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SportsHorseracing

Steve Matthews' Belmont selections for Thursday, April 22

Best bet: PRINCIPINO (1)

Best value: ZEALOUS (4)

FIRST: Principino spun his wheels in the Big A slop last time; return to dry land is the key. Full Court Press compiled five tight works for first start with maiden-claiming tag; very playable. Triple Americano logged fast figures in both starts; could easily take opener.

SECOND: So High was an even fourth in first start since four-month absence last out; forward move predicted. Aasr was pace-compromised last time; bred to handle turf. Principled Stand is the obligatory Chad Brown underlay; take a stand against.

THIRD: Zerenia should pack intensified late wallop with cutback to 6 furlongs; rates close call. Streetcar Jones could get the early jump in large field with no clearly defined speed; very playable. Determined Heart made determined late runs in both outings; dangerous.

FOURTH: Zealous could be ideally positioned behind swift fractions; call based on price. Always Sunshine is speedy and firing bullets for return from 66-day freshener; big-time player. Square Shooter delivers sharp efforts with machinelike consistency; be no surprise. Fed Funds owns fast late-pace figures on "A" efforts; must consider.

FIFTH: Maxwell Esquire is a three-time winner on Belmont turf; tight work tab seals the deal. Aristocratic is speedy and could prove very tough on a soft lead. Fast Getaway also is quick from the gate and can win from the stalker's seat; right in the thick of this.

SIXTH: Lisheen owns a running style and pedigree that should be well served by Thursday's 1 1/4-mile trip. Ceant owns positional speed and hails from the Brad Cox barn; dangerous. Coalition Building, a beaten favorite in last, has all the earmarks of another underlay from Chad Brown.

SEVENTH: Ruvies in Time is fleet-footed and riding a two-race winning streak; keeps on giving. Aunt Kat tallied rapid final fraction when breaking maiden by nearly 10 lengths last time; big-time player. She's a Black Belt owns two wins, two seconds and three thirds from last seven starts; must be factored into the mix.

EIGHTH: Mondeuse gets the meds for first start since November; throw deep in wide-open nightcap. Sport Model makes first grass start for Christophe Clement; improvement predicted. Nebo is from a dam that has produced a grass winner; worth long look. Mazal Eighteen logged fast numbers in two turf starts; must consider if able to escape AE list.

New York Sports