07/05/2014 2:52PM

Belmont 7/5/14: A Derby/Oaks Late pick-4

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Welcome back. Let's dip a few toes in the pre-Saratoga water with today's stakes-rich card at Belmont, which I wrote about in the Saturday column: http://www.drf.com/news/crist-big-race-days-keep-sizzle-going-new-york.

Here’s a little crib sheet on the five stakes, listing each entrant’s morning-line odds, highest Beyer on today’s surface type, and highest winning level:

 

The five stakes are not positioned ideally for stakes mavens who like the pick-6 and late pick-4 (i.e., me.) By moving the Dwyer and its five betting interests up to the 4th race to keep it out of the pick-6, a mistaken and needless move, the pick-6 on race 5-10 consists of four stakes races bookended by a pair of statebred grass races.

So despite a little $34k carry in the Pick-6, I’m going to play the late pick-4 so I can duck race 5 (a turf sprint for NY-bred maidens.) My strategy is to focus on the proven European turf horses in the Belmont Derby and Belmont Oaks, playing against the synthetic-surface specialists and American grass runners. The sequence starts at 4:34 pm with the Belmont Derby. Here’s the play: