Manhattan Stakes – Race 10 at Belmont – Post Time 5:38 PM Eastern

Master Piece, Channel Cat, Gufo, Domestic Spending and Colonel Liam are the win contenders.

As such, and with Brown having four entrants in this race, I’ll turn my attention to Master Piece first. Winner of four in a row in late 2019 in his native Chile, including one of the biggest races in South American among a field of 16, Master Piece made his second U.S. start and first following six months off in mid-April at Keeneland. Among that field were a number of stakes quality runners and in the end Master Piece won rather easily. The 111 Equibase figure gives us a comparison as he runs in his first U.S. Stakes and that figure stands up very well as Colonel Liam and Domestic Spending earned a 112 figure in the Turf Classic. With improving to do in his second start off a layoff, having won at this 10 furlong trip previously and with 6/1 starting odds for Brown, Master Piece gets top billing.

Channel Cat opens at double the odds of Master Piece, 12/1 to be exact, and that makes no sense as he just won the Grade 1 Man o’War Stakes on the Belmont Turf four weeks ago. Granted he was 8 to 1 that day but it wasn’t a fluke as he had just finished second in the Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes one month earlier. Having earned $1.3 million to date the only question is whether he can run well at this 10 furlong trip but I say he should do just fine cutting back from 11 to 10 furlongs particularly with John Velazquez having ridden him so well in the Man o’ War.

Gufo was the even money favorite when missing by a neck in the Man o’ War yet opens at 5 to 1 here because of the depth of the field. He could just as easily have a career record of eight-for-nine as five-for-nine as besides the nose defeat last month, he missed by a neck in the Hollywood Derby last November and by a head in the Saratoga Derby last summer. Both those defeats came at the hands of Domestic Spending, but that’s not to say Gufo is any less likely to win with his best effort today.

Domestic Spending and Colonel Liam were inseparable in the Turf Classic last month. Combined, these two have won 10 of 12 races on turf and both are indisputably talented. On the other side of the coin, opening at odds of 5/2 and 3/1, respectively, they offer no value for wagering compared to others. As such, we should definitely use them on double and pick 3 tickets played but otherwise hope one of the other contenders has his day in the sun for a better profit.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Master Piece should be bet to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more, Channel Cat at odds of 4 to 1 or more.

Based on the morning line both should be above those thresholds.

In case either is withdrawn, or the odds are high enough, Gufo can be considered for a win bet at 4 to 1 or more.

When making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. A Dutching tool lets you set the amount you want to bet or the amount you want to win, then based on the odds your bets are proportioned accordingly. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exacta: The strategy is to play two exacta boxes separating the two favorites (Domestic Spending and Colonel Liam) as the lowest paying exactas in order to maximize our profit:

Box Master Piece, Channel Cat, Gufo, Domestic Spending

Box Master Piece, Channel Cat, Gufo, Colonel Liam

Trifecta: (here is where we can use all five contenders)

Box Master Piece, Channel Cat, Gufo, Domestic Spending and Colonel Liam

Doubles:

Race 10: Master Piece, Channel Cat, Gufo, Domestic Spending and Colonel Liam

Race 11: Rock Your World, Essential Quality, Known Agenda

Pick 3:

Race 10: Master Piece, Channel Cat, Gufo, Domestic Spending and Colonel Liam

Race 11: Rock Your World, Essential Quality, Known Agenda

Race 12: Big Al’s Gal, My Lips are Sealed, Kinky Sox, English Breeze and Magnetique

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Belmont Stakes – Race 11 at Belmont – Post Time 6:49 PM Eastern

Rock Your World, Essential Quality and Known Agenda are the win contenders.

The strategy for Rock Your World in the Derby was to go to the lead just as he had done one month earlier winning the Santa Anita Derby, earning a career best 103 Equibase Speed Figure in the process. That plan was laid to rest immediately when one of jockey Joel Rosario’s feet came out of the irons, resulting in a shift in his weight and more importantly, the inability to get the colt to the front. From there both horse and jockey could do nothing but watch as his #1 weapon was neutralized. Shipping back to California for three strong workouts, the most recent a five furlong drill in 58.4 which was the best of 34 on the day, lightning is highly unlikely to strike twice. As such, Rock Your World should be able to control the pace from the start, possibly slowing the tempo down to below average, and go on for the win in the same manner as a number of winners of the Belmont in the last 20 years such as D’ Tara, Justify and American Pharoah.

