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Saturday, June 20: Belmont Stakes Day Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

June 20, 2020

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.

It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.

Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.

Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.
Grade B=Solid Play.
Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.
Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.

The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.


RACE 1: Post 11:45 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 8-Scanno; 10-Souper Energizer; 11-Turn of Events

Forecast: The opener is a maiden $75,000 claimer over a mile on turf and requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Souper Energizer is listed at 8-1 on the morning line and may be as good as any. He’s a first-time gelding and relatively lightly-raced, so with some freshening since mid-March and with the switch to J. Rosario, the son of Hat Trick has a chance to build on his runner-up effort in a similar affair at Gulfstream Park when earning a career top speed figure. He’ll need another forward move to beat this field but following a recent series of solid workouts at Fair Hill he could have it in him. Scanno, in the frame in three of his last four starts, most recently when a narrow second in when facing a slightly softer field in Florida while well clear of the rest, switches to J. Castellano and should settle into a good second flight position and have his chance from there. As a nine-race maiden the son of Bernardini may be hard to trust, but he’s a fit on speed figures and shouldn’t have to improve much to win. Turn of Events shows up in a seller for the first time and has form earlier this year in Florida that puts him in the fray. We’ll toss out his poor run earlier this month over wet ground and key off his strong runner-up effort in his previous outing that produced a career top figure. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics; feel free to go deeper if your budget allows.

RACE 2: Post 12:25 ET. Grade: B+
Single: 3-Mischievous Alex

Forecast: The Woody Stephens S.-G1 is deep in contention but with a field of just five we have to take a stand to create a bit of value. Co-second choice at 5/2, Mischievous Alex is lightly raced, has proven to be very effective fresh, and has the perfect style for this extended sprint distance. Undefeated in two starts at this seven furlong trip and rested since winning the Gotham S.-G3 in early March, the son of Into Mischief should settle into an ideal stalking position behind the two other major contenders, No Parole and Echo Town, and then have his chance when the pressure is turned on in the final quarter mile. In a tough race to be sure, we’ll make him a straight play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 3: Post 1:02 ET. Grade: X
Use: 6-Indian Pride; 7-Mrs. Danvers

Forecast: Indian Pride returns to action in her first start since weakening late to finish third at 7/5 in the Raven Run S.-G2 at Keeneland last October (a poor start cost her) and has trained like she’s fit and ready to verify the strength of her debut maiden win, an eight-length romp with a powerful speed figure at Saratoga. The daughter of Proud Citizen trained superbly in Florida before shipping to Belmont Park and should return at least as good if not better than she left in this entry-level allowance sprint for fillies and mares. At even money on the morning line she’s unplayable in the win pool but she’s certainly a candidate to be no-value rolling exotic single. Those who would feel a bit more comfortable may choose to have Mrs. Danvers on a ticket as a back-up. Away since a nice maiden-breaking score at Saratoga last summer, the daughter of Tapit lands the cozy outside post and should settle early and then rally late in what probably will serve as a springboard to a stretch out in trip next time.

RACE 4: Post 1:42 ET. Grade: B+
Use: 1-Decorated Invader; 2-Venezuelan Hug

Forecast: The main contention in this year’s edition of the Pennine Ridge S.-G3 for 3-year-olds over a mile on turf is drawn inside. Decorated Invader, a race-shape aided winner of the Cutler Bay S. at Gulfstream Park in late March in his sophomore debut, most likely will have to overcome a much slower pace flow today but could be good enough anyway to score again for the powerful J. Rosario/C. Clemente jockey-trainer combo. Listed at 6/5 on the morning line, the son of Declaration of War colt likes to lag and blast home, so if he can remain in contact of the field to the head of the lane he’ll have his chance to wear down the leaders. Venezuelan Hug, claimed out of a maiden $40,000 affair in late March and two-time winner for his new connections since, gets tested for class today but this rapidly-developing son of Constitution could easily be up to the task. Much the best despite the narrow margin of victory in a recent starter optional claimer in late May, the D. Gargan-trained colt is a fit on speed figures and has improved in each of his four starts, so better is likely today. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and maybe in an exacta box as well.

