Key Races & Bets for Saturday, July 6

Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes – Race 7 at Belmont – Post Time 4:30 PM Eastern

Olendon appears to have the goods here, even over very good distaff turf stakes winners like Newspaperofrecord, Concrete Rose and Cambier Parc, the latter two having posted upset wins over Newspaperofrecord in May and June. Olendon ships in off a bang-up second of 11 finish in the Group 1 Prix Saint Alary on May 26, at the 10 furlong trip of the Belmont Oaks. Only one other filly in the race (Jodie, shipping in from Japan) has run the distance, and Olendon did it against some of the best fillies in Europe, if not the world. With world-renowned trainer Pascal Bary still listed as her trainer, with John Velazquez set to ride, with the ground saving rail and with by far the highest last race Equibase figure in the field (116), Olendon should be tough to beat and easy to bet, as she opens at 9 to 2.

Cambier Parc stretched out to nine furlongs on turf last month when winning the Wonder Again Stakes over this course and she did so in a way that suggests the additional furlong won’t be an issue. She ran poorly with no excuse before that in the Edgewood Stakes at Churchill Downs on Derby weekend, that race won by Concrete Rose, with Newspaperofrecord second, but she won a stakes at Gulfstream before that and the way she rebounded in the Wonder Again suggests those two “A” races are what she’s capable of here. She’s one of three from the Brown barn but opens at 4 to 1 with Jose Ortiz aboard, who has been in the saddle for all three career wins to date. The 100 figures earned in the two wins don’t hold a candle to Olendon’s last race figure but it’s on par with Newspaperofrecord’s best (100) and better than the 93 Concrete Rose earned in the Edgewood so just repeating her last race could be good enough to get second and to win if I’m wrong about Olendon.

For exactas we will also use the Aiden O’Brien pair of Just Wonderful and Coral Beach, the former a fast closing fourth in her only previous U.S. start last fall in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and the latter having closed from last of 27 to get fourth a couple of weeks ago in the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot. We will also use Jodie, the Japanese shipper, who finished third of 18 (beaten just a half-length) at this 10 furlong trip one race before last.

Olendon to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.
Cambier Parc to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

When making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool with which you can enter the amount you want to spend or the amount you want to win and the calculation of how much to bet will be done for you. Amwager provides a free “Dutching” tool, among other great benefits for the handicapper and bettor.

Exactas: Olendon and Cambier Parc over Olendon, Cambier Parc, Just Wonderful, Coral Beach and Jodie.
For about half whatever amount you play the exacta above, play the reverse, which is Olendon, Cambier Parc, Just Wonderful, Coral Beach and Jodie over Olendon and Cambier Parc.

My Dear Stakes – Race 8 at Woodbine – Post Time 4:45 PM Eastern

I assume a decent percentage of bettors at Woodbine know who Brad Cox is and what an amazing past couple of years he’s had. Still, considering Bayerly Seen opens at 6 to 1, I can only hope bettors of Woodbine races don’t pay attention to one of the top up-and-coming trainers in North America. Bayerly Seen won her only start by 12 lengths, geared down, at Indiana Grand (perhaps another reason for some bettors disregarding the filly) last month. Not only was the effort visually impressive, there was no doubt the filly wasn’t fully extended and has much more to show. She earned the win wire-to-wire and because she doesn’t wear blinkers I don’t think she’s a need the lead type so can sit off likely early leader Fast Scene and take over as needed. Before leaving her home base the filly put in a sharp half-mile workout which was the third fastest of 60 on the day, many of those older and more established runners. Cox gets local jockey Campbell to ride, which is good, and the trainer’s starters win back-to-back nearly 30% of the time, evidence Cox keeps his horses happy and healthy between races.

Fast Scene may be the one to beat on paper with a sharp wire-to-wire score in her debut over the track last month. She ran fast from start to finish and then shipped back to trainer Hamm’s base at Presque Isle to put in a sharp half-mile workout before coming back up. Hernandez rode first time out and rides back and the trainer won this race in 2016 with Velvet Mood so knows what he’s doing. The only knock is she opens at 2 to 1.

