Best Bet: PIRA (9)
Best Value: FORMA’S JOY (4)
FIRST: Miroc compiled three tight works for first start since January; drop to lifetime low seals the deal. Blarney Stones has logged solid numbers in last three starts; dangerous. El Genio’s speed gives him a puncher’s chance.
SECOND: More Than Rainbows is speedy and could get the early jump with aggressive ride. Wild Bella cuts back to sprint and should pack intensified late kick. Wraith could be ideally positioned in the stalker’s seat.
THIRD: Union River holds sharp current condition and owns a second and a third in two starts at Belmont Park. Eye Love Michael was a determined maiden winner in first start since more than yearlong absence last time; bounces today? Core Portfolio owns speed, fast figs and is firing bullets; dangerous.
FOURTH: Forma’s Joy notched career-best number on Belmont sod last summer and now makes first start for Steve Jerkens; call based on price potential. Ragazza Di Papa logged solid final fractions in both starts and is training with a purpose for first start since November; very dangerous. Same Kinda Crazy owns sprinter’s speed and could prove very tough on a soft lead in first grass start; very interesting. Congarette also is fleet-footed and must be considered.
FIFTH: Esther the Queen made solid late rallies in both starts on Belmont turf and could receive ideal, front-end setup in bulky field. Surprise Cameo is 1-for-1 on grass and also would be aided by swift fractions. Laura’s Patriot tallied only win on Belmont grass; worth long look. Whimsey’s Girl owns a wins and five seconds in last six starts; logical.
SIXTH: North Slope gets class relief and consistently logs fast figures; rates close call. Flash Paws earned improved final fraction when a clear-cut second in last; price will be tempting. Winter Games owns speed, swift numbers and makes first start since claimed by John Toscano, Jr.; big-time player.
SEVENTH: Rumble Doll owns two wins, two seconds and a third in five starts on Belmont grass; tight recent work tab seals the deal. Sun and Moon returns to turf after fast-figured second in last; very playable. My Cara Mia was an even third in first start since five-month layoff last time; don’t dismiss. Neck of the Moon could be the prime beneficiary if pace gets hot and hectic. Rose Et Or and Stormy Victoria both get the meds for their stateside debuts for Christophe Clement; don’t you love uncoupled entries?
EIGHTH: Bond Vigilante fell victim to sizzling splits in last and now gets favorable cutback to 6 furlongs and starts from outside slot; aggressive ride is key. Ostrolenka owns four wins from five starts on Belmont loam; very dangerous. Drama King looms the prime beneficiary if pace meltdown ensues.
NINTH: Pira notched solid late pace figure in debut on Belmont turf last fall and fired half-mile bullet for return. Dream On is fleet-footed and could play out as the controlling speed in first grass start; dangerous. Lady’s First also is quick from the gate and hails from potent layoff barn (Tony Dutrow); right in the thick of this. Wake Up Smiling has finished second in both starts; logical player.