The Grade I, $750,000 Belmont Oaks, the first leg in NYRA’s newly-minted Turf Tiara, is one of several graded stakes being contested at Belmont Park this Saturday. The 1 1/4-mile heat drew a field of nine female grass specialists. Post time for the Belmont Oaks, Race 7 of 11, is 4:30 p.m. ET.
#1 OLENDON (9-2) has developed nicely at age three for French trainer Pascal Bary. She was a narrowly-beaten fourth in her first start off the bench this year before stretching out to score at 1 1/8-miles two starts ago. OLENDON was second to a heavy favorite in the esteemed Siyarafina in a 1 1/4-mile Group 1 event last time out. Her speed figures are competitive and she lures John Velazquez.
#9 CAMBIER PARC (4-1) has won three of her last four starts, including the local prep for the Belmont Oaks, the Grade III Wonder Again. She was able to beat NEWSPAPEROFRECORD rather easily despite that rival having a soft trip. CAMBIER PARC is bred to handle the stretchout being by Medgalia d’Oro out of 2007 Canadian Triple Tiara winner Sealy Hill. Jose Ortiz maintains the assignment for Chad Brown.
#4 CONCRETE ROSE (3-1) dominated the competition, including NEWSPAPEROFRECORD, in the Grade III Edgewood when last seen. She improved dramatically in the speed figure department in that effort. It’s hard to knock CONCRETE ROSE’s 4-for-5 lifetime record (with her only defeat coming on yielding turf), but the stretchout is significant in the Belmont Oaks and she’ll have to prove she can run back to her Edgewood performance. Julien Leparoux ships in for the call.
#2 NEWSPAPEROFRECORD (5-2, morning-line favorite) looks vulnerable off consecutive no-excuse defeats. She was sensational as a juvenile, though all three of her wins at two came on yielding ground. NEWSPAPEROFRECORD will once again be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. and drilled well for this race; perhaps she’ll last for a share.
The play: $10 win 1
Follow me on Twitter: @itsgood2beking