Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “National Best Plays” for Saturday, July 6, 2024

Jeff Siegel’s National Prime Plays
Saturday, July 6, 2024

Belmont at the Big A – Sixth Race – Post: 3:08 ET
Prime Play: Legend of Time (GB)

Forecast: This year’s edition of the Belmont Derby Invitational-G2 projects to have a slow early, fast late race shape that is likely to prove challenging to Endlessly, the 6/5 morning line favorite. . The M. McCarthy-trained colt is certain to enjoy the return to grass (he’s a two-time graded stakes winner on turf) but without a significant turn of foot it’s possible he’ll be caught for speed when the pressure is turned on straightening for home. So, let’s look elsewhere. Legend of Time (GB) , a five-time winner from just seven career starts for the powerful Godolphin/Appleby outfit, quickened off moderate splits to win the Pennine Ridge S.-G2, over the local lawn last month and not much more will be needed for a repeat score. The son of Sea the Stars lands the favorable rail and is reunited with regular jockey W. Buick, who already has won four races under this talented sophomore. He’s listed as the second choice at 5/2 and that seems about right.

Belmont at the Big A – Eighth Race – Post: 4:11 ET
Prime Play: 5-Millikin (2-1)

Forecast: Millikin is extremely fast on figures and lands the cozy outside draw while facing a field without much early speed in this year’s edition of the John A. Nerud S.-G2 for older sprinters. A daylight winner in his last two starts, most recently over this track and distance in an overnight race last month, the son of Violence faces his toughest test to date but given the projected race flow it’s easy to foresee the R. Brisset-trained colt establishing the lead without pressure and then dominating to the wire. He’s listed at 2-1 on the morning line and will offer value in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics if you can get it.

Belmont at the Big A – Ninth Race – Post 4:42 ET
Prime Play: 7-She Feels Pretty

Forecast: Go back and watch the replay of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly Turf S.-G1 and you’ll probably agree that third place finisher She Feels Pretty deserved to win. Victimized by her outside 11 post position, the daughter of Karakontie-Jpn was forced to race very wide without cover every step of the way before understandably paying the price in the final 50 yards and winding up third, beaten just a half-length, behind Hard to Justify. Worth noting is that the runner-up in the race, Porto Fortuna-Ire, wound up second in the English 1000 Guineas this spring and then won the Coronation S.-G1 at Royal Ascot. The form was further franked when this Cherie DeVaux-trained filly cruised to the easiest of victories upon her return in the listed Hilltop S. at Pimlico on Preakness Day in mid-May while earning a career top number. Already a Grade-1 winner (last year at Woodbine in the Natalma S.-G2), she should prove very tough to beat in this year’s edition of the Belmont Oaks-G1

Prairie Meadows – Eighth Race – Post 9:08 CT
Prime Play: 3-Henro (12-1)

Forecast: Henro is untested in stakes company and around two turns but offers a reasonable price chance at or near his morning line of 12-1 line in this year’s edition of the Iowa Derby. It’s entirely possible that the sophomore son of Collected is nothing more than a late-running sprinter but in his first try over a distance of ground the Chris Hartman-trained gelding gets a chance to prove otherwise. His sprint numbers continue to rise with each outing and in his most recent start – a fast finishing second with a sharp gallop-out in a hot allowance extended sprint race at Churchill Downs last month – he produced a strong and steady late kick that produced a career top 92 Beyer speed figure, one that makes him a major player despite the class hike. We’ll anticipate a mid-pack early position before arriving at the moment of truth at the quarter pole, at which time he’ll have every chance to produce a winning late kick under regular pilot R. Bejarano.

Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “National Best Plays” for Saturday, July 6, 2024

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