Belmont’s Hill Prince Stakes and Santa Anita’s Twilight Derby will put three-year-old turfers to the test this Sunday. We’ll go over the particulars for each race and make our selections below.
Belmont Race 9 (Post time: 4:47 p.m. ET)
The Grade II, $150,000 Hill Prince Stakes
One mile on turf
#3 DECORATED INVADER (EVEN, morning-line favorite) looks too tough for the Hill Prince field on paper. He was a disappointing fifth in the Saratoga Derby when last seen – perhaps the distance was too far for him. DECORATED INVADER is 3-for-4 lifetime going a mile on turf and retains Joel Rosario.
#1 GET SMOKIN (5-1) will try to make every step a winning one in the Hill Prince. He should also benefit from the cutback after fading late in the Saratoga Derby. GET SMOKIN faces no legitimate pace rivals in this field and lures Javier Castellano.
The play: $8 exacta 3/1, $2 exacta 1/3 ($10)
Santa Anita Race 9 (Post time: 8:15 p.m. ET)
The Grade II, $200,000 Twilight Derby
1 1/8-miles on turf
#6 SMOOTH LIKE STRAIT (5-2, morning-line favorite) could get back to his winning ways in the Twilight Derby with a better trip than he had in the Grade II American Turf last time out. He was used hard early while racing wide before fading to fourth. However, SMOOTH LIKE STRAIT faces some legitimate pace foes in #5 DOMINANT SOUL and #3 MARGOT’S BOY here.
#7 SCARTO (8-1) should be rolling late under Juan Hernandez, who’s been hot at the meet (24% through Friday). The son of Paynter is a perfect 2-for-2 at turf routes, beating lesser foes at Del Mar over the summer. SCARTO could improve while switching to the Santa Anita grass and should go off at fair odds.
The play: $10 win 7
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