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SportsHorseracing

Steve Matthews' Belmont selections for Friday, June 26

Best bet: FIRST APPEAL (4)

Best value: TALE OF MIST (5)

FIRST: Star of the West was a top-figured maiden winner on June 3; more to come. Dangerous Edge regressed last time after hard-charging score in prior; rebound threat. Dr. Devera's Way was a game second in last; dangerous.

SECOND: Cobble Hill tallied fast late-pace and final numbers when second to a much-the-best winner in last; amplified wallop predicted. Carters Got Sass is speedy and could prove very tough on an unchallenged lead. J's Warrior also is fleet-footed and makes third start of form cycle; must consider.

THIRD: Gauguin returns from six-month layoff and has a history of firing big efforts off the bench. Good Governance is fresh and training with a purpose for Chad Brown; classic pattern. Personal Time packs a potent kick on best efforts; don't ignore.

FOURTH: First Appeal drops and turns back to shorter sprint; enhanced wallop predicted. Teletype is quick from the gate and should be aided by cutback to 6 furlongs. Annie Rocks could impact at fat ticket if pace meltdown ensues.

FIFTH: Tale of Mist needed last and gets class relief and rider upgrade; improvement expected. Blinded Vision is speedy and could prove very tough to collar on a soft lead. Blue Belt has hit the board in six of last 10 starts; right in the thick of this.

SIXTH: Mundacious moves to turf after showing improved speed in last; crisp half-mile drill last week seals the deal. Operative was a useful sixth in debut; forward move anticipated. Barleewon was second at every call last time; logical contender.

SEVENTH; Worth a Shot owns stalker's style and compiled tight work slate for first start since last fall; primed and ready. Rinaldi, on the bench since last summer, concluded training tab with 5-furlong bullet; very playable. Nutzforboltz, another that returns from protracted layoff (seven months), could be the prime beneficiary if pace meltdown ensues.

EIGHTH: Mentality has fired a string of bullets since clear-cut placing at CD last time; more to come. Kid Is Frosty also is working sharply and was a winner on Belmont sod last summer; worth long look. Purrageous Dyna owns a win and a second in five starts on Belmont grass; don't overlook.

NINTH: Kefaliani was second to a repeat winner in last start (albeit in January) but has logged a series of endurance-building works for return; ready to fire. Sander's Empire owns competitive numbers on best efforts; price will be tempting. Vitanza logged sharp half-mile drill since last start; very interesting. Queentigua was second at 133-1 last out; don't ignore.

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