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SportsHorseracing

Steve Matthews' Belmont selections for Saturday, Oct. 17

Best bet: XANTHIQUE (9)

Best value: DOUBLE SHOT (1)

FIRST: Double Shot compiled tight work tab for first start since gelded; fires best shot. Rejected Again was freshened for 45 days after winning two in a row at the Spa; very dangerous. Ryan's Cat has finished second in three of last four starts; another minor award?

SECOND: Ghost Giant tallied deceptively fast final fraction when fourth last out; 3-furlong bullet last week seals the deal. Abiding Star is speedy and a four-time winner on Belmont grass; worth long look. Outrageous Bet makes peak start of form cycle and will offer juicy price; don't ignore.

THIRD: Empty Tomb logged swift final fraction when a winner in first start on Belmont loam; more to come. Performer had won four straight before going to the bench last November; dangerous if ready. Musical Heart gets confident price boost (freshened during requisite "jail" time) in first start since claimed in August; very interesting.

FOURTH: Unicorn Sally consistently logs the field's fastest late-pace figures; rates close call based on price potential. Belleza owns sprinter's speed and can prove very tough on an unchallenged lead. She So Naughty was pace- and position-compromised when third in last; right in the thick of this.

FIFTH: Vineyard Sound bested two next-out winners when a front-running victor last out; pairs up. Durkin's Call makes peak start of form cycle and could be in the garden spot if pace meltdown ensues; price will be tempting. Shamrocked consistently fires big efforts; must consider.

SIXTH: Charleston Strong owns grass bloodlines on both sides of pedigree and should offer beefy odds in wide-open turf dash. Voter Protection was a late-running fourth in key-race debut; dangerous. Texas Basin was a tough-trip sixth in first start; improvement expected.

SEVENTH: Neuro is riding a forward line on the numbers; breakthrough predicted. Not Phar Now is fleet-footed and moves to grass for Linda Rice; worth long look. Scuttlebuzz owns fast numbers but has failed at short prices in four of five starts; you've been warned.

EIGHTH: Cold Hard Cash notched career-best late-pace figure when winning by nearly four lengths last out; more to come. Beach Access could be ripe for big-time improvement in third start since six-month layoff; very interesting. Six Percent has finished third in last three starts; show dough again?

NINTH: Xanthique should pack amplified late wallop with cutback to 6 furlongs; three-time winner on Belmont sod. Rose Flower logged only stateside win on Belmont grass last fall; worth long look at long price. Mitchell Road was an ultragame second in Kentucky Downs stake last out; bounces on Saturday? Getmotherarose fired half-mile bullet since subpar effort last time; right in the thick of this on "A" game.

10TH: Letmetakethiscall is quick from the gate and could secure unchallenged lead with heads-up handling. Good Credence owns an advantageous stalker's style; big-time threat. Fight On Lucy was a hard-charging winner at 26-1 last out; big-priced danger once again. Love and Love is competitive on best efforts; don't dismiss.

New York Sports