From Baltimore to Belmont Park, the east coast is the bastion of the horse racing world this Saturday. Laurel Park hosts its Maryland Millions Day with seven stakes races offering prize money of at least $100,000. The seven feature deep fields, alternate picks, and offer horse players the chance at big tickets. Unfortunately, not as big as the Billion Dollar Mega Millions.
Nonetheless, you'll want to make sure you have our Maryland Millions Wagering Guide for our insights, commentary and picks.
The track at Belmont is running eight high priced stakes races.
Let's see if we can fatten up the bankroll with Belmont's early pick 4 in races two through five.
Race two's IROQUOIS STAKES is 6.5-furlongs on the dirt for fillies and mares that are three-years-old and up. Ten ladies will take to the main track for $150 grand in prize money. Meet-to-date, the distance and surface has favored front runners. Early speed bias has won 63% of the 27 races with 41% going wire-to-wire.
The horses that fit that profile include:
Pauseforthecause (PP: 1 ML 8-1) Royal Inheritance (PP: 2 ML 30-1) I Still Miss You (PP: 3 ML 15-1) Filibustin (PP: 8 ML 20-1) Palladian Bridge (PP: 9 ML 12-1) Picco Uno (PP: 10 ML 9/2)
Six horses out of a field of 10 is most likely too much front-end speed. Early fractions could be blistering, opening the door to stalker closer types, which is how our top choice HOLIDAY DISGUISE runs. Here is our pro-subscribers' full commentary for the IROQUOIS STAKES.
"HOLIDAY DISGUISE is making her second start of the shelf and should show more. Trainer Linda Rice wins 25% of second starts. PICO UNO usually comes off the bench firing. She'll contest for the lead with 41% wire-to-wire bias at distance/surface. SATISFY has won going away four of five races, with a second. PAUSEFORTHE CAUSE smashed her foes in her last two, by 5 1/4 and 6 1/4."
The MOHAWK STAKES is 1 1/16th miles on the turf for three-year-olds foaled in New York. Nine boys will try to tackle the turf and take home their share of $200,000. So far, there have only been eight races of 1 1/16th on the grass. That's not enough to draw any conclusions or determine durable biases.
Experience says to expect horses that come off the pace to have an advantage, and that's the way our handicapper calls it.
"OFFERING PLAN has been charging hard late and just missing, he is due. RED KNIGHT is making his third start after a layoff. Has won five of seven on the turf. HOBOE came out and ran his best speed figure after a year off, that's impressive. KHARAFA is always competitive and makes a late run for the money."
The HUDSON HANDICAP moves the race back to 6.5-furlongs on the dirt, again for boys foaled in New York. As we mentioned for the IROQUOIS STAKES, speed is a heavily influential factor. Unlike the girls' race, only a few of the boys are natural front runners. A few show early speed, but only EYE LUV LULU'S past performances are littered with 1s, from marker to marker and race to race.
Lone speed in a group of nine, where 41% have won on the lead all the way around the track, makes Lulu's 9/2 morning line odds very attractive. It seems to have caught our handicapper's eye too.
"EYE LUV LULU will jump out of the box in a hurry and early speed is an advantage, 41% winners wire-to-wire. MY BOY TATE is making his third start after a layoff. Trainer Michelle Nevin wins 25% of third starts. LONG HAUL BAY trainer and jockey combo or Chad Brown and Manuel Franco won two of their last three together with a third. RUNAWAY LUTE had the highest speed rating last out, winning big."
The last leg of the early pick 4 is the fifth's TICONDEROGA STAKES. This one is 1 1/16th miles on the inner turf. The inner turf at Belmont is a bit different as it's a one and a half turn race. The horses come out of the gates in an early straightaway, hook a sharp left turn down the backstretch, take the turn and come home.
The set up hasn't favored any running style, splitting the first 16 races between early speed and closing types. Considering the lack of a running style edge, horse players might be wise to have a mix of styles on their tickets, which is how we have it.
Our top choice, FIFTY FIVE (PP: 7) is a closer. Our second pick, LA MONEDA (PP: 6) is a stalker. Our third pick, LOVELY LA LA (PP: 8) just won gate-to-wire.
Hopefully, our commentary and selections help you find some nice tickets early on at Belmont. Make sure you get the rest of Belmont's big races and all our Picks and Commentary for today's tracks.