Sadler's Joy winning the Sword Dancer Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga - Photo by NYRA/Chelsea Durand/Adam Coglianese Photography

Sadler’s Joy winning the Sword Dancer Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga –
Photo by NYRA/Chelsea Durand/Adam Coglianese Photography

The action in New York heats up on Saturday at Belmont Park as a stakes-laden card is headlined by the $700,000 Grade 1 Man o’ War.

The all-stakes Pick 4 that commences in Race 8 with the $150,000 Runhappy Stakes will be an extremely popular horizontal wager, but I am also interested in the last Daily Double on the 11-race slate. The Grade 3 $350,000 Peter Pan gets the two-race sequence rolling in Race 10 and it concludes with the featured mile and three-eighths event over the inner turf.

Here are my thoughts on the two races and how I will play the double:

Race 10: The Peter Pan

I initially was completely against 2-1-morning line favorite #1 Core Beliefs, but with the scratch of #5 Diamond King, who will opt to run in the Preakness Stakes next Saturday, the $350,000 son of Quality Road should be loose on the lead in the Peter Pan.

The Peter Eurton trainee broke his maiden in his initial try around two turns in early March and then followed that up with a career best 103 BRIS speed rating in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. Kentucky Derby winner Justify was far too much for him that day, but he made a solid account of himself nonetheless. However, I am slightly concerned that he may regress in his first start away from home.

I respect the chances of Core Beliefs, but I landed on #6 High North as my top choice. The Shortleaf Stable colt comes in off a career beset 97 BRIS speed rating in the Northern Spur at Oaklawn Park where he pulled away late to win by two and a half lengths in the end. The son of Midnight Lute should sit a nice stalking trip and has every right to thrive at the mile and an eighth distance.

#4 Blended Citizen is higher on the morning line than I expected when I first analyzed the race, but I am not interested in him regardless of price since he has done his best running on surfaces other than dirt.

Race 11: The Man o’ War

The 2018 field for the Grade 1 Man o’ War lacks star power, but is an extremely competitive rendition of the $750,000 event over the sod.

#7 Hi Happy is the 5-2-morning line favorite off of his win in the Grade 2 Pan American at Gulfstream Park in late March. The Argentinian bred son of Pure Prize should find himself in a nice stalking spot in the early stages under jockey Luis Saez. He may get the right trip and is amongst the likeliest winners, but the price is too short to swallow.

#2 Sadler’s Joy is listed as the 3-1-second choice despite a fourth place finish in the Pan American. Two-back the son of Kitten’s Joy ran down a field of twelve in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida posting a 109 BRIS speed rating under jockey Julien Leparoux. The Tom Albertrani trainee merits respect and should be rolling late, but I prefer a runner that will likely provide a bit more value.

#6 Call Provision is one of three Chad Brown runners entered in the Man o’War. The son of Lemon Drop Kid sat a few lengths off a slow pace in his first start off the bench in the Grade 2 Elkhorn at Keeneland. When he appeared poised to make a run up the rail he never found room costing him any chance he had at earning his first graded stakes victory.

I expect the New York bred to move forward off of that fourth place effort in Lexington and finish with energy under Eclipse Award wininng jockey Jose Ortiz. At 9 to 2 he is not only the horse I will lean on in the Daily Double, but a runner I will bet to win in the Man o’ War.

Suggested Wagers:

Race 10:

$30 Daily Double 6-6

$20 Daily Double 1-6

Total Budget= $50

Good luck on the big day at Belmont Park!