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36° Good Morning

Steve Matthews’ Belmont selections for Friday, Sept. 9

Best Bet: JUBA (3)

Best Value: COASTAL SEA (8)

FIRST: Chomsky was second to a repeat winner in last; call in weak opener. Tree Top Lover was just neck behind top selection in last; dangerous. Play Big needed last and drops; must consider.

SECOND: Midnight Notes could play out as the controlling speed in wide-open field. East Bay Lodge packs potent late kick on best efforts. Winter Springs bested a pricier field at Saratoga last time; logical, short-priced player.

THIRD: Juba was done in by hot pace in last; controlling speed today. Protonico is 1-for-1 at Belmont and firing bullets for first start in 10 months. Viva Majorca could impact if fractions get fast and furious.

FOURTH: Dab displayed good speed in debut; dominant front-runner with aggressive ride. Mission Command was second to a repeat winner in debut; dangerous. Save the Tigers debuts for Linda Rice; follow the money.

FIFTH: Lord of Love logged fast final fractions when second in last three starts; breaks through today. Decent was an ultra-game second in last; very dangerous. End Play bested Decent by a half-length when a winner in last; right in the thick of this.

SIXTH: Nick Can Fix tallied swift final fraction when a much-improved third in last; more to come. Dark as Midnight should move forward with return to dirt; price will be tempting. Basic Hero is speedy and will prove very tough on an unchallenged lead.

SEVENTH: Euros to Dollars was a game, front-running winner in last and should get the early lead again. Grand Sky was a hard-charging winner in last; very playable. Saratoga Heater is riding a two-race winning streak; must be factored into the mix. True Bet holds razor-sharp current condition; worth long look.

EIGHTH: Coastal Sea steps up to prime time after winning two in a row in Maryland; handles the jump. Miss Katie Mae has logged rapid late-pace figures in all three turf starts; very interesting. Tizanillusion was a wire-to-wire winner in last and could prove very tough again if able to secure the top. Ava’s Kitten won last on Spa sod and owns two victories in three starts on Belmont grass; right in the thick of this.

NINTH: Heavenly Sun is speedy, drops and gets favorable cutback to 7 furlongs. Schout Bay gets the meds after tough-trip sixth in debut; improvement expected. Kopper Wired makes peak start of form cycle and should be aided by shorter trip. Playthatfunnymusic adds blinkers for new barn after failing as the favorite in last; must consider.

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