RACE 5: Post 2:19 ET. Grade: B
Use: 2-O’Trouble; 5-Rare Stripe; 8-Happy Saver

Forecast: This is a stronger than par maiden special weight sprint and it will take a fairly decent colt to win it. Rare Stripe was well-meant in his debut but was pinballed and squeezed back at the start to lose valuable position and his best chance. The son of Flatter steadily moved into a mid-pack spot and then stayed on well to be a willing fourth in a race that was won by Dr Post (entered in the today’s Belmont Stakes). Now in the J. Sisterson barn, the Calumet Farm homebred has done some excellent work in the a.m. since that outing, most recently breezing a half mile in :47 1/5, the fastest of 97 for the distance at Keeneland. J. Rosario stays aboard and hopefully will get this colt to break sharply today. O’Trouble had one prior outing last summer at Saratoga and it was a very good effort, a third place finish behind Belmont Stakes-G1 major contender Tap It to Win in a fast, highly-rated affair. His recent work tab is a bit light but does include a bullet five furlong drill (1:00.4, fastest of 14) two weeks ago, so if the son of In Trouble is ready he should be a major player for a barn that is quite capable with layoff runners. Happy Saver represents stranger danger from the T. Pletcher barn. A first-timer by Super Saver out the fast sprinting mare Happy Week, he actually outworked the good older horse Fearless at Palm Beach Downs before heading north and goes for a barn that is excellent with debut runners (21%) while landing blazingly-hot rider I. Ortiz, Jr. In a race in which all three are “must uses” in rolling exotic play, we’ll give a very slight edge on top to Rare Stripe.

RACE 6: Post 3:01 ET. Grade: B+
Single: 2-Sweet Melania

Forecast: Sweet Melania, winner of the Jessamine S.-G2 at Keeneland last fall before finishing an excellent third to Sharing in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, makes her seasonable bow in this year’s edition of the Wonder Where S.-G2 over a mile and grass and has trained like she’s ready to roll for T. Pletcher (superb 29% with layoff runners). The daughter of American Pharoah prefers to make the running, and in a race with just four other entrants, none of whom are speed types, we’re expecting the daughter of American Pharoah to be presented with the opportunity to dominate as the controlling speed. Given that type of trip, she will be hard to catch, so at 7/5 on the morning line she’s the logical top pick and rolling exotic single.

RACE 7: Post 3:39 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 4-Strongerthankuknow; 8-My Sassy Sarah

Forecast: My Sassy Sarah launches a comeback in this state-bred first-level allowance sprint for fillies and mares and if she returns as well as she left the daughter of Summer Front should be capable of tagging the speed from off the pace. She earned a giant 79 Beyer speed figure when breaking her maiden over this course and distance as a 2-year-old last summer when producing a powerful late kick, and nothing more will be needed to handle this assignment. That said, the work tab isn’t fancy and the barn does not have great stats with layoff runners, so for protection will have a back-up ticket or two that includes Strongerthanuknow, a local gate-to-wire maiden turf winner earlier this month with a career top figure but hooking a bit more early speed today. The daughter of Mineshaft was actually second to our top pick when ‘Sarah broke her maiden and it won’t be shocking to see a similar result today.

RACE 8: Post 4:15 ET. Grade: B+
Use: 1-Gamine; 4-Casual

Forecast: This year’s edition of the Acorn S.-G1 should boil down to Casual and Gamine, two fillies who are unbeaten in two career starts and both with extreme potential. Casual, a daughter of Curlin from the S. Asmussen barn, graduated at first asking with complete authority at Oaklawn Park in April and then returned the following to defeat a strong allowance field while giving every indicate that today’s one-turn mile should be perfect for her pace-stalking style. No matter what the race flow, she’ll be able to handle it. Gamine won off by herself sprinting in her debut at Santa Anita and then went to Oaklawn Park for a first-level allowance two-turn affair, a race she won extra gamely with a stakes-quality speed figure. She’s back sprinting today – we suspect she’ll enjoy the turn back in trip – and seems the likely pacesetter from her rail post position. These two probably will hook up somewhere along the way and may the best filly prevail. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics while preferring Casual ever so slightly on top.

RACE 9: Post 4:53 ET. Grade: B+
Use: 4-Pure Sensation; 5-Stubbins

Forecast: The unusual thing about today’s Jaipur S.-G1 is that the six furlong turf sprint drew eight entrants, only one of which – the 9-year-old Pure Sensation – is a committed front-running type. A winner of 14 races during his long career that includes a victory in the 2016 edition of the Jaipur, the C. Clement-trained gelding shows a brief work tab leading up to his first start since finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint November, so we can’t really be sure how cranked up he really is (the barn does have excellent stats with layoff runners, though). Given the projected pace flow, ‘Sensation is a “must use” on our ticket, but preference on top goes to the California shipper Stubbins, a much troubled fourth in the 2019 BC Sprint and then a nightmarish third (beaten a half-length) in his seasonal bow in the Daytona S.-G3 at Santa Anita last month. This six furlongs trip compliments his late-running style and with the switch to the aggressive riding L. Saez, the son of Morning Line appears capable of producing the last run. We’ll try to get by using just these two in our rolling exotics; we’ll press with extra tickets keying Stubbins on top.

