Big Saturday will provide its own fireworks

Independence Day weekend always provides a number of terrific wagering opportunities and Saturday’s racing nationwide does just that.  In addition to the Suburban Handicap, which marks the return of I Want Revenge and Regal Ransom, we have the $300,000 Guaranteed Pick 4 at Belmont.  The United Nations and Salvator Mile headline the action at Monmouth Park today and Churchill’s penultimate program features the Bashford Manor and Locust Grove.

My entire Saturday analysis for Belmont’s 11 race card can be found here.  The final four races, including a modest Pick 4 ticket are posted below:

Race 8 –
#5 MIDNIGHT BILLY
has become a totally different horse since being moved to the weeds as he’s picked up two wins, a 2nd place finish and a 3rd place finish from four tries.  A slow break and wide trip could not keep him from tracking down the leaders last time out as he rolled past the entire field in the final three furlongs.  The pace in this event appears as if it’s going to be solid and that works in this guy’s favor.  It also seems like he’ll offer some value once again.  #3 FLOWERSONYOURBACK scored two back against N1X allowance runners then failed against tougher last time out.  He did run into some trouble in his most recent outing as he steadied briefly around the far turn and that race was dominated by the frontrunners to a great extent.  A solid workout on Monday signals his readiness and like the top pick, the race flow in here favors a horse with his off the pace style.  #4 MR. VEGAS was sitting neatly behind the leaders last time out but never got a spot to run through in the final quarter-mile.  He basically raced in neutral through the stretch drive and could never post a true run.  Expect him to be near the lead today on the stretchout, so hopefully he can stalk and pounce.

Race 9   –
The biggest story in this year’s running of the Suburban is the return of both #1A I WANT REVENGE and #5 REGAL RANSOM.  Each were multiple graded stakes winners in 2009 and showed flashes of brilliance but both also possess a number of negatives today.  That’s enough for you to give #6 HAYNESFIELD serious consideration in this spot as he goes 2nd off a six month layoff for trainer Steve Asmussen.  The Asmussen stable wins with horses coming off wins in NY at a rate of 24% with a positive ROI, something you rarely see for them.  He was also a graded stakes winner in 2009 and he’s all but erased the memory of a drubbing at the hands of the morning line favorite in March of last year.  This chestnut son of Speightstown is very handy and can race from any position early.  That’s what makes him dangerous, particularly if he can stalk just behind the rabbit and Regal Ransom and move in time to get the jump.  The aforementioned I Want Revenge is returning from a lengthy layoff and will make his first start for Rick Dutrow, Jr.  If you remember back to 14 months ago, this guy was set to be favored in the Kentucky Derby before his injury was noticed.  It was not the type of injury horses generally return from and that’s a negative, especially given much support he’ll get from the public.  Regal Ransom won the Super Derby off a long layoff, so there’s no concern that he’ll be a bit short off the bench today.  He was able to get away with soft fractions in the Super Derby and that’s not going to happen today given the presence of the rabbit, #1 PICTURAL.  If he’s forced to rate, who knows how much money he stands to lose.

Race 10 –
#9 MR. VANTASTIC
looms a longshot with a chance in an extremely competitive N1X allowance event for NY breds.  This son of King Cugat has gotten better of late on the turf and that’s no surprise given the pedigree.  He made a big late move to get up last time out against 20k beaten claimers and he’s due to get a big time pace setup once again this afternoon.  #3 JOEY’S CHANCE is coming off a solid 2nd place finish against similar horses as he made multiple moves at the lead over the course of the seven furlongs that day.  His inside post should afford him an opportunity to lay back, save ground and make one run and his jockey today, Jose Espinoza, is one of the most underrated riders on this circuit.  #4 ABILIO broke his maiden in his last start way back in early April on the Wood Memorial undercard.  This will be his first try against winners and given that he needed a tag to break his maiden, this is clearly a serious jump in class.  There’s some pedigree with this colt and the race flow will be in his favor, so look for him in the waning stages.

Race 11 –
#3 BISHOP OF NOLA
started in a couple of tough N1X events after breaking his maiden against MSW runners at Aqueduct in April.  Trainer Dominick Schettino is now dropping this son of Devil His Due in for a tag and over the last five years he’s 31% good for a $5.85 ROI with horses going from allowance races to claimers on the grass.  The inside post will enable jockey Jose Espinoza to save ground just behind the pace, which looks like it should be solid.  #4 WISHINGONADREAM is another who would benefit from a hot pace as he does his best running from deep in the pack.  He came up just over a length short last time out against 25k N2L claimers and it’s arguable that this race is easier than the one he exits.  Look for him late under the double bug.  #7 CHROMOSPHERE surged late last time out but was outfinished and had to settle for second.  Jockey Ramon Dominguez, the rider who piloted this guy to victory three back at Aqueduct, is back on board today, so there are numerous positive signs for this Rudy Rodriguez trainee.

In the Pick 4, let’s play: 3,4,5 with 6 with 3,4,5,6,9,10,12 with 3,4,7,9 TOTAL: 84

Good luck on Saturday and I’ll be back to recap today’s action and provide some thoughts on North America’s oldest stakes race, the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine!  Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

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