Race 5 – Grade I Beldame Invitational ($400K) – 9 furlongs – 2:58 post time
Sure you can go with #3 ROYAL DELTA (EVEN), but Mott’s real objective is the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic and may be just using this race as a tune up. A better play is #6 IT’S TRICKY (7/5) firing 2nd off the layoff after encountering a wee bit of trouble while 3rd in the Personal Ensign. She’s 2 for 2 at Belmont and could turn the tables on ROYAL DELTA at twice the price. #7 ACTING HAPPY (20-1) threatens to hit the board and juice the exacta and trifecta payouts.
Race 6 – Grade II Kelso Handicap ($400K) – 1 mile – 3:30
Lots of speed should create a quick early pace giving #5 TO HONOR AND SERVE (8/5) a nice set up to stalk and finish strong. He’ll be at short odds facing quality challengers, but will have few excuses if Johnny V can’t bring him home.
Race 7 – Grade I Vosburgh Invitational ($400K) – 6 furlongs – 4:04
Appears to be a contentious, evenly matched field. No strong opinions, but worth noting that #1A THE LUMBER GUY (7/2) is 3 for 3 at a mile or less (but this is step up for him) and #5 FORT LOUDON (6-1) is a perfect 5 for 5 at 6 furlongs. Also like #6 ROTHKO (6-1) and the old warhorse #8 CAIXA ELECTRONICA (6-1). Maybe I should just box all the 6-1 shots with the coupled entry.
Race 8 – Grade I Flower Bowl Invitational ($600K) – 10 furlongs (turf) – 4:38
According to Jersey-based Derek Brown, recent rain in the NYC area may soften up the turf course. I like both #4 I’M A DREAMER (3-1) off her solid win the Beverly D and #8 NAHRAIN (5-1) who showed great promise in 2011 at age 3 and may be rounding back into form off a sub-par 2012 campaign thus far. #3 HIT IT RICH (8-1) is a danger to go wire to wire if Javier Castellano sets an easy pace and #1 DREAM PEACE (5/2) should be flying late.
Race 9 – Grade I Joe Hirsch Turf Classic ($600K) – 12 furlongs (turf) – 5:12
#2 POINT OF ENTRY (4/5) is the obvious choice for the win, but wondering if he’ll be compromised by a soft turf course. #4 LITTLE MIKE (2-1) scored big in the Arlington Million, but not sure he can wire the field at a mile and a half. With those “buts”, #6 FINNEGANS WAKE (10-1) looks to me like an attractive long shot for the win and a must use underneath even if you go with the favorites.
Race 10 – Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup ($1M) – 10 furlongs – 5:46
Dos palabras: SAN PABLO. Numero ocho es doce a uno (los dedos están cruzados!)
Best of luck!