The $750,000 Jockey Club Oaks is among the appealing stakes races on opening Saturday at Belmont Park. The 1 3/8-mile turf heat, the final leg of the newly-minted Turf Tiara, drew a field of eight three-year-old fillies. Post time for the inaugural Jockey Club Oaks, Race 9 of 11 on the day, is 5:15 p.m. ET.
#1 EDISA (5-2, morning-line favorite) has placed in each of her last two races overseas, both of which were against stakes foes. She’s demonstrated ability going longer distances and has the speed figures that suggest she’s capable of winning a race like the Jockey Club Oaks. EDISA is a fitting race favorite and gets Flavien Prat aboard for her stateside debut.
#3 LADY PRANCELOT (9-2) has never been beyond 1 1/8-miles but passes the eye test for the stretchout in distance. The daughter of Sir Prancelot has hit the board in each of her first five starts this year, including a win in the Grade III Honeymoon Stakes at Santa Anita. Joe Talamo ships in for the call on LADY PRANCELOT once more.
#2 ROMANTIC PURSUIT (15-1) may inherit the lead in what looks like a fairly paceless Jockey Club Oaks. She gets a noteworthy jockey switch to Luis Saez, who has a reputation for being aggressive early. ROMANTIC PURSUIT has won two straight races, including one at this distance at Saratoga on July 28. She’s training well for this start for Kiaran McLaughlin.
#8 ART OF ALMOST (5-1) has run speed figures this year that put her in the hunt on Saturday. She placed in both the Dance Smartly and Pucker Up Stakes, her last two starts, but she’s never won a race on the lawn before. ART OF ALMOST gets a rider upgrade to Javier Castellano for the Jockey Club Oaks.
The play: $4 exacta 1/3, $2 exacta 1/2,8, $2 exacta 3/1 ($10)
Follow me on Twitter: @itsgood2beking