Overcast 52° Good Afternoon
Overcast 52° Good Afternoon

Steve Matthews’ Belmont selections for Sunday, May 14

Best Bet: CHAMPAGNE RUBY (6); Best Value: RAIN IN SPAIN (2)

FIRST: Hard Hitter makes peak start of form cycle after finishing second to a runaway winner in last; more to give. Tipit could impact at fat ticket if pace meltdown ensues. Spotty Zealous is speedy and could prove very tough on an unchallenged lead.

SECOND: Rain in Spain is training with a purpose for first start since November; primed and ready. Final Flurry drops and owns fast figures; half-mile bullet on April 30 adds to appeal. Sunday Gravy exits sprints and should be advantageously positioned near the front.

THIRD: Lion Sleeps fired crisp half-mile work for first start in six months for potent layoff stable (Chris Englehart). Undercover Agent drops and returns to dirt; very dangerous. Rossie Val would be aided by hot fractions; price should be generous.

FOURTH: Union Riches was a determined winner on Tampa turf last time and has ample room for continued improvement. Francesco Flier ships north after logging swift numbers on Gulfstream grass this winter; big-time danger. Mollica was an even third in last and owns faster back numbers; dangerous.

FIFTH: Bareeqa tallied rapid final fraction when a clear-cut winner on Big A turf last out; pairs up. About That Base logged five tight works for first start since December; worth long look. Pinchbeck has trained sharply since breaking maiden last out; developing and dangerous.

SIXTH: Champagne Ruby gets confident class hike after convincing victory in last; more in the tank. Abounding Spirit earned fast figure when winning last; very dangerous. Moondance Joy is fresh and owns competitive numbers on best efforts.

SEVENTH: Malibu Princess was a front-end winner in last and projects as the main speed once again if race is switched to dirt. Dream Prospect is firing bullets for first start since November; top pick on turf. Insta Erma notched two of three career wins on Belmont turf; right in the thick of this.

EIGHTH: Jemmabelle owns three wins and a second in four starts on “off” tracks; gets call if race is moved to wet dirt. Loyal Heart made premature move to the lead at quarter pole when third in last; better timed ride is key. Bright Side Up is rested and owns speed and fast figures; very playable. O.K. Kay notched swift final fractions in last two starts on Gulfstream turf; dangerous. Indygita wheels back in a hurry after even fifth last week; very interesting. Nouvelle Vague logged fast late-pace figure when second at 65 cents on the dollar last time; logical, short-priced player once again.

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