Prestigious turf stakes, namely the New York and Belmont Gold Cup, highlight the Belmont Stakes eve card at Belmont Park. Let’s dive into the action right away.
Belmont Race 9 (Post time: 5:15 p.m. Eastern)
The Grade II, $600,000 New York Stakes
1 1/4-miles on turf
#8 HOMERIQUE (6-5, morning-line favorite) was last seen winning the Grade III Beaugay over this course despite having to rally into an extremely slow pace. The former Group 3 stakes winner overseas earned a mediocre speed figure in her seasonal debut for Chad Brown, but she’s eligible to improve in her second start off a layoff. HOMERIQUE was third in the prestigious Prix de l’Opera two starts ago. She will keep Irad Ortiz Jr. in the irons.
#6 COMPETITIONOFIDEAS (5-2) was second to the top pick in the Beaugay when last seen. But her effort in the 1 1/4-mile American Oaks at Santa Anita two-back suggests that she’ll improve in Friday’s New York. Javier Castellano picks up the assignment on this logical contender.
#7 SEMPER SENTENTIAE (8-1) is just 1-for-8 lifetime but is capable of landing a share here. She’s hit the board in each of her last four appearances, all turf stakes. SEMPER SENTENTIAE has also been in the money in each of her first three starts at Belmont Park. John Velazquez has the call.
The play: $6 exacta 8/6, $4 exacta 6/8, $2 exacta 8/7 ($12)
Belmont Race 10 (Post time: 5:48 p.m. Eastern)
The Grade II, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational
Two miles on turf
#8 RAA ATOLL (6-1) was ambitiously-campaigned last summer but managed a fourth-place finish in the Group 2 King Edward at Royal Ascot before something clearly went amiss next time out. He returned to win a two-mile Group 2 in Germany when last seen in an impressive performance considering the circumstances. RAA ATOLL beat the accomplished Thomas Hobson in that spot. He faces no such rivals in the Belmont Gold Cup. Jozef Bojko flies in for the call.
#4 RED KNIGHT (7-2) already has a start at two miles under his belt, taking the H. Allen Jerkens at Gulfstream Park on the last weekend of 2018. He’s raced just once since, placing second in the 1 1/2-mile Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland. Jose Ortiz will be in the irons.
#3 AMADE (8-1) has won three of his last four starts, all at two miles or longer on synthetic dirt in Great Britain. His most recent start on turf was an open-length victory going 1 7/8-miles. Flavien Prat sees fit to climb aboard.
The play: $3 exacta key box 8/3,4 ($12)
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