RACE 10: Post 5:42 ET. Grade: B+
Use: 1-Tap It to Win; 8-Tiz the Law; 9-Dr Post; 10-Pneumatic

Forecast: While we’re going four-deep in our rolling exotics, Tiz the Law is a legitimate short price favorite and will be very difficult to beat if he shows up with his best stuff, as we suspect he will. Proven over the Belmont Park main track (his 2019 victory in the Champagne S.-G1 was superb), the son of Constitution is perfect in two starts as a 3-year-old, most recently with a dominating score in the Florida Derby-G1 in late March. Kept on edge with a series of sharp recent workouts, the B. Tagg-trained colt can be placed in a pace-stalking position or somewhere in mid-pack, depending on how regular rider M. Franco assesses the race-shape. Small ticket players needing a single certainly can assign the role to this terrific colt with complete confidence. Those looking for a price – either in the pick-3’s and pick-4’s or in the vertical exotics – have a few viable options. Tapit to the Win will be the controlling speed from the rail and will take his field as far as he can. Back in two weeks, moving up from a first-level allowance race into an American classic, facing more heat, and having to cope with an extra half-furlong, the son of Tapit will need to produce a career top effort and then some to worry Tiz the Law. However, if he can clear early and shake loose from his likely pace adversary Fore Left, the M. Casse-trained speedster may prove to be an elusive target. Dr Post won a listed stakes at Gulfstream Park in late April after overcoming a difficult trip, and his workouts since that race indicate the son of Quality Road remains on track to produce another significant forward move. He’s not the handiest of runners but over the Belmont Park main track, with its sweeping turns and long home stretch, he shouldn’t be inconvenienced in the least. Is the T. Pletcher-trained colt this good? We’ll find out. Pneumatic won the draw. He’ll leave from the highly-favorite outside post position, which will allow regular rider R. Santana, Jr. to assess the pace and find a comfortable early spot. Both of his victories at Oaklawn Park were accomplished by taking the overland route, whereas his defeat in the Matt Winn S.-G3 at Churchill Downs (when a respectable third) came when he was forced to set/press the pace inside under pressure throughout. His speed figures continue to rise and we suspect we haven’t seen anywhere close to his best just yet .

RACE 11: Post 6:17 ET. Grade: B
Use: 1-Talk or Listen; 3-Largent; 9-Digital Age

Forecast: Talk or Listen, a group-stakes quality invader from France, makes his U.S. debut in a third level allowance race and has trained well enough at Fair Hill to be ready for a top effort for a barn that has solid stats with layoff runners. The form is good in this context, and this Irish-bred colt has run well fresh in the past. He’s also a first-time Lasix user and 10-1 on the morning line. Digital Age, away since finishing a respectable fourth in the Hollywood Derby-G1 in November, has worked well enough to expect a big run off the bench for C. Brown, whose stats with come-backers is off-the charts (29%). The negative is his record over the Belmont Park turf course – he’s been unplaced in all three starts – but considering the company he’s been keeping the son of Invincible Spirit should be a strong fit at this level. Largent has excellent tactical speed in a race that might not have much pace in it, and although the son of Into Mischief moving up a level in class he’s earned competitive speed figures for this level of competition and seems certain to have room for further improvement.

RACE 12: Post 6:49 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 2-Crack Shot; 4-Simply; 7-Qian B C; 8-Turbo Drive

Forecast: The finale is a grass grab bag for state-bred sprinting first-level allowance older horses. Spread as deeply as you can afford to. Qian B C is a prototype late-running sprinter in a race that projects to have a faster-than-par early pace, so with good racing luck the Desert Party gelding may able to produce the last run over a course he’s been known to like. Reunited with “win rider” J. Rosario, the C. Baker-trained veteran rates the edge on top at 5-1 on the morning line. Crack Shot, freshened since November, may be the most dangerous of the pace types and has won off a layoff in the past, so we’re expecting the son of Freud to return as well as he left. His numbers are faster than par for this level, so he’s a major contender on many fronts. Turbo Drive, off the track since last December and returning as a first-time gelding, goes for the M. Maker barn (powerful stats with layoffs) and sports a bullet recent five furlong drill (1:00b, fastest of 32) to have him on edge. He’ll be doing his best work from mid-pack. We’ll also toss in Simply, a debut winner at San Houston over a route-of-ground in early March. He’s a first-time gelding, has winning connections (J. Ortiz/S. Asmussen) and is another that could be heard from late if the speed types go too fast early.