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SportsHorseracing

Steve Matthews' Belmont selections for Friday, Oct. 23

Best bet: MOON SWEEPER (3)

Best value: CHARLESTON STRONG (10)

FIRST: Millefeuille logged two sharp works since clear-cut second in debut; gets job done on Friday. Mo Dean fits the classic Chad Brown pattern; be no surprise. Plum Awesome is training swiftly for first start; stay tuned to the tote.

SECOND: Mirabell Mei makes first start with claiming tag and has benefit of rail on tight-turned turf course. Flashing Red moves to grass with suitable pedigree in first start for new barn; dangerous. Leeway is 2-for-2 on Belmont turf; likely underlay.

THIRD: Moon Sweeper was a pace-pressing third in debut; added ground plays to strength. Kept Waiting has run second three times in a row; runner-up again? Lookin to Fly was second in first start since 10-month layoff last time; worth long look.

FOURTH: Steam Engine is speedy and training swiftly; class drop off layoff is cause for concern, however. Twelfth Labour could be ideally positioned if top selection hits the wall in the stretch. Mine the Coin gets price boost after determined win in last; very interesting.

FIFTH: Till Then gets the meds and moves to grass; wire to wire with aggressive handling. Lokoya Road was pace- and trip-compromised last out; big-time player. Holy Emperor should pack enhanced kick with cutback to shorter route; don't overlook.

SIXTH: Knockout Punch gets rider upgrade after logging deceptively fast late-pace figure in last; delivers KO blow at a price. Chocolate Bar gets class relief after regressing in last start; bounce-back potential. More Like It wheels back in a hurry after hard-charging placing just 12 days ago; right in the thick of this.

SEVENTH: Charlie McCoy compiled tight work tab for first start since December; primed and ready. Runaway Lute, a four-time winner at Belmont, exits tenacious score at Delaware Park last out; very playable. Bears Mafia is riding a six-race winning streak; obviously could take another.

EIGHTH: Micromillion has fired two 5-furlong bullet drills since fast-closing win last time; pairs up. Cold Hearted Cat was a tough-trip third in last at Monmouth; worth long look. Mopolka owns speed and starts from the fence; must be factored into the mix.

NINTH: Americanus is training with a purpose for first start since April; debut winner suggests colt can fire off the bench. Three Technique returns to dirt and looms the prime beneficiary if top selection fires a dud; half-mile bullet last week adds to appeal. Dark Storm is working swiftly for first outing since December; don't dismiss.

10TH: Charleston Strong, from a dam that has produced a turf winner, projects as the main speed with heads-up handling in first grass start. Scarlett Sky has finished second in both starts; another minor award? Secret Potion returns to maiden ranks after racing Grade I stakes at Woodbine last time; must consider. Hachure is from a prolific dam that has thrown eight grass winners; could be a runner.

New York Sports