06/10/2016 5:43PM

Cristblog: Belmont Stakes Day Preview


Saturday, 11:45 am -- It's fast, firm and partly cloudy at Belmont Park and expected to stay that way until about 5 p.m. Then the possibility of rain jumps from 15 to 50 percent for the next three hours, with the Belmont Stakes scheduled to go at 6:37 pm.

There are seven scratches on the card as of now: Take Cover from the 6th (Jaipur); I Will Score from the 7th (Woody Stephens); El Kabeir, Donworth and Sloane Avenue from the 9th (Met Mile); and Wake Forest and Take the Stand from the 10th (Manhattan.) The chart at the bottom of the page has been updated.

Exaggerator is the very early 6-5 favorite in the Belmont betting.

The opener on the card, the Easy Goer for 3-year-olds, just went to Economic Model ($10.00) over 14-1 Take Me Home, with 4-5 favorite Cupid last of five. The main track looks very quick -- the winner's time was 1:40.18 for a mile and a sixteenth with the mile in 1:34.00.

Have a great day of racing, and don't forget to enjoy yourself.

Friday, 6:45 pm -- Happy Belmont Eve. Above is the lineup for tomorrow's 13-race Belmont Stakes card, with post times, a grid for the start of the most prominent multirace bets, and a list of the guaranteed multirace pools. Note that I don't usually include pick-3's on these charts since they are available on every possible race, but I have included the one on races 3 through 5 tomorrow because that pool has been guaranteed at $250,000. I suppose the thinking is that if you get knocked out of the early Pick-5 in the 1st, and die again in the early pick-4 in the 2nd, you can see if the third time's the charm with a guaranteed-pool pick-3.

This is a great card of racing. There are nine graded stakes, six of them Grade 1's, and the four other races are an ungraded stakes and three allowance races. It wasn't that long ago in New York that you couldn't put on a Belmont or Travers card without resorting to races for maidens, statebreds and claimers.

No carryover in the pick-6: One winner Friday at $156,228. It wasn't me. Tomorrow looks even tougher, and it could easily carry over to Sunday, especially if Flintshire loses the Manhattan and/or Exaggerator loses the Belmont. The first four legs -- the Jaipur, Woody Stephens, Just a Game and Met Mile -- are great wide-open betting races but doubles, pick-3's and pick-4's may prove plenty challenging.

Also, David Grening reports that the two-day True North-Met Mile double did not meet the $150k guarantee, attracting just $113,129. NYRA has to make up the difference so there's effectively no takeout and a small subsidy. Of course you had to a)know that the wager existed and b)use 9-1 Joking in the True North, but if you did you're getting paid extra.

Here are my horse-by-horse thoughts on all 10 Saturday stakes races, including each horse's morning-line odds, last-out Beyer Speed Figure, career-best BSF on today's type of surface (dirt or grass), and highest winning level. I'll update the chart with any scratches tomorrow, and then you're on your own because I'm going to go enjoy myself at the races.