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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Weekend Handicapping: Stay Thirsty in the Suburban @Belmont

Today we have one of the premiere races at Belmont, the Grade 2, Suburban Handicap. It's for 3 YO's and upward and usually attracts a solid field, and today is no different.  There are seven entered, five of them are strong contenders for the purse of $350,000.  They will be running over the dirt for a mile and an eighth, there is a good balance of speed and stalkers, so that will make this race come down at the wire.  So let's take a look ...

Contenders:

#1 Stay Thirsty ML 7/2

Going out on a limb with him since he has never won at Belmont on four attempts( three of them were on off tracks).  However, what I do like is that he usually gives a big performance after his first race off a layoff.  He has won at this distance before, been training steadily, and has the class to win this race.  We know Pletcher/Castellano are a strong team and his pressing style sets him perfectly for this pace.

#7 To Honor and Serve ML 9/5

Mott certainly has him ready for this race with his third in the Metropolitan at the end of May. His Beyer's are super strong, workouts have been excellent and no doubt likes Belmont, winning two of three. Also, he is three of five at this distance.  The only reason I've got him in the place spot is that there is enough speed here to push him and open the door for Stay Thirsty.  He has all the tools to win this race, the odds will be miserly, but counting on the pace to work against him.

#4 Hymn Book ML 6/1

He has flattened out in the last two since turning six.  However, this gelding enjoys this track and distance, including a win here at this distance.  He is also versatile, winning on turf, off tracks and various distances.  That is what makes him so dangerous, and he is one of the closer's in this group. If the pace falters, and Stay Thirsty can't hold up, he should fly by. McGaughey puts Garcia back on, and with a 29% stakes win record, Hymn Book is one not to ignore.

Dark Horse/Bombs Away:

#5 Trickmeister ML 6/1

If you toss out the poor effort in the Donn (G1), this five year old is six for six.  He has gone wire to wire at this distance and won his first outing at Belmont in May. Granted the company is not to this level, but Dutrow is dangerous with these type of horses.  His drills have been steady and he has shown he can fly, and with his bounce back in the last race, he is showing the maturity to take another shot at this level.  If he can get better than 6/1 he would be a sweet play.

Selections:

1 - 7 - 4

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