In spite of finishing fourth of 19 as the betting favorite in the Derby, Essential Quality continued a pattern of improvement started in his first start of the year as a three year old in February. The talented colt won the Southwest Stakes with a 105 figure before a career-best 109 figure in the Blue Grass Stakes in April. In the Derby, Essential Quality made a rallying move while wide to go from seventh (five and one-half lengths back) to fourth (three-quarters of a length back) with a quarter mile to go but ran evenly thereafter. Although the 109 figure was the same, one thing Essential Quality has in his favor for the Belmont is his tactical speed because if he sits second in the early stages as he did in the Blue Grass, he may be able to pass Rock Your World in the final strides where he was unable to pass Medina Spirit in the Derby. The reason for this is his pedigree, as Essential Quality is the only son of Tapit in the field. Tapit produced the 2014 (Tonalist), 2016 (Creator) and 2017 (Tapwrit) winners of the Belmont. Tapit produces horses which can run 12 furlongs and more as evidenced by STATS Race Lens Query which reveals the sire has produced 13 different winners at distances from a mile and one-half to two miles over the last five years, accounting for 18 wins, with six of those coming at Belmont Park.

Known Agenda ran just a bit less poorly in the Derby as opposed to Rock Your World, checking in ninth after advancing from last of 19 in the early stages. That’s insignificant as compared to his two races prior to that. He added blinkers for the first of the pair in February and won by 11 lengths with a 103 figure. Next he won the Florida Derby with a 112 figure and did so easily. Known Agenda is trained by Todd Pletcher, as is Bourbonic and Overtook. Pletcher has won this race with Rags to Riches (2007), Palace Malice (2013) and Tapwrit (2017). Considering his win in the Florida Derby earned a 112 figure, which is the best figure earned by any horse in this field, and considering North American leading jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. rides the colt for the fourth straight time, Known Agenda could bounce back to top form and post the mile upset to win.

About some of the others:

As for Rombauer, although he has improved in each race as a three year old, going from a 95 figure, to 100, to 103 in the Preakness, I have concerns about his ability to run a mile and one-half as well as his ability to stay close early. Historically, a few horses have come from far back which is the way Rombauer likes to run, but for the most part winners of the Belmont have either led from the start or been within two lengths for most of the race. Considering the likely early pace edge Rock Your World possesses, Rombauer could be relegated to a minor award. Similarly, Hot Rod Charlie’s third place effort in the Derby may give bettors incentive to bet him more heavily than is appropriate given his somewhat low probability to win in my opinion. Hot Rod Charlie earned a 97 figure when beaten a neck by Medina Spirit in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes in January, before improving to 99 when winning the Louisiana Derby in April. In the Kentucky Derby, Hot Rod Charlie moved up quickly after a half-mile to get into third position then kept that same position the entire last six furlongs of the race. It is possibly he could be sitting in second behind Rock Your World in the early portions of the Belmont instead of Essential Quality, but I see jockey Luis Saez on Essential Quality being more aggressive from his inside post and denying Hot Rod Charlie that opportunity, which means he would have to out finish Rock Your World who has run slowly on the lead from the start. Considering he couldn’t pass Medina Spirit the entire length of the stretch in the Derby, I think that’s a tall order.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Rock Your World at odds of 2 to 1 or more.

Trifecta: (Due to an eight horse field and some low odds this is a better bang-for-your-buck option than the exacta)

Essential Quality, Known Agenda and Rock Your World over Essential Quality, Known Agenda and Rock Your World over Essential Quality, Known Agenda, Rock Your World, Rombauer, Hot Rod Charlie

Doubles

Race 11: Rock Your World, Essential Quality, Known Agenda

Race 12: Big Al’s Gal, My Lips are Sealed, Kinky Sox, English Breeze and Magnetique

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Race 12 at Belmont – Post Time 7:34 PM Eastern

Big Al’s Gal, My Lips are Sealed, Kinky Sox, English Breeze and Magnetique are the win contenders

Big Al’s Gal opens at impossible to pass up 15/1 odds. She broke her maiden last summer in a turf route at Saratoga for NY breds and stretches back out to a route while running on turf for the first time since last November. She won in April off a layoff then finished third last out so she’s in form and Jose Ortiz rides.

My Lips Are Sealed may be the one to catch and since this mile isn’t around two turns may not be disadvantaged by the outside post. She won last November in her second career start and won her most recent start against open company so the change to NY breds only gives her a nice shot.

Kinky Sox missed by a neck at seven furlongs on turf in an identical race at 9 to 1 odds so you’d think she would be much lower here but she opens at 12/1 which makes her impossible to ignore as a betting contender.

English Breeze and Magnetique finished fifth and third, respectively, in a common race under these conditions last month and both have competitive efforts in their recent past to run back to which if repeated put them in the hunt so we’ll consider them as well.

Handicapper Picks

Win bets: Big Al’s Gal and My Lips Are Sealed at 3 to 1 or more.

I would not hesitate to be Kinky Sox to win at 4 to 1 or more as well.

This is another race where a DUTCHING tool does us a lot of good and helps us to make a profit. A Dutching tool, like the one which is free to use at Amwager.com, saves us doing the math to determine the right wagering amounts.

Exacta: Box Big Al’s Gal, My Lips are Sealed, Kinky Sox, English Breeze and Magnetique