turf debut; two sharp works seal the deal. Roziere was a willing second in lone grass start; dangerous. Banque de Margaux was a tough-trip sixth in only grass outing; worth long look at long price. Wall Eye makes first start since moving to new barn; wake-up potential.

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