Grade 1 Event Highlights Friday Belmont Card

Grade 1 Event Highlights Friday Belmont Card

New York Stakes

May 11, 2021; Baltimore, MD, USA; Flighty Lady stands in a stall in the stakes barn at Pimlico Race Course. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Friday’s New York Stakes at Belmont Park kicks off Belmont Stakes Weekend
The New York is one of Five Graded Stakes to start the weekend
What can we do to cash tickets Friday, setting us up for Saturday’s feature?

Top turf trainer Chad Brown has four of seven horses competing in Friday’s New York Stakes at Belmont Park. The mile-and-a-quarter Grade 1 challenge on the sod is one of five graded stakes on the card, one day before the Belmont Stakes is run.

There is no true favorite in the New York. That allows handicappers to evaluate and consider betting value. Understanding how pari-mutuel wagering works, in this case, can lead you to the best option to wager on unless you have a strong opinion, which is always helpful, particularly if it is right.

Let’s look carefully at the New York, and take a glimpse at the other four graded stakes on the card.

2022 New York Stakes Odds

Virginia Joy
Bleecker Street
Family Way
Flight Lady
Core Values
Lovely Lucky

Odds as of June 9

They’ve been running the New York Stakes for more than 80 years. This year’s edition should be run under ideal conditions. Temperatures are expected to be in the 70s with little chance of rain. Fox Sports 2 has television coverage of Belmont Park all day on Friday. Post time for the New York Stakes is 5:50 pm ET.

Brown is seeking to become the second trainer to win the event a record four times. Owner Peter Brant, who has a piece of each of Brown’s entrants, is hoping to equal the most wins in the New York, with his third victory.

Let’s look at the top contenders.

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Five Horses Can Win the New York Stakes

Flighty Lady has never run a race fast enough to seriously compete with this field, and Core Values has won four times, all at smaller less high-end tracks than Belmont Park. Either would be massive upsets.

Rougir raced 13 times in France before making her US debut in the Breeders Cup. She rebounded from a seventh-place effort in November, with a strong victory last month.

Rougir’s final race in France, a Group 1 victory at Longchamp going a-mile-and-a-quarter, is the best race anyone in this field has ever run. A repeat of the Beaugay from May 14 puts her in the mix but doesn’t guarantee a win.

Virginia Joy was a big favorite over Lovely Lucky and several others at Belmont Park on May 7 and was ultra-impressive winning her second graded stakes.

Since coming to North America, she has won three times in five races. She was second in this race last year.

Lovely Lucky lost to Virginia Joy by more than 20 lengths last time out. Two races ago it was Bleecker Street that beat her easily.

Bleecker Street is six for six in her career. If you questioned her wins in New Jersey and Florida, her victory on the Kentucky Oaks undercard made clear she’s the real deal.

At +350 Family Way ran second last time out, finishing behind superstar War Like Goddess, and ahead of Core Values.

Family Way was second to Virginia Joy in March, missing by one length. Her best race puts her in the mix with this group.

New York Stakes Best Bet

Brown trains Rougir, Virginia Joy, Bleecker Street, and Flighty Lady. Four-year-olds Rougir and Bleecker Street have the highest upside. Rougir is second off a layoff and already possesses the most impressive victory in the field. She appears to be the most likely winner.

Pick: Rougir (+250)

Graded Stakes on the Undercard

In addition to the New York Stakes, Friday at Belmont features the Bed O’ Roses Stakes for fillies and mares sprinting seven furlongs on the dirt, the two-mile Belmont Gold Cup on turf for older males, the True North Stakes for Jackie’s Warrior and his five rivals sprinting on the dirt, and the Intercontinental Stakes, a turf dash at six furlongs.

Bed O’ Roses

Only four horses entered, but each is coming off a win, and three of the quartet are graded stakes winners. Of five career wins in seven starts, Bella Sofia has four victories at Belmont Park.

Bella Sofia beat Obligatory and Glass Ceiling in races last year, but the two rivals are running much better now.

Like Bella Sophia, Glass Ceiling and Easy to Bless will be forwardly placed. Obligatory will be rolling late, and seven furlongs might be longer than Bella Sofia prefers.

The Pick: Obligatory

Belmont Gold Cup

There aren’t a lot of races this long in America. The only horse coming off a win is Loft, who took a two-mile event in Germany last month and now is making his stateside debut.

Abaan won a pair of races, including a two-mile affair at Gulfstream Park over the winter.

His three races over the last few months have been against top competition, and he has finished second, fourth, and fifth.

Strong Tide and Cibolian both have good races in their recent past but weren’t close three weeks ago in a stakes race at Churchill Downs. Neither horse had a clean trip.

A niche sort of race without anyone that towers over the field screams for a decent price.

The Pick: Cibolian

True North Stakes

Jackie’s Warrior has won 10 of 14 career starts and three of four losses are in races that were seven furlongs or longer. This six-and-a-half furlong event features no other stakes winners.

Jackie’s Warrior has won nine graded stakes races. He towers over the field, but if he loses, Mr. Phil, Baby Yoda, Night Time, or Sound Money could pay well. Mr. Phi has been impressive winning three straight races against lesser fields.

The Pick: Jackie’s Warrior

Intercontinental Stakes

A competitive and deep field get together in the Intercontinental Stakes. From the extreme outside post in a group of 13, Miss J McKay might be in the best form right now.

Miss J McKay beat Miss Majorette last time out and faces that rival again here.

It has been 11 months since Caravel won a turf race, but she faced top competition last time out on the Kentucky Oaks undercard. She won a Grade 3 on the grass at Saratoga last summer.

Star Devine won a stakes at The Spa too, and then was off for eight months before running second at Keeneland in April.

Toby’s Heart has won four stakes races at four top tracks against solid competition. She has five wins in 12 career tries and seems to prefer sprinting.

Illegal Smile has been in the money nine times in 11 starts and is coming off back-to-back wins.

The Pick: Star Devine

Author: Jesse Smith