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How to Bet the Belmont Stars & Stripes Festival All-Stakes Pick 4

by Dustin Fabian

July 3, 2019

It’s a huge weekend in horse racing and Belmont Park’s Stars & Stripes Racing Festival is at the top of the list of ‘must watch’ and ‘must wager.’

Must wager because Belmont has tweaked their Wager Menu, opening up the 50-cent Late Pick 5 to all outlets effective July 3.  Previously, this wager was only available through select outlets in New York.  Plus, they’re also offering a $500,000 Guaranteed All-Stakes Pick 4 (Races 7 – 10) that is simply too good to pass up.

Plus, at Xpressbet, we’re upping the ante by offering a 1 Million Point Split of anyone who cashes a ticket on that Pick 4. 

The All-Stakes Pick 4 includes the Belmont Oaks (Race 7), John A. Nerud (Race 8), Belmont Derby (Race 9) and Suburban (Race 10)

Before revealing my ticket, let’s talk through a few recent trends for the big two races.

Belmont Derby

  • Since its inception in 2014 (it was previously the Jamaica Handicap and held in October), the Belmont Derby has, somewhat surprisingly, been won by US-based horses in 4-of-5 years.  The lone European-based winner in that span was Aidan O’Brien’s Deauville, who prevailed by a neck in 2016.
  • Additionally, US-based horses have accounted for 9-of-15 Trifecta placings over the last five years, but it must be noted that the race has never been swept by an American trio.  And, in 2017, the 2nd and 3rd place finisher were European.
  • No favorite has won the Belmont Derby, but two were runner-up.
  • Aidan O'Brien, Europe's most recognizable trainer, has been represented by a winner, a runner-up and a third-place finisher in five tries.

Belmont Oaks

  • Chad Brown has won this race in 3-of-5 years and he swept the Trifecta in 2017 with New Money Honey, Sistercharlie and Uni. 
  • Europe won its first Belmont Oaks last year as Aidan O’Brien’s Athena powered down the stretch to win by 2 1/2 lengths.
  • Horses who made their most recent start in the US have accounted for 9-of-15 Trifecta races in Belmont Oaks history, but just 2-of-6 horses fit that bill in the last two years. 

And here's how I'm betting the All-Stakes Pick 4: 

Race 7 (4:30PM ET) - Belmont Oaks (G1, $750K) - 1 1/4 Miles on the Turf

When I watched #9 Cambier Parc reel in stablemate, #2 Newspaperofrecord, late in the G3 Wonder Again Stakes, my immediate reaction was that the latter was done. Finished. Washed up. The defending Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner was now 0-for-2 without any excuse. But then I cracked into the fractions and saw Cambier Parc powered home the last quarter in 22.05s and the last eighth in 11.08s.  So while Newspaperofrecord clipped off fractions of 22.49s and 11.49s - incredibly admirable - she just couldn't hold off her stablemate.  What happens here?  Especially with #4 Concrete Rose in the group.  Remember, she beat Newspaperofrecord on the square at Churchill in the G3 Edgewood.  Plus, Chad Brown's 'other' horse #5 CAFE AMERICANO, looks formidable off just two starts.  The Aidan O'Brien horses aren't in good form - #6 JUST WONDERFUL and #3 CORAL BEACH so I'll pass on them.  The Japanese filly, #7 JODIE, is intriguing but this is a lot to ask and this is a strong field.  The international horse to have on the ticket may be #1 OLENDON, who is based in France for Pascal Bary.  My Pick 4 ticket will include all three Chad Brown fillies, plus Olendon.  

Pick 4 Horses: #1 Olendon, #2 Newspaperofrecord, #5 Cafe Americano, #9 Cambier Parc

Race 8 (5:05PM ET) - John A. Nerud Stakes (G2, $300K) - 7 Furlongs on the Dirt

Dale Romans, trainer of #9 Promises Fulfilled, had to be doing backflips when the entires for this were taken and Mitole wasn't among them. Or X Y Jet. Or Roy H. Because, let's face it, Promises Fulfilled is a very nice horse. But he's also a very nice horse that needs the lead and, unfortunately, he's just a step below those horses.  So when he lined up against Mitole in the G1 Churchill Downs and the G1 Met Mile, it just wasn't going to be his day.  He fought valiantly in both races but came up a few lengths short in both.  Now, he looks like the controlling speed and his outside post will give Luis Saez options if someone inside of him (Killbegs Captain, perhaps) wants to go to the lead.  Inside-drawn #2 New York Central ran a big race against a weaker field in the Maryland Sprint Stakes on Preakness Day and is improving as a 4YO.  #7 Do Share would love a pace meltown and #8 Pat On the Back is a NY-bred that is 5-for-10 at Belmont and ran well in the Cigar Mile last fall.  

Pick 4 Horses: #2 New York Central, #9 Promises Fulfilled

Race 9 (5:44PM ET) - Belmont Derby (G1, $1 Million) - 1 1/4 Miles on the Turf

15 horses entered the Belmont Derby and since only 14 can start, #15 He's No Lemon is stuck on the also-eligible list and will only run if there's a scratch.  As noted above, American horses have fared well in this race, but Aidan O'Brien should always be respected and he's in with two here - #9 Cape of Good Hope and #11 Blenheim Palace.  Neither would be a shock, but neither will be favored, either.  Of the Americans, the only ones I'm really interested in come from the barn of Chad Brown.  He sends out four here - #2 Standard Deviation, #12 Demarchelier, #13 Digital Age and #14 Rockemperor.  While the latter three are drawn far outside, I'm not too worried about posts.  There's a long run into the first turn and plenty of room to sort things out without getting stuck wide.  I'm not going to include any of the three Triple Crown trail horses on my ticket.  Those are #5 Plus Que Parfait (KY Derby), #7 Master Fencer (KY Derby, Belmont) and #10 Spinoff (KY Derby, Belmont). 

Pick 4 Horses: #2 Standard Deviation, #3 Seismic Wave, #8 Social Paranoa, #9 Cape of Good Hope, #12 Demarchelier, #13 Digital Age, #14 Rockemperor

Race 10 (6:18PM ET) - Suburban Stakes (G2, $700K) - 1 1/4 Miles on the Dirt

Ultimately, this race comes down to Catholic Boy vs Everyone Else.  And it's hard to bet against Catholic Boy.  Last year's Traver winner got a nice prep in the G2 Dixie on Preakness Day and is the horse to beat, despite his inside post.  He may face some pressure from the up-and-coming #4 Marconi, who won the G2 Brooklyn last out over a fast-charging #3 Rocketry, who loves this track and distance.  I think Rocketry is the only possible upsetter and is worth including in a ticket.  #11 Pavel has "been there, done that" ans has earned $2 Million the hard way, but these horses are just better than he is.

Pick 4 Horses: #1 Catholic Boy

My Ticket

Race 7 - 1, 2, 5, 9
Race 8 - 2, 9
Race 9 - 2, 3, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14
Race 10 - 1
Ticket Cost - $28 for 50-cents