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Steve Matthews’ Belmont selections for Saturday, May 27

Best Bet: SARATOGA MISCHIEF (1); Best Value: SMALL BEAR (8)

FIRST: Saratoga Mischief gets price hike after hard-charging win in last; pairs up. Lone Trader should pack amplified kick with cutback to 6 furlongs; very playable. Dark Roast’s speed gives him a puncher’s chance at a big ticket.

SECOND: Refinance compiled five tight works for first start in more than a year for potent layoff barn (Christophe Clement); primed and ready. Northern drops and looms a front-end threat on best effort. Tanzanite is fresh and owns fast figures; right in the thick of this.

THIRD: Ready Dancer gets class relief after wide trip in last; call based on price potential. Readthebyline gets rider upgrade and is a front-running threat on “A” game. Our Caravan packs solid late kick on best efforts. Street Heat was a fast-figured winner in lone start at Belmont on May 11; must be factored into the mix in contentious group.

FOURTH: Stormin Monarcho has trained sharply since failing as the favorite on April 1; set for best. Hard Study tallied swift numbers in last two starts; very dangerous. Shuffle Up is riding a two-race winning streak and hails from white-hot Jason Servis stable; must consider.

FIFTH: Shiraz owns fast late-pace figures and lands in field with ample speed to set the table. One Eyed Ray logged only career win on Belmont grass; worth long look. Bookman is fleet-footed, razor-sharp and will offer generous price; don’t dismiss.

SIXTH: Double Mane regressed in last after front-running score in previous start; rebounds. Mary Pray for Us tallied solid final fraction when a clear-cut second in last; dangerous. Party Mint Star exits dominant maiden win in last; right in the thick of this.

SEVENTH: Battle Joined notched swift pace and final figures when a strong second in last; more to come. Tapany logged solid efforts in both starts on Belmont turf last summer; big-time threat. Game Factor owns swift numbers but has failed as the favorite in last two starts; mixed message.

EIGHTH: Small Bear, from a dam that’s thrown three grass winners, earnrf career-best number in last; more to give. Kitten’s Cat was in too deep last time and should pack intensified wallop with cutback to 7 furlongs. Big Handsome is 2-for-2 on turf; logical, short-priced player.

NINTH: Riot Worthy took backward step in last after fast-figured placing in previous start; cutback to sprint is the key. Sheplaysthefield has worked four times since clear-cut win on April 15 at Keeneland; very playable. Bow Town Cat is speedy and can prove very tough on a soft lead.

TENTH: Ides of Arch logged swift late-pace figure when sixth in first grass start; added furlong should play to strength. Pirate’s Treasure is from a dam that has produced a grass winner and is working sharply for switch to sod; very interesting. Elenzee had no visible excuse when fifth at 85 cents on the dollar last out; short price once again. Dab bested top selection by a length when fourth in same last race as top selection; must be factored into the mix if able to escape AE list.

New York Sports