Dacita, Sea Calisi stand out in New York Stakes

The Grade II, $500,000 New York Stakes is the Friday feature at Belmont Park on the eve of the Belmont Stakes. Nine older fillies and mares will compete in the program’s ninth of the day at approximately 5:14 p.m. EST. They’ll go 1 1/4-miles on Belmont’s inner turf course. Some of the game’s preeminent grass trainers are firing their best shots in this one, including Chad Brown. He has both SEA CALISI, this year’s New York Stakes favorite at 5-2, and DACITA, last year’s winner. As always, be sure to check out FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#8 DACITA (3-1) will be my top selection, assuming they run this race on a ‘firm’ going. Her stablemate, SEA CALISI, moves up significantly in an off-going, while DACITA handles all surfaces well.

DACITA won the New York Stakes last year before going to Saratoga and winning the nine-furlong Diana by a nose. Her last start of 2016 came at Woodbine, where she was a narrowly-beaten second to stablemate Rainha Da Bateria. She overcame a lengthy layoff to get up for second in last month’s Beaugay Stakes at 1 1/16th-miles over this course, and she might have won had there been an honest pace on. #5 HAWKSMOOR, who will not be on my tickets here, got away with soft fractions on a yielding course in the Beaugay. #1 QUIDURA may show speed from the rail under new pilot Javier Castellano, and #3 APPLE BETTY possesses some early foot. Their presence combined with confirmed frontrunner SASSY LITTLE LILA virtually assures DACITA will have enough pace to work with. Irad Ortiz Jr. had his choice of the two Brown runners and opted for this one.

#6 SEA CALISI returns off a decisive score in the 11-furlong Sheepshead Bay Stakes, her second victory in that race. Once again it occurred over a yielding going, which she may not get today. SEA CALISI was victorious in last year’s Grade I Beverly D. at Arlington Park on a firm course, but this New York Stakes field appears to be better than the one she faced in Illinois last year. She loses Ortiz Jr. today but picks up Florent Geroux, who has been aboard her before.

#1 QUIDURA (5-1) and #2 SUFFUSED (6-1) appeal in the underneath slots. QUIDURA could be sitting on a career-best making her second start of the year. She was a game third in the Grade I Jenny Wiley and gets a rider upgrade to Castellano today. She already has one win over this course.

SUFFUSED excels at longer-distance races but was no match for SEA CALISI in the Sheepshead Bay last month. She stands a chance to even the score under Jose Ortiz if the turf comes up firm.

The play: $1 trifecta 6,8/6,8/1,2, $1 trifecta 6,8/1,2,6,8/1,2,6,8, $2 exacta box 6/8 ($20)

DFJ analysis: Jose Ortiz looks like the best bet to have a big Friday at Belmont. He has nine total mounts on the 11-race program, one of which is favored (Rocketry in Race 6). However, some of his longer-priced mounts have great appeal. Ortiz rides two second-choices in the Pick Five sequence; Fox Rules in Race 3 and Direct Dial in Race 5, the Tremont. His final three mounts are all live, and all in graded stakes. He’s on SUFFUSED in the New York, Taghleeb (6-1) in the Belmont Gold Cup, and High Ridge Road (4-1) in the Bed o’ Roses.

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