Friday, 19 June 2020 01:09

Belmont Horse Racing Picks for Saturday, June 20, 2020

Written by Ellis Starr

Key Horse Races & Free Expert Picks For June 20, 2020

Acorn Stakes - Race 8 at Belmont - Post Time 4:15 PM Eastern

Lucrezia is a filly I’ve liked since last fall when she won the Sandpiper Stakes (a sprint) in December. I loved her in the Suncoast Stakes in February off a two month layoff and stretching out to two turns for the first time and she rewarded us at almost 6 to 1 odds when easily winning by five. She ran into a buzzsaw named Swiss Skydiver in her only start off that race, in the Gulfstream Park Oaks, finishing second and gamely by a nose over the next horses as the winner was in another league as proven by winning the Fantasy Stakes and Santa Anita Oaks since then. Not only did Swiss Skydiver improve off the effort from a 99 Equibase figure to 104 then 108, but the GP Oaks was a KEY race from which the 7th and 8th place finishers came back from to win, both in stakes and from which the 6th place finisher came back from to finish second in a stakes. Lucrezia has superb tactical speed so I don’t expect her to be farther back then 3rd in the early stages and so depending if Gamine is sent from the rail or if Casual or Glass Ceiling is sent, Lucrezia should be in a fantastic spot to win this race and opening at 9/2 is a KEY overlay bet on the day.

Casual may not need the lead to win on the stretch out off a seven furlong victory in which she was a head to a half-length off the leader through the opening half-mile before edging clear. She closed with a lot of maturity from sixth (of 11) early to win in her debut and this one turn mile is right up her alley. Gamine ships out from California for Baffert and like Casual is unbeaten in two starts, both when leading from start to finish. She stretched out to two turns to win by a neck but had opened up so there is a question whether she was getting tired or not and opening at even money I think it would be foolish to bet her to win. Still, her pace/speed figure combination suggests she may not need the lead to win and she improved to a field high last race 102 figure so leaving her off our tickets is not something I’m willing to do.

Bets:
Win: Lucrezia to win at odds of 9 to 5 or more.
“IF” Casual is 2 to 1 or more she can be bet to win as well.

When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exacta and Trifecta: Box Lucrezia, Casual and Gamine.

Pick 3: (Two Tickets) Ticket 1:
Race 8: Lucrezia, Casual, Gamine
Race 9: Oleksandra, Pure Sensation, White Flag
Race 10: Sole Volante, Fore Left, Tiz the Law, Tap It To Win, Dr Post
(Cost $45 at the $1 minimum level)

Pick 3: (Two Tickets) Ticket 2:
Race 8: Lucrezia
Race 9: Oleksandra, Pure Sensation, White Flag, Stubbins, Texas Wedge
Race 10: Sole Volante, Fore Left, Tiz the Law, Tap It To Win, Dr Post
(Cost $25 at the $1 level)

Double:
Race 8: Lucrezia, Casual, Gamine
Race 9: Oleksandra, Pure Sensation, White Flag, Stubbins, Texas Wedge

Jaipur Stakes - Race 9 at Belmont - Post Time 4:53 PM Eastern

White Flag and Pure Sensation form a potent uncoupled entry from the rock solid Clement barn and I’ll start with White Flag as he opens at 8 to 1 compared to 5 to 2 for his stablemate although both are accomplished turf sprinters. White Flag has won five of 11 turf sprints for nearly half a million dollars, and more importantly four of the five wins have come at Belmont. He won the Allied France Stakes on this inner course in the summer of 2017 and he won or placed in four of five races in 2018. The reason he opens at 8 to 1 is because he went 0 for 3 in 2019 and hasn’t run this year, but to the latter point his stablemate is making his 2020 debut and a few of these are only making their second starts of the year. In the summer of 2018, White Flag missed by a head in the Grade 3 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint then two later won a $125K purse stakes at this six furlong trip at Aqueduct before one race, then a layoff, followed by another layoff. He’s been working very well and Clement wins at an above average rate with horses off layoffs. Alvarado hasn’t ridden him before but wins a lot of races for Clement (12 for 45 going back 18 months) and so I see no reason this horse can’t win at decent odds.

