Belmont Park- New York Showcase Day Picks

HHR’s Selections for New York Showcase Day

Big Apple TripleThe Belmont Stakes is only a week away with Oxbow, Orb and company looking to take home the third leg trophy of the Triple Crown, but this Saturday, June 1st, Belmont Park presents its New York Showcase Day to tide us over until next week. On the racing card for this Saturday are 7 stakes races highlighting some of New York’s finest. The races include the Bouwerie $125,000, Affirmed Success $100,000, Mike Lee Stakes $125,000, Mount Vernon $125,000, Dancing Renee $100,000, Commentator $150,000 and the Kingston $125,000. (The Mike Lee Stakes is also a part of the Big Apple Triple sweepstakes. Although it is too late to register for the Mike Lee, you can still register for the other 2 legs of the Big Apple Triple here.)

Let’s take a quick look at each race and I’ll give you my thoughts on how each of these will shape up.

The Bouwerie Stakes

Kelli Got FrostyRace 3 on Saturday’s card at Belmont is the 7 furlong, $125,000 Bouwerie Stakes for 3 year-old fillies foaled in New York State and approved by the New York State-Bred Registry. I like this line-up and according to the morning line odds, it seems Lovely Syn will be the favorite at 7/5 with the #6 horse, La Verdad as a close second with 5/2. I believe both of these horses will fight for the early lead, but the #4 horse, Kelli Got Frosty, has my attention the most and I believe she has the ability to win this one. She has a lot more experience than Lovely Syn and La Verdad and the speed to match. My only concern is with Kitty Panda, who I believe has the slight potential of making a late rally and beating the dueling speed horses towards the finish. She also has Joel Rosario on her side, so we should see her closing ground at the finish and quite possibly providing a nice paying upset. This is a short field so a 10 cent (or more) Superfecta should be considered, with a combination of these four fillies.

The Affirmed Success

SaginawThe $100,000 Affirmed Success, race 4 on the card, is a 6 ½ furlong race for 3 year olds and up. This year Saginaw, last year’s winner, will be defending his title against a very fast field. In last year’s race, the gelding flew past 5 other New York-breds and went on to finish by 7 ½ lengths, but this year’s competition may prove to be a stiffer lot. Many will look for last year’s Mike Lee winner, Willy Beamin, to be Saginaw’s main competitor. Drawing Away’s managing partner, Robert Hachemeister Jr., had this to say about the match-up between his horse, Saginaw and his rival, Willy Beamin-


“I call this race guts versus glory. Willy Beamin is glory, and Saginaw is guts. This horse (Saginaw) is all heart. In his last race, he showed me something I’d never seen before—and that’s hard to do. In all of the previous races he’s won, he just chewed up and spit out the competition. In that race, he actually relinquished the lead, and when he got headed he looked right over and saw the horse get in front of him, and it’s almost like he snapped into another gear and said ‘Oh, no, no, you’re not winning!’ He fought back.”

Personally, I like Saginaw for this race. As for Willy Beamin, I’m not so sure.  Be Bullish and Flying Zealous both seemed to have better finishing times than Willy, and I feel like they will be more of a problem for Saginaw than any of the rest.

Mike Lee Stakes

West Hills GiantRace 5 will be the $125,000 Mike Lee stakes, showcasing a 7 furlong race for 3 year old New York-foaled horses. Weekend Hideaway looks to be the morning line favorite for the Mike Lee, but again, I must disagree with this one.  My pick of this bunch would have to be West Hills Giant. Although he finished a disappointing 12th in the Bluegrass Stakes in April due to a plagued wide trip that rendered him hopeless early on, I don’t think that he should be discredited in this race at all. In the Gotham he was only beat by Vyjack where he lost by 2 ¼ lengths. I believe at the shorter distance of 7 furlongs and a field of lower class horses will suit him fine for the Mike Lee. Besides Weekend Hideaway, I feel his only other competition would be Hay Shares (currently undefeated), Run Run Forrest and Soul House. I will be working up exotic combos with these 5, keying sets with West Hills Giant and Hay Shares.

