Wide-open clash in Belmont’s Turf Classic

The Grade I Joe Hirsch Turf Classic headlines the action at Belmont Park this Saturday. A field of 10 with Breeders’ Cup Turf aspirations has assembled for this 1 1/2-mile contest. The Joe Hirsch goes as the 10th and final race of the day at Belmont; estimated post time is 5:45 p.m. EST. Be sure to study this race carefully for the purposes of FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#9 FANCIFUL ANGEL (10-1) was last seen running second at 73-1 for relatively unknown connections in the Arlington Million. He was fractious at the gate then broke poorly but was only beaten a half-length on the wire. Chad Brown has recently overtaken FANCIFUL ANGEL’s training and Irad Ortiz Jr. will ride; a significant upgrade in each department. The way FANCIFUL ANGEL ran on late in the Million suggests he’ll handle today’s 1 1/2-mile distance. He’s the pick at a nice price.

#4 SADLER’S JOY (4-1) loves the 1 1/2-mile trip (3-for-4 lifetime) and enters the Joe Hirsch off an impressive win in the Grade I Sword Dancer. Julien Leparoux has been aboard for SADLER’S JOY’s last two wins and stays on today. The consistent colt hasn’t missed the board in his last nine starts, so he’s a “must-use.”

#1 MONEY MULTIPLIER (7-2) was a game second in the Sword Dancer off a prep win in the Monmouth Cup. He’s frequently picked up checks in spots like this but has never won a Grade I. In fact, his only career graded win was the aforementioned Grade II Monmouth Cup. However, he must be respected with Brown and Javier Castellano in his corner.

#3 OSCAR PERFORMANCE (3-1, morning-line favorite) will make his first start against older foes and his first beyond 1 1/4-miles yet is favored to win under Jose Ortiz. That is a wholly unappealing proposition, especially when taking into account how padded his résumé is. He was gifted the lead in both the Pennine Ridge and Belmont Derby before conquering an overmatched Secretariat field. Brown’s third and final Joe Hirsch entrant, #5 BEACH PATROL, should apply some early pressure to OSCAR PERFORMANCE on Saturday. That combined with the added ground could be his undoing.

The play: $4 exacta box 4/9, $2 exacta key box 9/1,3 ($16)

DFJ analysis: Javier Castellano has nine mounts on Saturday, three of which are favored. That includes El Deal in the Grade I Vosburgh and Voting Control in the Grade III Pilgrim. MONEY MULTIPLIER gives him a good chance to hit the board in the Joe Hirsch, the day’s most lucrative event.

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