07/03/2017 12:07PM

Monday’s TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Church Social’s stretch kick can carry her to victory

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Belmont | Race 7 | Post Time 4:46 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs | Not a TimeformUS member? Sign up.

You have to be a little concerned about a lack of pace in this race since so many of the top contenders are late runners. The horse who should be able to take advantage of the situation is Grateful (#1). She ran very well to hang on for second last time after chasing a fast pace (indicated by red color-coding in the PPs) in a race that was falling apart late. This daughter of Hard Spun appeared to move forward when stretched out to the 1 1/4-mile distance and gets another shot over that trip today.

I would also use recent maiden winner La Sola Ranger (#2). She was beating up on lesser competition in her maiden races in Kentucky, but her win last time was pretty impressive. She was away slowly, settled at the back of the pack, and launched a far-turn blitz to the lead before pulling away late. This is a step up in class, but she has some talent.

Both of these fillies are dangerous, but I have to give one more chance to CHURCH SOCIAL (#7). She’s never gone this far, and Joel Rosario must avoid letting her lose contact with the field, as she does tend to do. That said, she possesses a devastating late kick, and Rosario seems to understand that he needs to keep her outside of horses to get her to produce it. I thought her last race was exceptional, considering that the pace was so slow (indicated by blue color-coding in the PPs) and she still produced her finish. If she’s within contact of the leaders at the top of the stretch, she should reel them all in late.

THE PLAY

Win: 7
Exacta Key Box: 7 with 1,2,4
Trifecta: 7 with 1,2 with 1,2,3,4,5