Mount Vernon Stakes

KiboshThe $125,000 Mount Vernon stakes will be the 6th race of the day going 1 mile over the turf for New York fillies and mares 3 years old and up. I actually have 2 horses I am torn over in this race. First up is 4 year old, Kibosh.  She ran 2nd to Dayatthespa in the You Go West Girl where she come from behind to challenge Dayatthespa, but fell short of “putting an end to” Dayatthespa. She’s looking sharp for this race, though and I think she will definitely be in one of the top 2 spots. My other choice, Schillerette, would make for a great pay-off if all goes well. Looking at a morning line of 15 to 1, I feel Schillerette has shown some great finishing times that could help her pull off an upset here. As far as using these two horses in any type of superfectas, I would consider Manero, Yes It’s Pink and of course, Shakeira.

Dancing Renee Stakes

Lady On The RunThe Dancing Renee is the 7th race of the day at Belmont. 3 year olds and up New York-bred fillies and mares will battle it out 7 furlongs on the main track for this $100,000 purse. The Dancing Renee has the makings of a really close race between most of this field. Personally, I like Lady On The Run for this one. Again, we’re looking at a nice pay-out if all goes well since Lady On The Run’s morning line is sitting at 15 to 1. In the No Reason earlier this month, she ran 3rd behind Miss Valentine and Clear Pasaj, beaten only by a ½ length. She made an excellent rally in that race and I feel she will again in this one. I also think that Sunny Desert will be there at the end, as well. She’s shown some really good works over the last two weeks and seems well fit to dance on home in the Dancing Renee this Saturday. I would consider some combinations involving all 4 of these horses in the trifecta and superfecta wagering.

Commentator Stakes

Spa City Fever Beats Icabad Crane in Alex M RobbSet at a mile and 1/16, the $150,000 Commentator Stakes will be the 8th race of the day, showcasing horses 3 years old and up. If front-end speed has anything to do with this race, I look for Spa City Fever to try and go wire to wire to win this one. Readtheprospectus will try and go with him, but I’m not so sure that he has the stamina to pull it off. Should these two tire one another out, I look for late runs from Awesome Vision and Icabad Crane. During the Alex M. Robb back in December of 2011, Spa City Fever edged out Icabad Crane by a head at the same distance as this race. He hasn’t raced since then, which is a very lengthy lay-off, but I feel he has the potential to get in there for a real upset. When putting together any type of exotic plays, I would strongly consider these four horses, keying combos with Spa City Fever and Icabad Crane.

Kingston Stakes

LubashRace 9 is the $125,000 Kingston Stakes set to run 3 year old and up, New York-breds at 1 mile over the turf. King Kreesa and Street Game are going to fight for the front on this one from the start. I honestly could see these 2 in a strong fight for the finish, but Lubash is definitely going to come closing at the end, provided he has no traffic problems. I believe that King Kreesa has what it takes to go all the way on this one, edging out Lubash and Street Game at the wire. The only other possible upset in this one that I see is Kharafa. He has shown some decent works as of late and if King Kreesa and Street Game tire each other out, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kharafa sneak in there with Lubash towards the end of the race. Personally, my money is on King Kreesa, but I will certainly put in a win/place wager on Kharafa just in case. He will probably be overlooked and ready to pay nicely!

Belmont’s Grand Slam Selections For Showcase

I have an assortment of wagers I plan to put out there for the New York Showcase Day, all including the horses I’ve listed above. I see the potential for a lot of nice upsets and hefty plays, so we’ll see! For the Grand Slam (races 6-9) I’m playing as follows-

  • Race 6-Kibosh, Schillerette
  • Race 7-Lady On The Run, Sunny Desert
  • Race 8-Spa City Fever, Icabad Crane
  • Race 9-King Keesha, Kharafa, Lubash

Who do you like in these races? Post your thoughts, comments and picks below!




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Mike Jr, eldest son of Mike Lane Sr, is co-lead author at and was raised on thoroughbred horse racing and handicapping. Although father and son often butt heads on their selections, they both have much love and admiration for the sport. Mike Jr. brings a new, fresh perspective to horse racing and is often in search of new angles to try.

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