Days Picks 11 / 1-5-3
2024 Overall — 562 562 / 165-175-236
Win % of Top Pick 29.36%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 34.16%
2024 Only / Top Pick in the Money Overall — 327-562 58.19%
2024 Only / Top Pick in the Money @ CD — 58-96 60.42%
2024 Only / Top Pick in the Money @ HI — 14-22 63.64%
2024 Only / Top Pick in the Money @ KEE — 19-26 73.08%
2024 Only / Top Pick in the Money @ TP — 224-400 56.00%
2024 Only / Top Pick in the Money @ FG — 12-18 66.67%
2024 Only / Top Pick Wins @ CD — 34-96 35.42%
2024 Only / Top Pick Wins @ HI — 5-22 22.73%
2024 Only / Top Pick Wins @ KEE — 8/26 30.77%
2024 Only / Top Pick Wins @ TP — 110-400 27.50%
2024 Only / Top Pick Wins @ FG — 8-18 44.44%
2024 Only / “Key Horses” @ HI — 4/2-2-0 50.00% Win / 100.00% ITM
2024 Only / “Key Horses” @ KEE — 2/2-0-0 100.00% Win / 100.00% ITM
2024 Only / “Key Horses” @ TP  39/ 13-10-6 33.33% Win / 74.36% ITM
2024 Only / “Key Horses” @ FG 1 / 0-0-0 00.00% Win / 00.00% ITM
2024 Only / “Key Horses” @ CD 5 / 1-0-0 20.00% Win / 20.00% ITM
2024 Only / “Key Horses” Overall 51/ 18-12-6 35.29% Win / 70.59% ITM

(Stats need to be updated)

Here’s our looks at the 9 Stakes races — all Graded with 6 Grade 1s in the mix — for Belmont Stakes Day 2024. This year’s version will be conducted at the famed Saratoga Race Track in Up-State New York due to the reconstruction project at Belmont Park. And, the “Race of Champions” will not be run at the traditional 11/2-mile distance. Rather, it will be shortened to the same distance as the Kentucky Derby this year — which is 11/4-miles.

Still? All in All?

It should be a great, great race. And, the card should be one of the finest in the land all year long.

Without further adieu, here we go:

4th: 5/4-6-7-1/2/3…G2 True North Stakes…The first “Key Play of the Day,” for me, will come in the first Graded Stakes event and it will come with Gun Pilot (5) in this 6.5-furlong event. The 4YO son of Gun Runner has won 3 of the last 4 outs and has a 2nd wedged in-between. Has never run over this Saratoga strip and that can be a bit concerning. But a HOF trainer has this one on the verge of becoming one of the best sprinters in the land and he looks overpowering in this spot, coming off an easy and impressive win in the G1 Churchill Downs Stake on Derby Dan. Has a nice stalking style and it will be interesting to see how this track plays, since this week is a bit crazy to begin with and the shift North in New York can pose some questions. Still, this one looks much the best. I bet the 5 to win/place and then key the 5 over/under the 4-6-7-1-2 in the exactas. More with the 4-6-7 than the reset. 

5th: 2-3/7/1//4-8/5…G3 Poker Stakes…This is the first Graded Stakes over the sod here on this championship day and I will go with the experience and Casa Creed (2). The 8YO horse is one who has been kept in racing and the connections need to be congratulated for it. Has raced over this sod a total of 6 times. Has 4 wins and 2 thirds. Not bad. Comes in off a race in Dubai and that can milk some energy from the tank. But that was in March and this HOF trainer can coach with the best of them. My pick. Carl Spackler (3) goes for the U.S. champ sod trainer. Has race here two previous times. Both wins. Both easy wins, too. Is he ready for this lot, in only his 2nd start against older gentlemen? Great question, but I have come to not doubt the talent of trainer Chad Brown. I bet the 2 to win/place and then box the 2-3 solidly in the exactas. I will key the 2-3 over/under the 7-1 in two smaller units. 

6th: 4-7-8//3-1….G2 Suburban Stakes…Charge It (4) won this race a year ago in impressive fashion, galloping off to a near 5-length win. Has not won since. Has not been close since. One writer for “HorseRacingNation” once called this son of Tapit the best horse in training a year ago. He went 2-1-0 in 8 starts. Ugh. But it does appear that the 5YO has another shot here. Not the best crowd. Gets his regular rider back and that could help. Crupi (7) is another from the barn of Todd Pletcher, and comes in from Dubai, as well. Has the better record over this Saratoga strip than the previously mentioned one. In 3 starts here, has a win and 2 thirds. Gets the top rider for this barn, too. Look out at the closing kick here. Bendoog (8) has run twice this year in non-stakes company. Has won them both. Moves up. Can he handle this group? We shall see, but this son of Gun Runner has never been better, either. I bet the 7 — take note — to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. 

