Saturday I will be heading off to Belmont Park for Super Saturday where there will be five G1 stakes and the G2 Kelso. I have not been to Belmont Park in many years, so many that I really can't remember how long it has been. The races will be seen live on ESPN Classic or you can watch on drf.com.
Here are my picks and preview of this Super Saturday.
Race 5 is the G1 Flower Bowl Invitational. There were 14 nominations and 8 fillies and mares are running. #8 Stacelita will be the favorite and my top pick. She is just better than the rest of these. Her races have been better and her BSF's have been better. #1 Deluxe ran some very good races in France and has made one start for Bill Mott and it was a nice effort in a restricted stake at Saratoga. Mott could have this one improving. #3 Emerald Beach has won 4 in a row including the G3 Glens Falls. She loves the soft going and Jonathan Sheppard seems to have figured out this 5 year-old mare.
Race 6 is the G1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational where 14 were nominated and 6 three year-olds and older are contesting the $500,000 race. This is kind of a repeat of the Flower Bowl. #1 Cape Blanco is way way better then the other five. His two starts with Lasix in the US were super as he beat Gio Ponti twice in G1 races. #5 Winchester ran quite well in the 1.5 mile G1 Sword Dancer.
Race 7 is the G1 Vosburgh Invitational at six furlongs. Nine of the 14 nominees are running for the $350,000 purse. I am looking for an upset here. #6 Big Drama (SCRATCHED) is the 2010 Breeders Cup Sprint champion and the best sprinter in 2010 and January of 2011. Then he disappeared until 4Sep11 whe he ran in an easy stake at Calder. He won with a BSF of 88. I don't think he will be in top form to win this speedy speedy race. The race sets up perfectly for #8 Trappe Shot who will close and get the win. I hope he is a decent price, 5-2 or better. #4 Euroears may love the dirt and show even more speed than he already has displayed. No trainer is better than Bob Baffert at getting ready for the big ones.
Race 8 is probably the race I am looking forward to the most. The G2 Kelso Handicap has #3 Uncle Mo running in his second race back from his liver ailment. I still believe that Uncle Mo will become a superstar. He is my pick. I will use #2 Jackson Bend and #1 Jersey Town as back-ups.
Race 9 is the G1 Beldame and features #5 Havre de Grace who many feel is the best horse in the country. She beat the boys in the G1 Woodward during the last week at Saratoga. She should toy with these girls. If something goes wrong then #2 Royal Delta will pick up the pieces.
Race 10 is the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup, a race that has a great list of past winners. #4 Stay Thirsty was once thought of as the second stringer in the Repole/Pletcher barn behind Uncle Mo. This summer his two wins at Saratoga have made him a star. He is the only horse in this race to win a G1 and to have more than 1 win for this year. The mile and a quarter distance suits him perfectly. My upset picks are #5 Drosselmeyer , the 2010 Belmont Stakes winner, who may be ready for a top effort thanks to Bill Mott. Note that if the upsets pile up that Mott could have a really big day! The #1/1A entry has to be used as back-ups.
So in the late pick 4 it is: 4,8 with 1,2,3 with 2,5 with 1,4,5. The top choices are 8/3/5/4 and that is a pretty chalky ticket that will need to be played more than the other tickets. A likely ticket: 4,8 with 2,3 with 2,5 with 1,4.