Pure Sensation is the likely early leader and a potentially legitimate favorite, opening at 5/2 but likely bet down. He’s won 13 of 27 on grass for $1.8 million and he only wins when he has the early lead, which is likely in this race as well. Irad Ortiz, Jr. comes off a suspension and was winning at a strong 30% clip at the meeting before the hiatus and so there is every chance Pure Sensation can successfully play “come catch me” again today. There is one thing to note, however, and that is in spite of winning twice previously on the Belmont Turf, neither win came on the inner turf including when winning this race as a five year old in 2016.

Oleksandra is an accomplished turf sprinter, a mare, who gets in a few pounds lighter than the males she faces today. She beat males on the inner turf at Belmont last June after winning in May as well, Rosario up then as now and for her two stakes wins between then and now. She was off from October to May and put in a big run from last of seven to miss by a half-length in her comeback in the Grade 2 Monrovia Stakes at Santa Anita last month so improving enough to win for the seventh time in her 11th career turf sprint is certainly possible.

Although Texas Wedge and Stubbins are both good turf sprinters, I think they are a cut below the three top contenders so I’ll just use them in second and third on some trifecta tickets (below). Hidden Scroll dumped the jockey last out as the favorite in what was to be his turf debut. He’s bred for it and working well on the surface but in my opinion is giving away too much experience to some of the others to beat them.

Bets:
Win: White Flag and Oleksandra to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.
(Pure Sensation has fair odds of 5 to 2 but I doubt very much she will be at or above those odds so exotic wagers and doubles, pick 3 tickets will have to suffice for making a profit if she wins).

When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exacta: Box Oleksandra, Pure Sensation and White Flag.

Trifectas:
Oleksandra, Pure Sensation and White Flag over Oleksandra, Pure Sensation and White Flag over Oleksandra, Pure Sensation, White Flag, Texas Wedge and Stubbins.

Oleksandra, Pure Sensation and White Flag over Oleksandra, Pure Sensation, White Flag, Texas Wedge and Stubbins over Oleksandra, Pure Sensation, White Flag, Texas Wedge and Stubbins.

Oleksandra, Pure Sensation and White Flag over Oleksandra, Pure Sensation and White Flag over ALL.

Doubles:
Race 9: Oleksandra, Pure Sensation, White Flag, Stubbins, Texas Wedge
Race 10: Sole Volante, Fore Left, Tiz the Law, Tap It To Win, Dr Post

Race 9: Oleksandra, Pure Sensation, White Flag, Stubbins, Texas Wedge
Race 10: Sole Volante, Tiz the Law

Belmont Stakes - Race 10 at Belmont - Post Time 5:42 PM Eastern

Although Tiz the Law is the one to beat on paper, I’m going to take a shot with Fore Left to post the upset in the Belmont Stakes. The colt won the first two starts of his career last May and June, both sprints including the Tremont Stakes at Belmont Park, then after two months off he wasn’t disgraced a bit when ending up third and a neck behind the runner-up in the Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar. Following a poor effort in his two-turn debut in the American Pharoah Stakes last September, the southern California prep for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, the colt returned to sprinting and won a minor stakes before trying an all-weather track and trying turf, finishing third then 10th in those races. Rested two months and put back on the dirt while shipping to Dubai for the United Arab Emirates 2000 Guineas, Fore Left led from the start in a 16 horse field and held off all challengers early while drawing off late with some authority. That effort showed he had matured nicely over the winter as he earned a career-best 103 Equibase figure. The runner-up in that race returned to win a stakes the following month which flattered the form of Fore Left somewhat. Rested since then, Fore Left resumed training in April and shipped to Belmont the first week of June. Since then, he’s put in two very strong morning drills over a track he already proved a liking for when winning last spring. Although Tap It to Win earned his last victory at Belmont leading from start to finish, I believe Fore Left will be sent for the lead by jockey Jose Ortiz and if allowed to get into a high cruising speed as he did in the 2000 Guineas, he could post the upset win in this field. He still has to beat Tiz the Law, with 117 and 112 figures earned in his last two starts, but considering this will be only his second start as a three year old, Fore Left may be able to do just that.

