Empire Showcase Day brings out New York’s best at Belmont

Belmont treats horseplayers to an exciting 11-race card restricted to New York-bred runners this Saturday. Eight total stakes will be contested, including the $300,000 Empire Classic and $250,000 Empire Distaff. Study the races carefully if you’re playing FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

Belmont Race 5

The Empire Classic

#3 TWISTED TOM (2-1, morning-line favorite) is the likeliest winner of the 42nd Empire Classic. He was last seen at Saratoga, romping in the Albany Stakes at today’s 1 1/8th-mile distance. TWISTED TOM is an impressive 5-for-6 this year, the lone loss occurring when ambitiously spotted in the Belmont Stakes. Javier Castellano remains in the irons.

#8 GOVERNOR MALIBU (7-2) is just 3-for-17 lifetime but merits consideration on Saturday. He was second, albeit far behind Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Diversify, in Saratoga’s Evan Shipman when last seen. He’s handled Belmont’s surface decently in the past (8-1-3-2 record) and was second in this race last year. Joel Rosario maintains the mount.

#6 CAN YOU DIGGIT (8-1) has one win in two tries over this course and ran second when last seen in the Albany behind TWISTED TOM. It’s hard to envision him turning the tables but he could land a share at decent odds. Manny Franco will have the call.

The play: $5 exacta 3/6,8 ($10)

Belmont Race 10

The Empire Distaff

#8 LITERATA (3-1, morning-line favorite) gets the nod based on her consistent 2017 form. She ran second at a big price in the Critical Eye earlier this year before rattling off two straight wins, which included a victory in the Saratoga Dew. She was last seen in a salty allowance/optional claimer that featured two former stakes runners (Tejana and Going For Broke). She was third that day but it shouldn’t be held against her. She faces a beatable field on Saturday and Javier Castellano will be aboard.

#1 JCS AMERICAN DREAM (4-1) came up just a half-length short to LITERATA two-back in the Saratoga Dew. Four days later she ran for a $25k tag and was picked up by Linda Rice, who chose to await this spot. Rice is 31% with runners first off the claim, but JCS AMERICAN DREAM is 0-for-7 lifetime at Belmont. We’ll see if she can turn the tables on LITERATA.

The play: $8 exacta 8/1, $2 exacta 1/8 ($10)

DFJ analysis: Javier Castellano’s presence is hard to ignore at Belmont this Saturday. He has the favored mount in both the Empire Classic and the Empire Distaff. He also rides Fifty Five in the Ticonderoga and Offering Plan in the Mohawk, both of whom are favored. A multi-win day should be expected.

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