Justleavitalone will be left alone by bettors as she’s a first timer in a stakes. She opens at 12/1 but appears to have a bit of talent as she worked a strong 46.4 half-mile on 6/26 which was the best of 32 at the distance on the day. Lest there be a doubt trainer Gonzalez is overreaching, he won this race in 2015 with a first time starter at 18/1.

Bets: Bayerly Seen to win at odds of 2/1.
Minimum odds for a win bet on Fast Scene are 2/1 but she’s likely to go to post at lower odds.

For a smaller amount than on Bayerly Seen, bet Justleaveitalone to win at 5 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 7 to 1 or more.

When making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exactas: Box Bayerly Seen and Fast Scene.
Box Bayerly Seen, Fast Scene and Justleaveitalone.

Trifecta: Bayerly Seen and Fast Scene over Bayerly Seen and Fast Scene over ALL.

Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes – Race 9 at Belmont – Post Time 5:44 PM Eastern

Cape of Good Hope can give world class trainer Aiden O’Brien his second win in this race. O’Brien shipped Deauville to win the 2016 edition of the Belmont Derby Invitational as well as saddled runner-up Adelaide in 2014. He also saddled Athena to win the 2018 Belmont Oaks Invitational so when he brings a horse from across the pond we can expect good things. Cape of Good Hope is one of only two horses in the field to have won at this mile and one-quarter turf trip, the win coming in the Blue Riband Trial Stakes in April. Sent to post at odds of 16/1 in the Prix du Jockey Club in June following the Trial, the colt had the benefit of stablemate Blenheim Palace to set the early pace and did rally from nearly last but could only manage fourth in the 15 horse field. However, that effort earned him a 116 Equibase Speed Figure, which is the top figure earned by any horse in this field. Dropped in class a bit for the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, Cape of Good Hope apparently didn’t like the soft turf and finished 10th. Not only is Cape of Good Hope proven at the distance and is in the hands of a trainer who has won the race previously with a horse shipping in from Europe, he is a full brother to champion Highland Reel, who won over $10 million including the Breeders’ Cup Turf, and he’s a full brother to Idaho, winner of over $1.6 million. As such, Cape of Good Hope is my top choice to win this year’s Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes.

Rockemperor, one of four trained by Chad Brown, showed he fit at the top level when second, beaten a neck, in the Prix la Force Stakes in April. That effort earned a 108 Figure. Prior to that, Rockemperor won an allowance race at the mile and one-quarter distance of the Belmont Derby on an all-weather surface. Although sixth in the Prix du Jockey Club in his most recent race, Rockemperor improved to a career-best 111 figure. Trainer Brown is currently second in the trainer division on the North American Racing Leaders list with $12.8 million earned this year, but of that number $9.8 million has been earned by his starters on turf, where he excels, particularly with horses importing to the U.S. According to a STATS Race Lens query, Brown has won 25% of the time with foreign shippers in their first U.S. starts over the last five years, with 53% of those finishing in the top three. With Rockemperor having shown he belongs in top company and can handle the 10 furlong trip, I think he could be quite competitive in this race.

Seismic Wave and Demarchelier finished second and first, respectively, in last month’s Pennine Ridge Stakes and could be close at hand in the Belmont Derby with similar efforts. Seismic Wave has done little wrong in six races, winning two and finishing second or third in three of the other four. In the American Turf Stakes on Derby day, Seismic Wave was eight paths wide turning for home and flew from 10th to fourth but was too late to catch winner Digital Age. That effort earned a career-best 100 figure and although he regressed to a 94 figure effort in the Pennine Ridge, the fact that race came over this inner turf course at Belmont may help him to run even better. Demarchelier is a perfect three-for-three in his career to date. Castellano has been in the saddle for all three and the colt continues to improve with each effort, earning a career best 95 figure in the Pennine Ridge. As such, I expect a good showing in the Belmont Derby but it is likely he will have to have another career-best effort to be competitive in this very deep and talented field.

I can’t completely ignore Blenheim Palace although I suspect the reason he was entered was to insure a good early pace for his stablemate Cape of Good Hope as was the case in the Prix du Jockey Club. Blenheim Palace is the only other horse, besides his stablemate, to have won at this 10 furlong turf trip. He earned that win in April in a field of 16. Although he faded to 14thafter setting the pace in the Jockey Club, Blenheim Palace showed he can run well on his own when second thereafter in the Intern Stakes just one week ago. Blinkers are added for the Belmont Derby, strongly suggesting the tactic will be to go to the front and hold it for as long as he can. Noting that was the same tactic used by trainer O’Brien’s Hunting Horn in the Man o’War Stakes here at Belmont last month, and that one nearly pulled off the upset before fading to fourth very late in the race, there is reason to think Blenheim Palace could get brave on the lead and be in the hunt to the wire in this race.

