HHR’s Belmont Under-Card & Grand Slam

Under-card Picks for Belmont Stakes Day

Saturday, June 8th is a huge day in racing, especially at Belmont Park where the 145th Belmont Stakes is set to run in race 11, but before the major highlight of the day, the Belmont under-card has quite a few Grades 1 & 2 races that showcase some major names in racing as well. Starting with the $150,000 Easy Goer in race 6 and ending right before the Belmont Stakes with the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap in race 10, the Belmont day is sure to be electrified with some of the best in horse racing today.

The Easy Goer

WabbajackSet at 1 1/16 mile, the $150,000 Easy Goer is full of Triple Crown entries that, for whatever reasons, didn’t make the cut. Nonetheless, these horses will make for great match-ups in this race. Many people will be looking at Bob Baffert’s Power Broker for this one and as much as I love this horse, he won’t be in my top 3 picks. Unless he goes out front and controls the pace, I look for Power Broker to run 4th. I think there will be a fight between Irsaal and Doherty as these two seemed evenly matched. I believe that Irsaal will beat out Doherty, though if their past match-ups are any indication. Ironically, Irsaal beat Belmont Stakes entry, Midnight Taboo, in his last outing. While this might look bad for Midnight Taboo, you should check out the race here. I believe Midnight Taboo would have out ran Irsaal in this race had he not had so much trouble. Regardless, my top pick for the Easy Goer is Wabbajack. Wabbajack looks like the upset waiting to happen in this one. He only recently broke maiden, but his times indicate that he is much the best in this one. As far as a Superfecta, I am going with Wabbajack, Irsaal, Doherty and Power Broker.

The True North

Caixa EletronicaThe True North, race 7 on the card, is a Grade 2, 6 furlong race. For three year olds and upwards, this $400,000 race starts the Grand Slam Races for Saturday (races 7-10). I believe this race could be a very close one, but I am looking seriously at Caixa Eletronica to win this one. Caixa Eletronica’s times are outstanding in comparison to the rest of the field. This horse did bounce in his last race in the Charles Town Classic, but I was very pleased with his win in the Uncle Mo, and I believe he is strongly suited for this distance. I believe he will duel for the early lead against Fast Bullet, a strong duel that should last throughout the race, but in the end Caixa Eletronica will edge him out. Shug McGaughey’s Reload should be in that mix, as well and I look for a late run from Off the Jak.

Longines Just A Game

Laugh Out LoudThe $500,000 Just A Game will be a 1 mile race over the turf in Race 8 of the Belmont undercard. This Grade 1 race is for fillies and mares 3 years old and upwards. I have 4 horses in this one that I am torn between. For starters, there is Centre Court who will have Julien Leparoux aboard. Centre Court is on a 3 win streak and tends to stalk the pace, putting up some really good times in those races. I believe that Dayatthespa and Mizdirection will fight for that early lead, with Centre Court nearby and ready to strike.  I don’t always lean towards Mike Smith in a race, but no one can deny that he has a way with the fillies and Mizdirection looks ready for this one.  But… and this is a very big but… I am drawn to Laugh Out Loud. Normally, I’m not so big on imports, but I’ve been trying something new in my handicapping as of late and today I’m going to give this theory I borrowed a run. If it works out, we’ll see a good payday. If not… it’s back to the old drawing board. Besides with Gary Stevens at the helm, I’m inclined to give this horse a shot anyway. My selections for this race are Laugh Out Loud, Centre Court, Mizdirection and Dayatthespa, roughly in that order.

Woody Stephens

Declans Warrior Beats Tenango in Gygistar StakesThe $400,000 Woody Stephens is a Grade 2 race set at 7 furlongs and is the 9th race of the day. I believe there will be a lot of front runners fighting for the early lead, which will cause an opportunity for a late runner or stalker to steal this one. Of my candidates for the early pace setters, I like Let Em Shine and Zee Bros. Both of these horses are showing some serious work-out times and are ready to blaze home. My concern is that the other early speed horses will help them to burn one another out, leaving a comfortable late run from Declan’s Warrior. I would make Declan’s warrior my 1st pick, but I believe that Tenango may stalk his way into an overlooked victory and will pay nicely. It really all depends on how close he lays up and whether or not he doesn’t get burnt up by the pace of the early speed runners. Tenango has the times to make him a worthy play and has a solid trainer in David Jacobson. Not counting the Belmont Stakes, this could be the upset of the day, folks!

Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap

Point of EntryThe $500,000 Woodford Reserve will wrap up the Grand Slam races for Belmont on Saturday. This race Grade 1 race will be run over 1 ¼ miles on the inner turf for 3 year olds and upward. The morning line 3/5 favorite is Point of Entry, who actually makes it into my top 4 choices, but is by no means my favorite. Don’t get me wrong… Point of Entry is a spectacular horse who has proved himself many times over, but I believe he will have some over-looked competition in this one with Quick Casablanca, Bombaguia and Finnegans Wake. Quick Casablanca has been this distance in a much faster time as Point of Entry and recently ran 3rd in the Good Reward at Belmont. Bombaguia has put up some serious times as well, and certainly has the stamina for this race. Finnegans Wake is showing signs of real potential, especially when looking at his 2nd place finish in the Secretariat last August. It’s a real toss-up with these 4, but I am leaning towards Quick Casablanca and Finnegan’s Wake.

 Grand Slam Picks for Belmont, Saturday June 8th

Saturday’s Grand Slam Picks for Races 7-10 are as follows-

  • Caixa Eletronica
  • Laugh Out Loud, Centre Court
  • Tenango, Declan’s Warrior
  • Quick Casablanca, Finnegans Wake



In the True North, Reload has scratched. Also in the Woodford Reserve, Quick Casablanca has scratched because he ran in yesterday’s Brooklyn handicap. I will be replacing Quick Casablanca with Bombaguia in my Grand Slam selections.







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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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