The Grade I, $1.2 million Belmont Derby is the feature race on a spectacular Saturday card at Belmont Park. 11 evenly-matched sophomore turfers will go 1 1/4-miles on the program’s 10th race (estimated post time 6:50 p.m. EST). This heat features three foreign shippers as well as some familiar faces on the turf scene. Don’t forget to check out FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
#1 GOOD SAMARITAN (12-1) has had some tough trips in his last few races. If he gets a clean ride under Joel Rosario, he could pop at a solid price in the Belmont Derby. His speed figures are competitive despite the ground he’s given up lately, and the stretchout to 1 1/4-miles should suit him well.
#3 HOMESMAN (4-1) is the preferred option of the Aiden O’Brien pair (the other being possible rabbit #10 WHITECLIFFSOFDOVER). He last raced fairly recently, fading to fifth in the 1 1/2-mile King George V Stakes on June 22. However, HOMESMAN cuts back to the distance of his greatest score to date, a Group III at the Curragh. Colm O’Donoghue will journey across the pond for the mount.
#5 CALLED TO THE BAR (5-1) is another dangerous European invader. He’s never missed the exacta in four starts in France and just won a 1 1/2-mile Group III event. CALLED TO THE BAR also has a win at today’s distance to boast. Maxime Guyon has the assignment.
#6 ARKLOW (8-1) is undefeated since switching to turf for Brad Cox (two starts). His latest effort was an upset victory in the Grade II American Turf under Mike Smith, who retains the mount. ARKLOW is working well for the Belmont Derby and the distance should be no problem for him.
#9 BIG SCORE (20-1) has longshot appeal under Flavien Prat. He’s yet to miss the board in three starts this year and already owns a stakes win (the Transylvania). The stretchout to 1 1/4-miles could be just what the doctor ordered for this stretch runner.
#4 OSCAR PERFORMANCE (3-1, morning-line favorite) looks like a vulnerable program favorite. He got away with soft fractions while winning the Grade III Pennine Ridge, the local prep for the Belmont Derby. He has Breeders’ Cup credentials, but OSCAR PERFORMANCE got off to a rocky start in 2017 before the Pennine Ridge.
The play: $2 exacta key box 1/3,5,6,9, $2 win/place 9 ($20)
DFJ analysis: See my column on the Belmont Oaks for Daily Fantasy Jockey picks!
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