Few Clouds 40° Good Afternoon
Few Clouds 40° Good Afternoon

Steve Matthews’ Belmont selections for Friday, Oct. 7

Best Bet: THE IMPOSTER (7); Best Value: FIRE KEY (5)

FIRST: Ragazza Piu’ Bella displayed improved speed in last and owns swift back figures; call in weak opener. Mary Pray for Us was a solid second in last and makes peak start of form cycle. Stella Who fired half-mile bullet for first start in four months; front-end threat on best.

SECOND: Shiraz gets Lasix after late-running second in last; more to give. Harlan’s Hunch is speedy and will prove very tough on a soft lead. Kiss the Toad should pack amplified kick with cutback to 6 furlongs; don’t ignore.

THIRD: I’mbetterthangood regressed in last after earning swift internal figures in previous start; rebounds today. Instant Replay also took backward step in last after fast-figured placing two starts back; dangerous. Match Up was a very strong second in last; logical. Are We Not Men is another that exits strong placing in last; contentious group.

FOURTH: Felini is fresh and owns fast final figures; best of those that have started. Set to Dance debuts for Christophe Clement; follow the money. Realistic is training consistently for first start since April; must be considered.

FIFTH: Fire Key was a front-running winner the first time she touched the Belmont turf; pairs up. Esther the Queen was a willing second in last and should be aided by additional furlong; dangerous. Another Genius lived up to heavy tote support when winning debut; must respect. Ginned Up notched only victory this distance and course at Spring-Summer meeting; right in the thick of this.

SIXTH: Playthatfunnymusic failed to fire on sloppy surface last week; return to dry land is key. Investigator makes first start with maiden-claiming tag and owns fast back figures; very dangerous. Buckwellspent owns a third and two seconds in last three starts; logical contender.

SEVENTH: The Imposter gets confident price hike after fast-figured victory last time; more to come. Romans Paradise packs a potent late punch on best efforts; price will be tempting. Protection was compromised by a slow start in last; competitive on best efforts.

EIGHTH: Adulator is lightly raced and riding a forward line on the numbers; career-best predicted. Wake Up in Malibu drops and owns speed and fast figures; very dangerous. Keen Ice is firing bullets for first start in 195 days; more than good enough on “A” game.

NINTH: Cornedbeefncabbage moves to grass with suitable pedigree; throw deep in wide-open nightcap. Simon Kenton is rested, training sharply and owns fast figures; could easily take this. Tracking Stock owns three seconds and two thirds in seven starts; logical, short-priced player. Immunity should pack enhanced wallop with cutback to 7 furlongs; must be considered.

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