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Steve Matthews’ Belmont selections for Friday, June 16


Best Bet: PORTANDO (7); Best Value: ELOWEASEL (4)

FIRST: Mama Joyce is fresh and owns fast late-pace and final figures on best efforts. Wildcat Belle is speedy and could prove very tough on a soft lead. Call Her Karma is training with a purpose for first start in 48 days; don’t dismiss.

SECOND: Grassarla makes peak start of form cycle and projects as the controlling speed with aggressive ride. First Appeal moves to grass for Linda Rice after clear-cut placing in last; very dangerous. Galway Gal was returning from a sixth-month layoff last time out; improvement expected.

THIRD: Posse’s Paradise gets favorable cutback to sprint and fired 3-furlong bullet last week; call based on price potential. This Bird Can Sing has finished second in last four starts; keeps trend going? Tapceptional gets confident price boost after game placing in debut; right in the thick of this.

FOURTH: Eloweasel owns swift numbers and is training sharply for first start since December; primed and ready. Andesine tallied rapid final fraction when winning on March 10 and fired half-mile bullet last week; very dangerous with switch to sod. Weather Girl should pack intensified late wallop with cutback to 7 furlongs; must respect. Lakeside Sunset was a fast-figured winner on dirt last out; don’t ignore.

FIFTH: Spirit Lets Hearit is fleet-footed, drops and projects as the controlling front-runner in field that’s light on speed. Fly Ash could be in the garden spot if top selection hits the wall in the stretch; worth long look. Splash of Sass, another that would benefit from pace meltdown, is riding a forward line on the numbers.

SIXTH: Cuccidati showed speed in debut and worked three times in the interim for move to turf for Christophe Clement; all systems go. Amazing Belle, from a dam that’s thrown two grass winners, makes surface switch for Mark Casse; big-time player. Oldfashioned Style compiled sneaky-good work tab for debut; follow the money.

SEVENTH: Portando logged determined victory the first time he touched Belmont grass; pairs up. Taste for Talent was a pace-setting third in first start since two-month absence last out; tighter today. Carbon Data tallied hard-fought maiden score in first start on Big B grass; must consider. Shamcat has delivered strong efforts in all three grass starts; logical, short-priced threat.

EIGHTH: Achnaha owns fast figures on “A” game and gets class relief after steady diet of graded stakes; good spot. Taralena tallied tenacious, front-running win at the 10-furlong distance last time; very playable. Chicadoro was pace and position compromised in last start; right in the thick of this.

NINTH: Alyssa and a Lisa delivered strong efforts in both starts on Belmont grass last summer; tight work tab for return seals the deal. Ragazza Di Papa makes first start with maiden-claiming tag for white-hot Jeremiah Englehart stable; very playable. Zenna is speedy and could play out as the controlling front-runner with unchallenged lead. Hope’s Roar adds blinkers after failing as the favorite in last; must be considered.

New York Sports