There’s little question Tiz the Law is the horse to beat based on his body of work and particularly his two races this year. Rested two months after a poor third in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes last fall, Tiz the Law was a powerful winner of the Holy Bull Stakes with a career-best and field high 117 figure which remains the highest stakes winning figure by any thee year old in North America even four months later. Although he earned a lower 112 figure winning the Florida Derby, Tiz the Law did not need to run any faster after he opened up by a length in the stretch and jockey Manual Franco noted there were no challengers coming. When a horse has earned two consecutive figures which are both higher than any other horse in the field, it’s known as a “double advantage” and these horses win a high percentage of the time. Considering how well Tiz the Law ran off a similar layoff in the Holy Bull, and the colt has excellent tactical speed which is likely to have him in third or fourth position early and in range of the leaders at the critical stage of the race, Tiz the Law is a legitimate favorite and the most probable to win the race. The only proviso is how strong a horse like Fore Left may be if allowed an easy lead from the start as horses can get very courageous when allowed to run that way.

Sole Volante was my top choice in the Sam F. Davis Stakes on this page in February off his third place effort in his first dirt start prior to that. Not only had trainer Patrick Biancone already proved prescient with the move as Ete Indien had run very well a couple of weeks earlier, but Sole Volante had tremendous dam side breeding for running well in stakes on dirt. The other foal of the dam, Explode, was multiple stakes placed at distances from nine to 10 furlongs. Sole Volante rewarded those who bet him in the Sam F. Davis with a win at 5 to 1 odds and earned a career best dirt figure of 108. One month later in the Tampa Bay Derby, Sole Volante rallied from 11th of 12 early but couldn’t catch the winner and ended up second. Taking three months off, Sole Volante was very impressive with a big burst of speed in the stretch to win 10 days ago. Even though that was not a stakes race, the 107 figure was stakes quality. Sole Volante is likely to be near the back of the pack early but if there is any sort of pace battle early or if the early fractions are faster than average, Sole Volante could be passing the field late for his second graded stakes win of the year.

Honorable mention goes to Tap It to Win and Dr Post as both are on the verge of breakthrough performances. Tap It to Win won a sprint in May in his three year old debut with a 99 figure, then improved to a 108 figure effort 16 days ago. That win came in a one-turn route at Belmont not much different from the Belmont Stakes. Because of the level of the race, there’s no way to know the class of the horses he beat but as a son of Tapit and with the ground saving rail Tap It to Win may take the needed step forward to compete with these. Dr Post shows a similar pattern as he stretched out to a mile and one-sixteenth off a sprint in his most recent start and won well. He improved from a 92 figure to 101 so he appears to be a bit behind Tap It to Win but three year olds still have potential to take a big leap forward from race to race, particularly lightly raced ones like Dr Post.

Win & Place: Fore Left at odds of 6 to 1 or more.
Win: Sole Volante at odds of 7 to 2 or more.
(We will have to find other pools to make money if Tiz the Law wins)

When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exactas:
All over Fore Left (this is instead of the place bet above because, particularly if Tiz the Law wins, it will likely pay more than if you bet the same amount of money {$9 at the $1 minimum in this case) to place.

Sole Volante, Fore Left and Tiz the Law over Sole Volante, Fore Left and Tiz the Law, Tap It To Win and Dr Post.

Trifectas:
Sole Volante, Fore Left and Tiz the Law over Sole Volante, Fore Left, Tiz the Law, Tap It To Win and Dr Post over Sole Volante, Fore Left, Tiz the Law, Tap It To Win and Dr Post.

Sole Volante over Tap It to Win, Fore Left, Tiz the Law and Dr Post over ALL.
Tap It to Win, Fore Left, Tiz the Law and Dr Post over Sole Volante over ALL.