Friday, July 09, 2010

The Grade 1 $600,000 Man O'War Stakes

Belmont Park is now in wind-down mode for the spring season and everything is getting geared up to head upstate to Saratoga for the summer (that includes me for the first time, by the way). There are still plenty of big races at Belmont, however, and that includes the Saturday feature, the Grade 1 $600,000 Man O'War at 1 3/8 miles on the Inner Turf Course. It will feature a field of eight, including Gio Ponti, whose Man O'War win last year was one of a series of four straight Grade 1s he won on the turf in the summer of 2009. Here is the analysis of the Man O'War:

I cannot realistically select against #8 Gio Ponti. However, he is 1-2 on the morning line, so there will not be a win bet here for sure, especially given the fact that he hasn't actually WON in 2010. Two seconds and a fourth don't impress in three starts this year, but this field doesn't seem to present much in the way of a challenge to his greatness. He has been first or second in all seven lifetime starts over the Belmont grass. I will use a 30-1 shot in the second spot, though. #7 Midnite Silver has never been in a graded stakes race before, but since there is a first time for everything, I guess today is the day. He won two of the last three on the turf and the last win came at 1 1/4 miles and the comment in the Racing Form says, "Going Away!". A repeat of that could at least make the exacta interesting here. I will put #6 Grand Couturier in the third spot. He finished 7th in the Manhattan on Belmont Day, June 5, but was less than five lengths off the winner in that race. Every so often, he throws a big effort on the board, especially if there is a hint of rain in the forecast. Finally, I will put #5 Mission Approved in the fourth spot mainly because he is the lone speed in this field. He might try to steal it on the front end, but I doubt he will be able to go this far all alone up top. He was part of the ridiculous pace that torpedoed Curlin's effort in this same race two years ago and faded all the way to last. He might hold on for a better finish in this one simply because he has no one to go with him. Here is the play for the Grade 1 $600,000 Man O'War:

$10 EX BOX #7+ #8
TOTAL- $20

Remember, They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. Tune in again next week for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!

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