Turf fillies will be front-and-center in the Grade I, $1 million Belmont Oaks at Belmont Park this Saturday. As Race 10 on the program, it’ll go off at around 5:46 p.m. EST. Like the Belmont Derby I discussed earlier, the Oaks is one of many important races going on at Belmont for FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game.
CATCH A GLIMPSE is the 2-1 morning-line favorite, but I have to play against her in this spot. I greatly respect her body of work, including an easy victory over males in the Penn Mile last time out. But this mile-and-a-quarter distance, from a pedigree standpoint, seems beyond her reach. She will have one of the country’s top riders in Florent Geroux aboard, and she projects to have command of a moderate-to-slow pace, with perhaps only #8 AUNTIE JOY is pursuit (#11 MAGNANIME, a French shipper, could also potentially show speed). But I don’t think those advantages give her enough of an edge over her opposition to justify her 2-1 odds.
#4 TIME AND MOTION, despite winning three straight races (including the Wonder Again, the Belmont prep for this race), could offer good value at 6-1. She started winning once John Velazquez climbed aboard, and she’s steadily improved in each of her last three races. In her last try, the Wonder Again, she beat a pair of these rivals (#6 HARMONIZE and #9 LAST WALTZ). Her breeding shouldn’t prevent her from getting the added distance, and she’s been training very well for James Toner.
#7 BALLYDOYLE (3-1) is an overseas threat for Aiden O’Brien. The globetrotting filly took two stakes at age two, one in Ireland and one in France, then waited until May to make her 2016 debut. She was second in that heat (in a field of 16) to the well-regarded Minding, and then in a Group 1 race in France last time out she tired late over a “soft” course at a distance longer than she’ll go today. She could be ready to fire a peak effort today in her third start of the year.
Chad Brown is well-represented in this turf stakes of course, but of his three entered he doesn’t have a horse below 20-1. However, he could make a surprise trip to the winner’s circle with #5 NOBLE BEAUTY. She is the lightest-raced horse in the field (just three starts to date), and has shown noticeable progress in each of her three starts. In the Regret Stakes last time out she was compromised by a slow pace, yet still managed to put in a strong late kick to get second. Her pedigree doesn’t preclude her from getting this distance, and her running style suggests she’ll appreciate the extra furlong. Additionally, the rider upgrade to Javier Castellano could be huge.
The play: $2 exacta box 4/5/7 ($12)
DFJ angle: John Velazquez ($10,000) rides my top selection in this race as well as the Belmont Derby (Call Provision), so he looks like a “slam dunk” choice to me. Additionally, he has three mounts priced at 5-1 or less in the first five races, and also rides Lost Raven in the Victory Ride Stakes and Laoban in the Dwyer.
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