by Jerry Shottenkirk
October 10, 2021
Much of the Late Pick 5 Sunday at Belmont Park looks good – good enough to take a pop at it and move up from my usual weekly Pick 4 journey.
Three graded stakes races – the G3 Futurity Stakes (5th), the G2 Beldame Stakes (6th), and the G3 Knickerbocker Stakes – make up the heart of Belmont’s Late Pick 5, and I’m jumping in with a suggested ticket that totals $108.
Here’s the strategy for the day:
5th Race (2:43 p.m. ET, G3 Futurity S.)
SLIPSTREAM has taken a big step up in performance in his last two races and looks ready for this level of competition. He comes in off a front-running maiden score but likely will be forced to do this one from off the pace, which seems to be fine. He improved position in his first two races and is in with runners that are just quicker than he is. That probably plays in his favor as he will be set up for a solid run.
Also on the ticket: MIDNIGHT WORKER, CHI TOWN LADY, POPPY FLOWER.
6th Race (3:15 p.m. ET, G2 Beldame S.)
ZAAJEL moves up to older fillies and mares and returns to where she had her finest triumph. The Street Sense filly came into her own when she scored a big-time upset over Always Carina and Clairiere in the Grade 2 Mother Goose over this strip. She tried sprinters in the Grade 1 Text but never got involved and is back to a longer distance.
Also on the ticket: ROYAL FLAG.
7th Race (3:49 p.m. ET, maiden claiming)
HOBOKEN JACK ran evenly vs. open maiden special weight company at Monmouth, which is probably a tougher spot than $50,000 maiden-claiming New York-breds. A good sign is a switch to hot-riding Paco Lopez, and the move to restricted company should be enough. It’s not a gimme by any means, but he looks to have an edge.
Also on the ticket: RED ROCK BAY, KONG LOVES A FIGHT.
8th Race (4:21 p.m. ET, G3 Knickerbocker S.)
SACRED LIFE has consistently shown late interest in his races, and that will comes in handy going 1 1-8 miles here. He was fourth the only time he tried this distance when he ran fourth as the 9-5 favorite in a Grade 1 at Keeneland. He tuned up for this with a fast-closing second to Breaking the Rules, a combatant today but not a choice on this ticket. That race was a mile, and the French-bred gets a distance more conducive to his running. He’s one of two talented Chad Brown runners in here, the other being L’IMPERATOR.
Also on the ticket: FIELD PASS, L’IMPERATOR.
9th Race (4:52 p.m. ET, maiden claiming)
MY BOY COLTON got on the front end and ran a good second in his latest, and a repeat of that will probably get it done for his in this one. The pace will be quicker and he might not get to the lead, but the turn back to a mile should help him with some late pop. The Pioneer of the Nile colt looks ready for graduation from the maiden ranks.
Also on the ticket: DEFERRED TAXES (1-1A entry), BAIL OUT.
Race 5) #2 Midnight Worker, #4 Slipstream, #5 Chi Town Lady, #8 Poppy Flower.
Race 6) #3 Zaajel, #8 Royal Flag.
Race 7) #1 Red Rock Bay, #2 Hoboken Jack, #7 Kong Loves a Fight.
Race 8) #1 Field Pass, #3 Sacred Life, #4 L’Imperator.
Race 9) #1 Deferred Taxes, #3 My Boy Colton, #8 Bail Out.
Total Ticket Cost) 2,4,5,8/3,8/1,2,7/1,3,4/1,3,8 = $108 for $0.50