Belmont at the Big A Best Bets

With one week until the Preakness, all eyes will be on Kenny McPeak, trainer of Mystic Dan, who is expected to announce if we will have the Derby winner in the Preakness today. While we wait for news, we’ve got some great racing today! Belmont at the Big A features four stakes races and Santa Anita and Churchill both have great cards! Let’s look at some Belmont at the Big A best bets.

The Peter Pan, Belmont at the Big A, Race #6

With Tuscan Gold headed to the Preakness, we are down to a field of six, but this is still a very competitive race. #3 The Wine Steward returns after a tough loss to Encino in the Lexington Stakes and, with a step forward today, would be a Belmont contender in four weeks. He has tactical speed, which should help in today’s shorter field, and has shown the ability to pass horses in the lane.

 

#7 Deterministic returns off his disappointing Wood effort. The setup is better today, but the distance is still a concern after that lack of luster effort.

A return of form to the Gotham effort would make him tough today. Everything went wrong for #6 Antiquarian when he tried stakes company for the first time at Fairgrounds. He broke through the gate, got pinched early and was hung wide. With less horses today, he should get a cleaner trip, but he is still unproven verses stakes company.

The wild card is #2 Unique Insight who is coming off back-to-back wins against much lighter competitors. He will step up in class and likely to right to the lead. A repeat of his last effort over the off going puts him right in this.

Picks: 3-2-7-6

Belmont at the Big A Best Bets:
$50 Win – 3
$10 Exacta Box 2,3

Man o’ War Stakes, Belmont at the Big A, Race #7

The biggest turf race of the day features the biggest star as well. #9 Nations Pride returns stateside of Charlie Appleby. He will make his 2024 debut after earning over $1M both of the last two years while globetrotting. Last time we saw him on this side of the pond was at Woodbine in the Grade 1 Canadian Invitational. A return to that effort will make him tough in this spot.

Appleby does have another in here, #8 Silver Knott who was finally able to break though last time out off a nice trip in the Elkhorn. This group is tougher, specifically his stablemate, but Silver Knott was always a highly thought of horse who may be coming into his own in his 4-year-old season.

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott sends out a very interesting horse in this spot as well, #6 Greek Order. He shipped in from Europe to run at Keeneland and was the favorite while running 5th. It’s extremely encouraging that Mott decides to step him up in class off that effort. The trip was awful, he hopped at the start and had to steady while wide the entire race. At 15-1, he is a player in here with the added distance which he will relish.

 #5 Tawny Port is one of three exiting the Grade 2 Pan American Turf at Gulfstream. While he ran third that day, this race sets up much better for him. He’s got a shot at getting the perfect trip behind speed ball So High, which would make him dangerous in this field.

Picks: 9-6-8-5

Belmont at the Big A Best Bets:
$25 Exacta 9 / 6$10 Trifecta 9 / 6,8 / 6,8

Spot Plays:
Belmont at the Big A, Race #8 – $50 Win #4
Belmont at the Big A, Race #9 – $10 Trifecta 1 / 2,8 / 2,8

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