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Steve Matthews’ Belmont selections for May 22

BEST BET: Cuckoo’s Saloon (9)

BEST VALUE: Chessen (5)

FIRST: Bug Juice was a determined winner in last and and could pair up wins at solid ticket. Jeter was fourth behind top selection last time but owns fast figs on ‘A’ game. Bustin the Bank is a front-end threat on best efforts.

SECOND: Orleans Avenue set fast fractions in debut and should be aided by cutback to 7 furlongs. Consumerconfidence could be in the garden spot if top selection hits the wall in the lane. Mr. Neetie tallied solid numbers in both starts; right in the thick of this.

THIRD: El Genio was a change-of-pace second in last; weakness of field is selection’s strength. Afleet’s Edge is rested and could get early jump with aggressive ride. Blarney Stones logged strong efforts in last three starts.

FOURTH: Sneaky Fair adds blinkers after being pace compromised in last; forward move predicted. Legend of Lorelei moves to grass after winning two straight on dirt; very playable. Degrees of Freedom owns speed and fast figures; big-time threat.

FIFTH: Chessen fired eye-catching, half-mile bullet May 13 and projects as the speed of the speed with proper ride. Aussie Prayer should pack enhanced late wallop with cutback to 6 furlongs. Nile Princess logged only win on Belmont sod; very interesting. Doxology hails from strong first-time turf barn; don’t ignore.

SIXTH: Freud’s Affair was a clear-cut maiden winner at Finger Lakes last out and is bred to switch form to turf. I Win is speedy, needed last and will be aided by turnback to sprint; very dangerous. Chasintheblues also is fleet-footed and owns swift final numbers. Wicked Freud should move forward in second start since five-month layoff.

SEVENTH: Ten Hut has trained sharply since game placing on Feb. 26; call based on price potential. Henrik Rules logged career-best number on Belmont dirt last fall. Art Boss displayed speed in debut and should be tighter with race under belt.

EIGHTH: I’ll Take Charge compiled three strong works for turf debut. Sky Painter has been sidelined for 455 days but packs potent late kick on best; dangerous. Stella Street makes first start in 10 months for Chad Brown; right in the thick of this.

NINTH: Cuckoo’s Saloon was an ultra-game second in first grass start and should have more to give in second start since two-month absence. Holy Week makes peak start of form cycle and owns field’s fastest late pace figures; very dangerous. Light the Vow gets Lasix and moves to grass after firing 5-furlong bullet May 7; worth long look at long price. Cloontia failed as the favorite in last two starts; strike three?

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