Graded turf events highlight Belmont Stakes undercard

In addition to the 152nd edition of the Grade I, $1 million Belmont Stakes, there are five stakes races at Belmont Park to consider. Let’s review a pair of them below.

Belmont Race 4 (Post time: 1:42 p.m. Eastern)

The Grade II, $150,000 Pennine Ridge Stakes

One mile on turf

#1 DECORATED INVADER (6-5, morning-line favorite) makes plenty of sense in the Pennine Ridge but may not offer much value. His Grade I Summer and Cutler Bay Stakes victories, which sandwich a fourth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, make him a strong but not invincible contender under Joel Rosario.

#2 VENEZUELAN HUG (6-1) offers significant value in this seven-horse affair. After being claimed by Danny Gargan, he stepped up to crush state-bred maidens before beating winners next time out. VENEZUELAN HUG fits on speed figures and lures Luis Saez.

The play: $5 exacta box 1/2 ($10)

Belmont Race 9 (Post time: 4:53 p.m. Eastern)

The Grade I, $250,000 Jaipur Stakes

Six furlongs on turf

#2 OLEKSANDRA (7-2) is a mare running against boys but looks best on paper in the Jaipur. She’s 2-for-2 at Belmont and won two turf stakes in 2019. Her 2020 debut was a solid runner-up result behind Jolie Olimpica in the Grade II Monrovia at Santa Anita. Joel Rosario will be in the irons on OLEKSANDRA once more.

The play: $10 win 2

Follow me on Twitter: @itsgood2beking