Three-year-old fillies take center stage at Belmont Park this Saturday in the Grade II Sands Point Stakes. A strong field of seven will go 1 1/8 miles on the inner turf course for the ninth race of the day, and the approximate post time is 5:45 p.m. EST. This event offers the most points toward FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game at Belmont this weekend, so study it carefully!
#2 DIAMOND FIELDS (4-1) will be my top selection as she makes her third start here in America. Her stateside debut was a disaster due to an equipment malfunction, but she gave a much better account of herself in Saratoga’s Lake Placid Stakes last time out. She was third beaten only about two lengths behind Time and Motion and Catch a Glimpse, two of the leaders in this division. Junior Alvarado keeps the mount as this filly looks for a breakthrough effort against easier rivals today.
#5 ON LEAVE merits respect as the 5-2 program favorite. She’s won three straight on the NYRA circuit for rider Jose Ortiz and trainer Shug McGaughey, including the Riskaverse Stakes at Saratoga last time out. She should be close to the front early and will try to hold off the top choice late.
#7 AL JAZI intrigues shipping in from a Group III win at Goodwood after campaigning exclusively in France. She has seven ITM finishes in nine tries dating back to last year. She will remain with her French connections today (jockey Gregory Benoist and trainer Francois Rohaut). This distance will be the furthest she’s ever been asked to go but her pedigree doesn’t preclude her from handling it.
The play: $4 exacta 2/5,7, $2 exacta 5/2 ($10)
DFJ analysis: It’s very tough to get past Jose Ortiz ($12,000) this Saturday, as all eight of his mounts are priced at 7-2 or less. With that many logical win candidates he’s bound to pick up at least a couple of victories. Most importantly, Ortiz has a good shot with ON LEAVE in the Sands Point.
Junior Alvarado ($8,500) is an excellent lower-priced option. In addition to top choice DIAMOND FIELDS in this race Alvarado has five other mounts on Saturday, including live longshots Lubash and Beyond the Green in races four and seven, respectively. He also rides one of the favorites in race six (Timber).
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