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SportsHorseracing

Steve Matthews’ Belmont selections for Friday, May 4

Best bet: BENEFACTOR (7)

Best value: HOLDING ACES (9)

FIRST: Wrath logged three sharp half-mile drills at Keene land for debut; primed and ready. Pletcher entry: Social Fan was a sharp second in first start and mate Flat Rate makes debut; potent pairing. Herbies Toy is from a dam that has produced six winners from six foals to race; very interesting.

SECOND: Simona packs strong late kick and will be aided by return to turf; rates close call. La Piu Bella was a 10-length maiden winner on Gulfstream Park grass last out; very playable. Giant Boxer took backward step in last start after fast-figured win in debut; move to grass could provide wake-up.

THIRD: Hyndford was overmatched in Louisiana Derby last time but prior three efforts are more than good enough; rebounds. Sweeping Vista has trained sharply since open-lengths win in debut; price will be tempting. Infield Is In returns to dirt and owns competitive numbers; don’t ignore.

FOURTH: Hardly Mate tallied solid final fraction when a clear-cut winner in last; pairs up victories. Hoponthebusgus notched both wins on Belmont turf and is training sharply for return from 126-day layoff; dangerous. Miko is another that’s working with a purpose for first start since last fall; must be considered.

FIFTH: Sower visually and numerically impressed when winning debut by more than seven lengths; more to come. Everybody Loves Me was a determined maiden winner in last and fired crisp half-mile work in the interim; big-time player. Andesine is fresh and has hit the board in seven consecutive starts; must be factored into the mix.

SIXTH: Presumptuous was a willing second in last and owns faster back numbers; more to give. Sansibar Jewel owns speed and makes first dirt start for Christophe Clement; very interesting. Fiduciary Values debuts for Chad Brown; need more?

SEVENTH: Benefactor tallied improved internal and final figures in dirt sprint last time and projects as the speed of the speed with return to grass. Harlan’s Hunch is fleet-footed and consistently delivers strong efforts; very dangerous. Gorse ships in for high-percentage, Kentucky-based barn (Richard Sillaman); price will be tempting.

EIGHTH: Turco Bravo is the only member of this field with a win at today’s marathon distance; potential fat price seals the deal. Hard Study owns fast figures and owns two wins and a second in three starts at Belmont Park; underlay material. Watershed logged three tight works since last start; improvement expected.

NINTH: Holding Aces was a tough-trip third in last and consistently logs fast late-pace figures; call in wide-open nightcap. Italian Syndicate compiled sharp work slate for first start since December; big-time, front-end threat. Heaven’s Runway drops and makes third start of form cycle; very dangerous. Curtis is speedy and owns two wins at Belmont Park; right in the thick of this.

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