Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon

Steve Matthews’ Belmont selectons for Friday, June 30

Best Bet: ABIDING STAR (8); Best Value: BARONET (6)

FIRST: Hartack Jr is training with a purpose for first start since March of ’16; price play in weak opener. Straightaway May logged fast figures in both dirt starts; very dangerous. Thirsty Actor was second to a runaway winner in last; right in the thick of this.

SECOND: Stormy Alexis is fresh, working consistently and owns fast late-pace figures on “A” game. Empty House overcame slow fractions when a hard-charging winner in last; big-time player. Eighth Commandment regressed in last start after clear-cut win in previous race; rebound threat.

THIRD: Vasilika raced too close to the pace in last start but logs solid final fractions when allowed to settle early; crisp half-mile work last week seals the deal. Woundwithhereyes never fired last out but tallied game placing in previous start; bounce-back potential. Wonderful Savvy was an ultra-game second in lone grass start; very dangerous.

FOURTH: Fielding Gold is riding a forward line on the numbers and gets class drop; set for best. Going Strong tallied very fast figures in last two starts; worth long look. Sir Maurice should improve with return to dirt; price will be tempting.

FIFTH: Aoife was a tough-trip fourth in most recent start and should be favorably positioned near the front in field that’s light on speed. Dovecote tallied swift late-pace figure when besting top selection by more than a half-length when a game second in debut on May 4; logical, short-priced threat. Angels Seven could impact at fat ticket with return to grass; don’t ignore.

SIXTH: Baronet took backward step in last after better-than-it-looks fourth in previous race; sitting on breakthrough effort. Belle of the Spa was victimized by sizzling splits last time; serious, front-end threat with softer flow. Votre Coeur logged four tight works since solid third on dirt last month; very interesting.

SEVENTH: Divine Miss Grey has won three of last four and owns field’s fastest late-pace figures; rates close call. Stormy’s Song visually and numerically impressed when winning debut by seven lengths; easily could take another. Time Squared owns competitive back numbers; don’t dismiss.

EIGHTH: Abiding Star was speed-conditioned on dirt at Parx last time and was a wire-to-wire winner on Belmont turf after similar prep last fall; history repeats. Converge was a determined winner when 95 cents on the dollar last out; big chance but short price once again. Hello Don Julio logs strong efforts with machine-like consistency; must respect. Eirigh gets class relief and returns to grass; must be factored into the mix.

NINTH: Rain in Spain was a late-running third in last and should have more to give in second start since seventh-month absence. Sunday Gravy fired 5-furlong bullet since much-improved fourth in last start; very playable. Final Flurry has notched solid numbers in all three grass starts; logical, short-priced player. Lion in Wait has finished second in last two starts; be no surprise.

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