06/09/2016 5:42PM

Cristblog: Friday Belmont Preview


Thursday, 6:30 pm -- Mike Watchmaker and I will be hosting a handicapping seminar at Belmont Friday at noon, in the Horsemen's Lounge on the second floor of the clubhouse. We'll be discussing the 16 stakes races on offer at Belmont the next two days, with an emphasis on the Belmont Stakes card.

I'll post my analysis of Saturday's races tomorrow night, but for now here are my horse-by-horse rundowns on Friday's six stakes: The 1 1/2-mile Rags to Riches, the six-furlong Tremont for 2-year-olds; the Jersey Girl for 3-year-old fillies, and the G2 True North for older sprinters, both at six furlongs; the G2 New York at 10 furlongs on the grass for older turf fillies, and the $300k Belmont Gold Cup at two miles on the grass.

I hate the way the stakes races are arranged on the Friday card: The first three go as the 3rd, 4th and 5th, the last three as the 8th, 9th and 10th. That means there are no all-stakes pick-4, pick-5 or pick-6 sequences despite having a card with six stakes races, which should have been carded as 5-10 or 6-11. The late pick-4 on races 8-11 is guaranteed at $500,000 but you'll have to handicap the finale, a dismal maiden-claiming race for statebreds.

There also are a couple of two-day daily-double bets that start Friday: one linking the True North with Saturday's Met Mile, and one on the Belmont Gold Cup and the Belmont Stakes.

The table below lists each horse's morning-line odds, last-out Beyer Speed Figure, his career-best BSF on today's footing (dirt or turf), his highest winning level to date, and a quick comment.