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SportsHorseracing

Steve Matthews' Belmont selections for Friday, Oct. 16

Best bet: A BIT O'IRISH SASS (3)

Best value: KREESIE (7)

FIRST: Maxwell Esquire was a determined winner in last; more to come. French Reef owns speed but will offer short odds; you make the call. Bourbon Currency consistently delivers strong efforts; must consider.

SECOND: Joqular could be primed for wake-up with switch to sod; throw deep in wide-open 2-year-old turf mile. Miss Morgantown has worked three times for first start with maiden-claiming tag; very interesting. Little Nutter was second in last on Monmouth grass; dangerous.

THIRD: A Bit o'Irish Sass has drilled two times since useful fourth in debut; improvement predicted. La Urbana was dueled into defeat when well bet in first start; big-time threat. Exfiltration debuts for potent first-out barn (Horacio DePaz); tote should provide additional clues.

FOURTH: Neighborhood Bully bounced in last start after pairing up wins in prior two outings; rebounds at a generous ticket. Summer Bourbon was a sharp second at this level last time; dangerous. Orpheus was a subpar fifth in last but is right in the thick of this on best efforts.

FIFTH: Crick makes third start of form cycle and could be sitting on career-best effort. Buffet is speedy and gets class relief very playable. Mebs Web fired half-mile bullet since clear-cut placing in last; must be factored into the mix.

SIXTH: Big Package made a big late run to just miss last time; cutback to 6 furlongs amplifies late wallop. Fast Getaway usually displays a fast getaway from the gate and could prove very tough on a soft lead. Mo Maverick also is fleet-footed but has been idle for nearly a year and will offer paltry price; proceed with caution.

SEVENTH: Kreesie is riding a forward line on the numbers and is a four-time winner on Belmont sod; call based on price. Madeleine Must bested top selection by more than a length when second on Sept. 20; could easily take this. Stone Tornado has failed as the favorite in three stateside starts; burns more cash?

EIGHTH: Officiating adds blinkers and worked two times since last start for white-hot Bill Mott barn; rates close call. Savoy gets an additional quarter-mile after late-running fourth in debut; big-time player. Rational Choice, an uncoupled barn mate of second selection from Chad Brown stable, was second to a runaway winner; be no surprise.

NINTH: Crystalle tallied swift late-pace figure last out; more to give in second start since 10-month layoff. Windfall Profit, from the streaking Shug McGaughey barn, was compromised by slow splits last time; worth long look. Pandamom exits sharp placing in last; must consider.

10TH: Reina Del Sol notched deceptively fast final fraction when third in race won by odds-on entry mate; her turn on Friday. Evvie Jets outworked 80 rivals in half-mile drill on Oct. 11 after hard-charging third in debut; very playable. Traffic Lane owns suitable pedigree for move to grass; very interesting. No Ordinary Time expanded too much early energy when rank on the lead last time; don't ignore.

New York Sports