Team Tuley’s Thoroughbred Takes on Saturday’s Belmont card 6/11


Welcome to Belmont Weekend (note: this column has been updated with additional plays after early scratches on Saturday).
There’s no Triple Crown on the line and we don’t even get a rematch of Derby winner Rich Strike and Preakness winner Early Voting, but it’s still the last leg of the Triple Crown and at the distance of 1 1/2 miles, which none of these 3-year-olds have been tested this far and likely will never have to run this far again.
Three weeks ago, our team was led by Rampart race and sports book manager Duane Colucci as he was all over Preakness winner Early Voting. We’ll see who has the Belmont handicapped correctly as our picks are below as we’re joined by my regular friends Ed Sehon (though he’s on a European Vacation with his long-suffering bride – just kidding) and John Lauro, plus DraftKings director of race and sports book operations John Avello. With the way Colucci doped out the Preakness, we’ll let him bat leadoff.
Team Tuley continues its mission of searching for value from coast to coast and we’ve added more plays from the original post with more picks on the Belmont card plus plays at Gulfstream Park in Florida and even Woodbine in Canada.
Good luck today (and every day).



Belmont Race No. 8 (3:53 p.m. ET/12:53 p.m. PT)

Dave Tuley likes #9 Filo Di Arianna (20-1 morning line) in the Grade 1 Jaipur Stakes. “Most people look for speed horses in sprint races, but closers win plenty of times. There should be a decent pace to run at with True Valour and Arrest Me Red to set up the closing kick of Filo Di Arianna. He’s 4-for-5 lifetime and showed he knows the way to the winner’s circle in Brazil. He threw in a dud at Keeneland in April (which is why we’re getting this juicy price), but look at the closing move in his prior race at Woodbine. Wager: Win and Place (plus I’ll use in exotics with several horses, including #13 Gregorian Chant (8-1) with my Belmont jockey Joel Rosario.”

Belmont Race No. 9 (4:43 p.m. ET/1:43 p.m. PT)

John Lauro likes #1 Flightline (1-2 morning line). “Best Bet of the Year. He’s a freak at one turn. I hope they let him go all out. A track record is possible if the track is sealed.”

Woodbine Race No. 7 (4:20 p.m. ET/1:20 p.m. PT)

Dave Tuley likes #7 Mo Touring (15-1 morning line) in the ungraded Stella Artois Fury Stakes. “This Mark Casse-trained filly makes her 3-year-old debut and could steal it on the front end. Casse hits at 15 percent in non-graded stakes and uses go-to jockey Kazushi Kimura as they’re hitting at 32 percent the past two months. Mo Touring has also been working up a storm. Wager: Win and Place.”

Belmont Race No. 10 (5:38 p.m. ET/2:38 p.m. PT)

Dave Tuley likes #1 L’Imperator (15-1 morning line) in the Grade 1 Manhattan. “This Chad Brown trainee went wire-to-wire last time out after setting a very slow pace in the Grade 2 Fort Marcy. He’s capable of doing that again, but we suspect he’ll revert to his usual off-the-pace running style and get a ground-saving trip from the rail under Eric Cancel to set up his closing kick. Wager: Win and Place.”

Gulfstream Race No. 12 (5:51 p.m. ET/2:51 p.m. PT)

Dave Tuley likes #8 Klugman (8-1 morning line) in the ungraded Not Surprising Stakes. “Trainer Edward Plesa Jr. is trying to find the right spot for this late-developing 3-year-old. Klugman should be the speed of the speed and shouldn’t have any problem stretching out from sprints to this 1 1/16-mile route distance. Wager: Win (Place only if he drifts up to 10-1).”

Dave Tuley Ed Sehon (aka Mr. Ed) Duane Colucci
VSiN senior reporter VSiN handicapper Rampart R&S manager
1. #8 Barber Road (10-1) 1. #5 Creative Minister (6-1) 1. #4 Rich Strike (7-2)
2. #1 We the People (2-1) 2. #3 Nest (8-1) 2. #3 Nest (8-1)
3. #4 Rich Strike (7-2) 3. #2 Skippylongstocking (20-1) 3. #6 Mo Donegal (5-2)
LS: #5 Creative Minister (6-1) LS: #4 Rich Strike (7-2) LS: #2 Skippylongstocking (20-1)
John Avello John Lauro CONSENSUS
DraftKings Director of R&S VSiN handicapper 1. #4 Rich Strike (7-2)
1. #8 Barber Road (10-1) 1. #4 Rich Strike (7-2) 2. #3 Nest (8-1)
2. #6 Mo Donegal (5-2) 2. #3 Nest (8-1) 3. #8 Barber Road (10-1)
3. #3 Nest (8-1) 3. #1 We the People (2-1) 4. #1 We the People (2-1)
LS: #7 Golden Glider (20-1) LS: #2 Skippylongstocking (20-1) LS: #2 Skippylongstocking (20-1)


