Racing fans will turn their attention to New York on Saturday, when Belmont Park hosts an action-packed card featuring five graded stakes.
One of the most intriguing wagers of the day is the Pick 4 that kicks off in the seventh race. The all-stakes sequence is filled with competitive races and finding the right combination of winners could trigger a generous payoff.
Let’s go through the Pick 4 race by race and come up with a play on a ~$50 budget.
Race 7: Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes (G1)
#2 Newspaperofrecord is my top choice in the opening leg, and while you can read my full reasoning here, in short I’m optimistic she’ll receive a favorable trip tracking #7 Jodie and parlay that trip into a winning effort.
For Pick 4 purposes I’ll use #4 Concrete Rose and #9 Cambier Parc in equal strength with the favorite. These up-and-coming fillies defeated Newspaperofrecord in the Edgewood Stakes (G3) and Wonder Again Stakes (G3), respectively, and if Newspaperofrecord misfires again, either could be poised to take advantage.
Race 8: John A. Nerud Stakes (G2)
I made my case for #9 Promises Fulfilled being a possible single, because he’s dropping in class and distance. This frontrunning son of Shackleford is also meeting a field without much speed on paper, so I expect him to sprint to the front and never look back. For the Pick 4 I’ll count on him to get the job done at a short price.
Race 9: Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes (G1)
This is arguably the deepest and most competitive race in the sequence. Trainer Chad Brown should be dangerous with his quartet of #2 Standard Deviation, #12 Demarchelier, #13 Digital Age,and #14 Rockemperor, but as I mentioned in my preview of the Belmont Derby, I’m just as interested in #3 Seismic Wave (narrowly beaten by Demarchelier in the grade 3 Pennine Ridge Stakes) and #4 English Bee (winner of the James W. Murphy Stakes at Pimlico last time out).
English Bee in particular is appealing for Pick 4 purposes, because he is bred to relish 1 1/4 miles and is 30-1 on the morning line. Let’s use these six in the Pick 4.
Race 10: Suburban Stakes (G2)
The 2018 Travers Stakes (G1) winner #1 Catholic Boy is a deserving favorite based off his victory in the Dixie Stakes (G2) to kick off 2019, but in terms of speed figures he isn’t a clear standout against this large field. He’s also unproven racing outside his own age group on dirt.
My top choice in the Suburban is actually the 2018 Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) winner #11 Pavel, who should improve in his second start back from a fourth-place finish in the Dubai World Cup (G1). #2 Preservationist, a lightly-raced 6-year-old with a couple of fast allowance wins under his belt this year, fits well on speed figures and could fire a big effort while stepping up in class and distance.
$1 Pick 4: 2,4,9 with 9 with 2,3,4,12,13,14 with 1,2,11 ($54)