TODAY'S PAPER
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SportsHorseracing

Steve Matthews' Belmont selections for Thursday, Oct. 22

Best bet: ME AND MR. C (4)

Best value: AMERICAN LINCOLN (7)

FIRST: Ghost Giant was pace-compromised when a deceptively strong fourth in last; 3-furlong bullet on Oct. 11 seals the deal. Dr. Shane drops and owns two wins on Belmont sod; very dangerous. Nutzforboltz also gets class relief and is more than good enough on "A" effort.

SECOND: Bernin' Thru Gold is speedy and training sharply; primed and ready in first start since July. Saratoga Pal regressed in last after top-figured win in prior; bounce-back potential. Freedom Force was a front-end maiden winner in first start on Belmont loam; must consider.

THIRD: Dancingwthdaffodls should pack enhanced wallop with cutback to 7 furlongs. Merlins Muse makes third start of form cycle; worth long look. Fierce Lady is fleet-footed and could go wire to wire in first grass start; don't overlook.

FOURTH: Me and Mr. C gets confident price boost after logging fast late-pace figure when winning by more than four lengths last time; pairs up. Oceans Map is quick from the gate and could prove a very tough customer on an unchallenged lead. Dynadrive was overmatched last time but tallied four wins, three seconds and a third from prior 10 starts; dangerous.

FIFTH: Kickin' Kirby gets favorable cutback to sprint after taking backward step in last start; rebounds on Thursday. Tri Saint Lorenzo tries hard and is riding a forward line on the numbers; very playable. Mucho Sunshine is improving and will offer juicy price; very interesting.

SIXTH: All American Dream was given a "tour" of the racetrack in sprint debut; race under belt and added ground are the keys. Sengekontacket owns speed and starts from the rail; big-time, front-end threat. Lady Rosalie bested a next-out winner when a hard-charging second in last at Laurel; right in the thick of this.

SEVENTH: American Lincoln was done in by sizzling splits when facing pricier field last time; two works in the interim seal the deal. Lucky Ramsey packs potent late kick and looms the prime beneficiary if top selection hits the wall in the stretch. Attentive, a rare shipper to NYRA circuit by Karl Broberg, is another that would be aided by pace meltdown.

EIGHTH: Ballagh Rocks is fresh, training with a purpose and loves Belmont sod; representative effort takes this. King's Honor owns positional speed and is riding a two-race winning streak; big-time player. Sentry hails from the white-hot Shug McGaughey barn; don't ignore.

NINTH: Key to Victory gets rider upgrade, makes first start with maiden-claiming tag and made forward move on the numbers in last; set for breakthrough. Michael's Bad Boy is fresh and owns fast back numbers; very dangerous. True Palace was second to a runaway winner when 50-1 last out; worth long look. Justintimeforwine's speed gives him a puncher's chance.

New York Sports