7th: 5/6-3-1/4//2…G1 Ogden Phipps Stakes…My second “Key Play of the Day” is no secret to the betting public. It is the 5YO mare Idiomatic (5). This daughter of Curlin has already won over $3 million in purses and has captured 6 Graded Stakes in a row. Before the 2nd in the G2 Ruffian last year, she had won three in a row. Thus? Has won 9 of the last 10. Against the best of the best. And, has a win here — the graveyard of champs, so to speak. This lady is 3-5 in the ML, but deserves it. I bet the 5 to win/place and then key the 5 over/under the 6-3-1-4 in the exactas. 

8th: 1-9-8/7//3-5-11/4-6-10…G1 Woody Stephens Stakes…The beleaguered and baffling Bob Baffert ships in two for this occasion and many will flock to the snake oil salesman for this betting opportunity. But I don’t use Baffert (per usual) or his 3YO Imagination (3), who folded like a perfectly constructed letter to be mailed in the G1 Preakness Stakes last time out. Wonder who NBC’s guru of broadcasters — Kenny Rice and Donna Brothers, in particular —  will select here? Rice loves white hair, apparently, and Brothers works on the side for an owner who still employees Baffert. But, as stated before, I don’t use. Instead, I will go with Book’em Danno (1), a New Jersey-bred son of Bucchero who ran a huge 2nd to Forever Young in the G3 Saudi Derby last time out. If you will remember, Forever Young ran a terrific 3rd in the G1 KY Derby. This one has been out 6 times total, with 4 wins and 2 runner-ups. Look for more here. Nash (9) ran a solid 2nd as the favorite in the G2 Pat Day Mile on KY Derby Day and many thought that was disappointing. Flattered now, though, by the winner. Who was Seize the Grey that day. The future Preakness Stakes winner. Look for Nash to redeem. Vlahos (8) has run just twice in the career, but ran huge in the Pat Day Mile, as well. Rates a shot off that effort. I bet the 1 across the board and double down on the win wager. I will box the 1-9-8 in the exactas. And, I will key the 1 over/under the 9-8-7 in two smaller units.

9th: 12-8-2/5/3-6/11/7-10…G1 Jaipur Stakes…This is a 5.5-furlong specialty race over the sod and I will go to the outside and saddle up with the Irish-bred gelding Mischief Magic (12). This one is my “Upset Play of the Day.” The Charles Appleby-trainee ships in here from Churchill Downs, where he was a very nice 3rd in the G2 Turf Sprint. Had all kinds of traffic issues in that one. At this distance, has a 1-1-1 record in 4 tries. Gets his regular Euro rider back up and I think that makes all the difference here. Look out at 8-1 ML price that could drift up. I bet the 12 across the board and then bet him across the board again. I will double down on the win wager, as well. I will box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. And, I will key the 12 over/under the 8-2-5-3-6-11 in two smaller units. 

10th: 6-2-3/4-1/5…G1 Metropolitan Handicap…This is another event where Baffert ships in to try and steal the G1 with National Treasure (2). But I don’t go for it. In one previous race here, the Baffert bully didn’t hit the board and in two starts at this 1-mile distance, the Quality Road colt has never won, either. Instead, I will go with White Abarrio (6), who is now trained by the infamous Richard Dutrow. This one has won at the distance and has a win over this track in only previous effort. Thrown out the Saudi Cup. Disaster. I think will return with a big one here. I bet the 6 across the board and double down on the win wager. I will box the 6-2-3 ink the exactas. I will key the 6 over/under the 2-3-4-1 in two smaller units. 

11th: 7-6-5/9-8/2-1/3/4…G1 Manhattan Stakes…This is a 13/16-mile grass event and I will go with another Irish-bred — Nations Pride (7). This 5YO has a win over this track back in 2022, when he captured the G1 Saratoga Derby Invitational. Gets Frankie Dettori back ump and should be stalking the pace throughout. Has 6 wins and a 2nd in 8 tries at this distance. Love it. I bet the 7 across the board and double down on the win wager. I box the 7-6-5 in the exactas. I will key the 7 over/under the 6-5-9-8-2-1 in two smaller units. 

12th: 9/3-1-10-2/6-5-4-8/7…G1 Belmont Stakes…The final leg of this year’s Triple Crown will have a fresh face. It will be contested at 11/4-miles rather than 11/2 and it will be at Saratoga. I go with my Best Bet of the Day Sierra Leone (9). The 3YO son of Gun Runner was my key bet in this year’s Derby, too. Ran a great race, just couldn’t get focused on the winner that day. I look for this one to run a huge one, with the new rider in the irons. In fact, I look for this one to open up and win by 3, 4 or 5 lengths and maybe more. Lock in early. Bet late. But make sure I get my bets down. I bet the 9 across the board and then double, triple, quadruple down on the win wager. I key the 9 over/under the 3-1-10-2-6-5-4-8 in the exactas. More with the 3-1-10-2 than the rest. 

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene