Saturday’s feature at Belmont Park is the Grade II, $400,000 Sands Point Stakes. The 1 1/8-mile turf event drew a field of eight three-year-old fillies. The Sands Point is Race 9 of 10, and post time is 5:53 p.m. EST. As always, be sure to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
#7 CALIFORNIAGOLDRUSH (6-1) started her career 2-for-2 at Santa Anita before hitting the shelf for six months. When she returned, CALIFORNIAGOLDRUSH was thrust into the Grade I Del Mar Oaks. She was a creditable third in that very tough assignment. If she can improve slightly, which she has the right to with the rust shaken off, CALIFORNIAGOLDRUSH could upset the Sands Point. Flavien Prat ships in for the assignment, which is encouraging. Watch for him to make the lead on CALIFORNIAGOLDRUSH if no one shows initiative.
#1 BARKAA (3-1, morning-line favorite) drops out of France’s prestigious Group I Diane as she makes her stateside debut. Chad Brown takes over her training, which is never a negative. BARKAA is 4-for-7 to start her career, with a win at these exact conditions in a Group III earlier this year. She will have the services of Tyler Gaffalione.
#5 VICTORINE (8-1) is another that catches the eye in her U.S. unveiling. Prior to a fourth in a Group III last time out, she had won two straight. VICTORINE has raced almost exclusively on soft courses; perhaps she’ll improve switching to what should be firm going on Saturday. Vincent Cheminaud will be in the irons.
The play: $10 win 7
DFJ analysis: Flavien Prat doesn’t usually ride at Belmont but put together seven decent mounts for himself on Saturday. None are favored but there are some interesting longshots in the mix; chief among them CALIFORNIAGOLDRUSH in the Sands Point. Not surprisingly, five of those seven assignments are on turf. There is perhaps no better grass rider in the country than Prat.
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