Belmont Park: Speed could dominate in Saturday turf stakes races
High-class racing action continues in New York on Saturday, with four graded stakes races at Belmont Park, including a pair of competitive turf events for fillies and mares.
Grass races are frequently won with powerful bursts of acceleration from off the pace, but there’s a chance early speed will steal the show Saturday.
Let’s tackle the action with a pair of spot plays.
Race 8: New York (G2, 1 1/4 miles on turf, 5:04 p.m. ET)
#7 Mean Mary (7-2) has turned into a winning machine for trainer Graham Motion. The daughter of Scat Daddy is 4-for-4 racing 1 1/16 miles or farther on turf and rattled off back-to-back wins in the 1 1/2-mile La Prevoyante (G3) and 1 3/8-mile Orchid (G3) during the winter at Gulfstream Park. Mean Mary led from start to finish in both races, and in the Orchid, she comfortably defeated two-time Grade 3 winner Gentle Ruler by a length.
Against just six rivals in the New York, Mean Mary figures to shake loose on an uncontested lead and take this field all the way on the front end.
Her stablemate, #6 Mrs. Sippy (5-2), runner-up in the 1 1/4-mile Flower Bowl (G1) at Belmont last fall, can vie with Italian Group 2 winner #1 Call Me Love (9-5) to round out the exacta.
Race 9: Just a Game (G1, 1 mile on turf, 6:08 p.m. ET)
Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner #6 Uni (7-5) is the morning-line favorite for trainer Chad Brown, who is renowned for his success with fillies and mares on grass. A late runner with a 7-for-8 record racing a mile, Uni possesses a powerful turn of foot difficult for her rivals to hold off.
But in the Just a Game, Uni will face a formidable challenge from her stablemate, #4 Newspaperofrecord. A brilliant frontrunning winner of the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), Newspaperofrecord was beaten in all three of her runs last season, when her connections attempted to conserve her speed over long distances.
Newspaperofrecord thrived when she returned from an 11-month layoff in the June 6 Intercontinental (G3). Allowed to carve out as fast a pace as she pleased, Newspaperofrecord led all the way to dominate the 7-furlong sprint by four lengths.
There’s rain in the forecast for Saturday at Belmont, and since Newspaperofrecord is 4-for-4 over yielding ground, she figures to relish the conditions. Assuming the rains arrive as expected, let’s bet Newspaperofrecord on top of Uni in a cold exacta.
$20 exacta: 4 with 6