Belmont Park – 9th race – 2-Wake Up Smiling (3-1)
Turned in an excellent performance in her first outing since last July when winding up a troubled third in a similar state-bred maiden turf sprint in late April and seems highly likely to be fitter and tighter with that effort behind her. The Linda Rice barn has strong stats with second-off-layoff runners and this daughter of Distorted Humor should be more effective with today’s extra furlong while utilizing a stalk-and-pounce strategy. At 3-1 on the morning line she’s a strong straight play and rolling exotic single.
Santa Anita – 8th race – 7-Monterey Shale (7/2)
Has the classic two-sprints-and-stretch out pattern that we strongly favor and this Carla Gaines-trained gelding should produce a major forward move while switching to a surface that he’s bred to like. Rafael Bejarano knows him well and should have this lightly-raced 4-year-old in an ideal pace-prompting position. At 7/2 on the morning line the son of Hard Spun offers good value both in the straight pool and in rolling exotic play.