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SportsHorseracing

Steve Matthews' Belmont selections for Friday, Sept 18

Best Bet: PRAIRIE FIRE (8); Best Value: FETCHING (9)

FIRST: Treasure Lane, from a prolific dam, compiled tight work tab for debut; luring Johnny Velazquez from Todd Pletcher runner seals the deal. Exact concluded work tab with best-of-76 half-mile drill; tote should tell the tale. Jade Empress, the only member of six-horse field to have started, was game second in debut; obvious threat.

SECOND: Pepper Pike makes third start of form cycle; breakthrough predicted. Make a Stand bested cheaper at Monmouth last time; razor-sharp and very playable. Gravitas, another that won last at Monmouth, owns speed and could pair up victories if allowed a soft lead.

THIRD: Appletini drops, returns to dirt and projects as the main speed with heads-up handling. Hetty G is fresh and could be in the garden spot if top selection wilts in the lane. Cape Cod Diva also would be aided if pace meltdown ensues; must consider.

FOURTH: You're to Blame has trained with a purpose since game placing in last; rates close call. Rocketry, just a nose behind top pick last time, owns field's fastest figures on "A" efforts. Petit Fils could play out as the main speed in first dirt start; price will be tempting.

FIFTH: Lottie's Mission was compromised by wide trip in most recent; rates call based on price potential. Bankers Beast makes first start with maiden-claiming tag and fired half-mile bullet after displaying improved speed in last; likely underlay is the problem. Mebs Web was a clear-cut second in last; don't ignore.

SIXTH: Scarlett Sky was a willing second in debut; call in eight-horse field with six newcomers. McLovin compiled sharp work slate at Fair Hill for Graham Motion; could be the goods. Lowcountry, another that's training swiftly at Fair Hill ( Mike Stidham), is from a dam that has produced a turf winner; must be factored into the mix.

SEVENTH: Our Troubadour, unprepared at break and declared a non-starter last time, logged only win on Belmont sod. Daring Disguise has trained sharply since determined maiden score in last; very dangerous. Big Wonder owns speed and could prove very tough on an unchallenged lead.

EIGHTH: Prairie Fire packs a potent late wallop that should be well served in field with ample speed. Baby Boss is fleet-footed and fresh and could prove a tough customer if able to shake loose from other front-runners Letmetakethiscall also owns speed and is a last-race winner; let price be your guide.

NINTH: Fetching, a hard-charging second on Spa sod last out, logged two of three career wins on Belmont grass; odds should be generous. Kellycanrun notched only win on Belmont turf and makes peak start of form cycle; very interesting. Lashara was a strong second in last; logical, short-priced player.

TENTH: Noble Mischief drops into maiden claimer and gets rider upgrade after flashing newfound speed in last; set for breakthrough in weak nightcap. Nero's Fiddle exits ultra-game placing in last; big-time threat. Unlikely was a tough-trip fourth in last at Penn National; don't ignore. Justintimeforwine is fleet-footed and makes first start with claimers; very interesting.

New York Sports