by Jerry Shottenkirk
July 7, 2018
Hit Belmont's All-Stakes Late Pick 4 today to win a Split of 1 Million XB Rewards Points!
One of America’s best sprinters (check the 10-20 record, $1.6 million in earnings) has a running style that doesn’t lend itself to consistency, but any lack of success isn’t from a shortage of effort. He mostly runs from far back and often has a strong presence in the stretch.
The 5-year-old Pleasantly Perfect gelding has been seven furlongs only ONCE, and an appearance in the Grade 2 Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes will make it start No. 2 at the distance. The vast majority of his races have been at six furlongs, and the additional furlong here should be enough. He went seven in the G2 Churchill Downs Handicap but that one was over a sloppy track and he couldn’t successfully cut through the kickback.
The Ron Moquett charge has lost two straight, and in his latest he closed with a rush and missed to Imperial Heir by a neck in the 6.5-furlong, Grade 2 True North. He has a second and a third in three Belmont starts and is perfectly placed to get his first win over Big Sandy. There is little chance of less than scorching fractions and the small size of the field (six) eliminates a lot of the traffic problems he often encounters.
A fast track, no chance of rain (as of Friday evening), a rapid pace and a short field all point to a big day for Whitmore and jockey Ricardo Santana. A huge effort is expected – enough of a run to make him a single on this Pick 4 ticket for races 7-10.
This $60 suggested ticket uses all 10 entrants in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational (8th), three in the Grade 2 Suburban Stakes and four in the Grade 1 Belmont Derby Invitiatonal Stakes.
The Suburban is in the featured slot and looks good for a pair of Bob Baffert trainees and last year’s Belmont Stakes winner. Baffert sends out upstart Dr. Dorr and the outstanding oldtimer Hoppertunity in the 1 1-4-mile event, and each is worthy of inclusion. Dr. Dorr scratched out of the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap on Friday for this, and Hoppertunity put the hurt on some of these when he ran off to a sharp and widening win in the Grade 2 Brooklyn over this strip. He’s turn back from 1.5 miles and at this distance has won only once but has earned $2.3 million – just at this distance. He’s won $4.6 million overall and is often amazing.
Tapwrit is a Todd Pletcher rep in the Suburban and has had only one starts this year. On June 3 he was third in an allowance race at Belmont and had been off since being fourth behind West Coast in the Grade 1 Travers last August. His top effort came last year when he won the Belmont Stakes. He badly needed his last start and has no shortage of credibility over the track.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien brings in Hunting Horn for the Belmont Derby. He comes off a win in the Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot and there is little doubt of the talent. If shipping to a new course is not a problem, he will be a handful for the locals. Another interesting guest is the Pia Brandt-trained Kingstar, who has won two of three lifetime starts at Chantilly and Longchamp.
The top American hopes are Catholic Boy and Analyze It, who were 1-2, respectively, in the Grade 3 Pennine Ridge at Belmont.
Here’s the suggested ticket for the All-Stakes Late Pick 4 at Belmont Park:
Race 7: #2 Whitmore
Race 8: ALL (10 horses)
Race 9: #4 Tapwrit, #5 Dr. Dorr, #8 Hoppertunity
Race 10: #3 Analyze It, #4 Hunting Horn, #6 Kingstar, #7 Catholic Boy
50-cent Late Pick 4: 2 with ALL with 4-5-8 with 3-4-6-7 ($60)