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Steve Matthews’ Belmont selections for Thursday, July 12

Best bet: VIP NATION (2)

Best value: NOT SO QUIET MAN (6)

FIRST: Lake Party wheels back in a hurry after late-running third last week; call in soft opener. Tale of Mist is fresh and notched only win on Belmont loam; very interesting. Binkster is speedy and could prove very tough on an unchallenged lead.

SECOND: Vip Nation was pace- and trip-compromised when a solid second in last; more to come. Cause Me Grief is fleet-footed and drops; dangerous. Gia Michael was second to a runaway winner in last; must consider.

THIRD: Starlite Mission has worked sharply since making middle move and flattening on grass last time; switch to dirt is the key. The Great Johanna has finished second in last three starts; continues trend? In Denile gets Lasix after even fourth in debut; improvement expected.

FOURTH: Lost in Manhattan compiled solid work slate for debut; best guess. Greg King of Kool noticeably upped the tempo in final drill; very interesting. Stop Me If You Can is the only member of the 10-horse field to have started; experience edge could be the key.

FIFTH: Sparky took backward step in last start after fast-figured win in prior; rebounds. Fast Getaway benefited from hot pace when winning last but is 1-for-1 on Belmont grass and must be respected. Looking Ready is quick from the gate and favorably posted outside other front-runners; very interesting.

SIXTH: Not So Quiet Man gets confident price boost after besting 13 rivals when winning last on Monmouth grass; ready for prime time. With Exultation gets class relief and owns fast back figures; dangerous on “A” effort. Mobridge was a clear-cut winner at this level in last; right in the thick of this.

SEVENTH: Sparticle tallied rapid internal and final figures when a clear-cut second in last at Delaware; nice fit with the locals at this level. Change of Venue was pace- and trip-compromised when a strong third in last; dangerous. Class Won makes first start since claimed by Robertino Diodoro; very interesting.

EIGHTH: Silver Shaker tallied rapid late-pace figure when a game second in last; lone win was at Thursday’s 10-furlong trip. Bengala has finished second as the favorite in both U.S. starts; short-priced runner-up again? Purely Lucky logged crisp half-mile work since tenacious victory in last; don’t dismiss.

NINTH: Proximate to Power debuts in less than stellar field and hails from potent first-out stable (Christophe Clement); call in weak nightcap. Alex Kazdan entry: Tom’s Music is speedy and improving and mate Huracan runs late; complementary coupling. Flyoff is training with a purpose for first start in more than a year; more than good enough on best. Freeload was a sold third in last; must consider.

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