Belmont Race No. 11 (6:44 p.m. ET/3:44 p.m. PT)

Duane Colucci likes #4 Rich Strike (7-2 morning line). “Derby winner has been galloping well at Belmont and worked lights out over at Churchill on May 30. Will need some pace but should have no problem with the distance. Trainer Eric Reed is 22 percent off a 30-60 day layoff. Rich Strike will probably be shorter than 7-2 but should be rolling late. If he can beat Epicenter and Zandon, he can win here. #3 Nest (8-1) is my second choice as this filly has won over 4 different surfaces, including a 1 1/8-mile score at Aqueduct, showing no distance limitations. She had a rough trip in the Oaks and naturally Irad Ortiz Jr. sticks with Mo Donegal, but Jose Ortiz is the perfect replacement. The ladies usually fare well in the Belmont and I don’t see why she can’t. Todd Pletcher wouldn’t enter her if she wasn’t capable. #6 Mo Donegal (5-2) is the wise-guy horse and comes in fit off a solid finish in the Derby. Irad Ortiz Jr. retains the mount and will have him a little closer than in Kentucky in case Flavien Prat gets away to an easy lead [under #1 We the People]. Ortiz and Pletcher are combining for 29 percent wins at Belmont, so he’s gonna be tough. The key to this race is someone must press the Peter Pan winner We the People, especially if the track shows a speed bias easily in the card. Bet 4 to Win and key 4 over 1,3 and 6 in Exactas, Trifectas and reverse.”

John Lauro also likes #4 Rich Strike (7-2). “I’m going against Mo Donegal and Creative Minister and taking Rich Strike to stay at the head of the class of this 3-year-old crop. I also like #3 Nest and #1 We the People, plus longshot #2 Skippylongstocking.”

Ed Sehon likes #5 Creative Minister (6-1 morning line). “Considering his previous lack of stakes competition and his excellent third-place finish at Pimlico three weeks ago, I fully expect my Preakness pick to move forward while stretching out to a mile and a half. I plan to watch his victory from a martini bar within the shadow of the Eiffel Tower around midnight Paris time. Viva la Minister! Wager: Win.”

John Avello likes #8 Barber Road (10-1). “I’m not using Rich Strike. Jumping from where he was to where he went in the Derby is about as far as you can go. I’m looking at #8 Barber Road, who should be a little closer to the pace like he was in his earlier races. He gets jockey Joel Rosario, which is a big upgrade from Reylu Gutierrez. Mo Donegal might go off as the favorite, and I’m using him in exotics. I also give a shot to the filly, #3 Nest, as I like her running style. My longshot is #7 Golden Glider (20-1). I almost put him 3rd, but I think Nest has a better chance to win; however, I wouldn’t be surprised if Golden Glider gets into the 2nd spot so I’m using him in some Exactas.”

Dave Tuley also likes #8 Barber Road (10-1). “Avello and I independently landed on this grandson of Tapit, who has sired four Belmont winners, before we even talked this week, so he has the breeding for the grueling 1 1/2-mile distance. Barber Road is a consistent closer. I know that doesn’t always mean these types will continue to close at longer distances, but I'd rather have that ability working for my money. He also gets top closer Joel Rosario as Avello also cited. I believe this race will set up for a closer (and also as Avello said, Barber Road should be closer to the pace than his other races), though I am concerned that #1 We the People (note: another grandson of Tapit) could run away and steal this. As Colucci said, we hope someone pushes the pace along with We the People. I’ll have Exactas with Barber Road over my next three choices (#1 We the People, #4 Rich Strike and #5 Creative Minister), but I’ll also have several savers with We the People over Barber Road just in case he doesn’t get to the front-runner.”

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