Bets: Cape of Good Hope to win at 3 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 5 to 1 or more.

Rockemperor to win at odds of 7 to 2 or more, adding a place bet at 6 to 1 or more.

For smaller amounts than on Cape of Good Hope and Rockemperor, Seismic Wave and Demarchelier to win at odds of 9 to 2 or more.

Then, a minimum ($2 to $5) to win, place and show on Blenheim Palace at odds of 8 to 1 or more.

When making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Doubles: Cape of Good Hope, Rockemperor, Seismic Wave, Demarchelier and Blenheim Palace in Race 9 with Catholic Boy, Preservationist, Marconi and Cordmaker in race 10.

Then add a few horses in race 9 with my top pick in race 10 as follows:

Moon Colony, Standard Deviation, English Bee, Digital Age and He’s No Lemon in Race 9 with Preservationist in Race 10.

Suburban Stakes – Race 10 at Belmont – Post Time 6:18 PM Eastern

Preservationist never started as a two year old and only ran once as a three year old, finishing second, before going on the sidelines for almost all of his four year old year, finishing third in December, 2017. He won his first two starts as a five year old then went on the shelf again, this time for 11 months. After a sprint prep in which he finished third to start his five year old year he won, then lo and behold went on the sidelines again, this time for 15 months. His connections must think he’s supremely talented because off a comeback win in May over the track at the third allowance condition they are putting him in this grade 2 race. I AGREE with this as the 111 Equibase figure earned in that win over the track last month suggest he can post the mild upset here. Not only was that the BEST figure in the field earned by any horse last out, including those earned in stakes races by others, the ONLY two horses who have come back to run out of that race won their next starts. Trainer Jerkens, who also saddles Rocketry for the same owner, is a solid trainer and as this horse is making his second start off the long layoff he’s likely to improve, which makes him tough to beat.

Catholic Boy has no knocks except that he’s likely to go to post as the heavy favorite. Proven in top company on turf and dirt, he began his four year old campaign off a six month layoff in May with a win on grass and he won the Travers last year at this distance on dirt off a turf win so putting in another “A” effort good enough to win is certainly within reach.

Cordmaker may not be this good in terms of class but he doesn’t know it. Winner of six of 13 dirt races in his career, his 10th to third finish in the similar Pimlico Special one race before last suggests he fits with these. Carrasco rides him very well and the 110 and 107 figures from his last two wins also suggest it would be a mistake to keep him out of our exacta tickets at the very least, particularly as he opens at 12/1.

Marconi has found a new lease on life in classic and marathon races, winning three straight stakes from 1 3/16 to 1 ½ miles, the most recent at Belmont in the grade 2 Brooklyn Invitational last month, a race like this one. Lezcano rode him marvelously in the Brooklyn, leading from start to finish, but Marconi has proven he doesn’t need the lead to win. With 108, 108 and 110 figures from those three wins, Marconi must be considered as a strong win contender.

For a few exactas, I’ll use Rocketry (second to Marconi in the Brooklyn), Lone Sailor (who can put in a late kick on occasion), Wooderson (a half-brother to Rachel Alexandra who may improve off an allowance win) and Realm (a head behind Rocketry in the Brooklyn).

Bets: Preservationist to win at odds of 9 to 5.

For a smaller amount, Cordmaker and Marconi to win at odds of 9 to 2 or more.

When making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exacta: Box Catholic Boy, Preservationist, Marconi and Cordmaker.

Then, Catholic Boy, Preservationist, Marconi and Cordmaker over Catholic Boy, Preservationist, Marconi, Cordmaker, Rocketry, Lone Sailor, Realm and Wooderson.

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Ellis Starr

Ellis is a well respected handicapper and contributor of AmWager. He has been a public handicapper for more than twenty years, educating racing fans of all skill levels with detailed commentary few other handicappers provide.

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