Belmont Park is the place to be this Saturday if you are a horse betting fan of major graded stakes events. That day’s impressive race card is highlighted by the $1.2 million Belmont Derby Invitational featuring some of the top 3-year old turf racers in the nation.
The field for Saturday’s main event at Belmont Park continues to take shape, but it figures to be a strong one with 11 entries currently listed. The best of the best in turf racing will be taking aim at this year’s Belmont Derby Invitational title, and I have narrowed the potential field down to the three contenders that have the best shot at finishing in the money.
2017 Belmont Derby Invitational
The Belmont Derby Invitational is a Grade 1 stakes race for 3-year-old thoroughbreds, and the total prize purse for this year’s event has been set at $1.2 million. It will be contested on the turf track at Belmont over a distance of 1¼ miles.
Kicking off my trifecta play for Saturday’s race would be trainer Brad Cox’s Arklow with jockey Mike Smith along for the ride. This Kentucky-bred colt should open as the morning line favorite for the Belmont Derby in light of his big win at Churchill Downs on May 6 in the Grade 2 American Turf Stakes over a distance of 1 1/16 miles. He started his 3-year-old campaign racing on dirt at Fair Grounds, but the results did not pan out all that well with a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 LeComte Stakes in late January followed by an eighth-place run in the Grade 2 Risen Star.
With the highest Horse Racing Nation rating in the field for Saturday’s race at 7.55, this pedigree of Arch has proven himself to be a much better turf horse, and that should be the case in the final results for this race.
We all know that turf racing is vastly different than running on a dirt track, and one of the top 3-year-old colts on the grass this season has been Oscar Performance. Bred in Kentucky, this son of Kitten’s Joy is trained by Brian Lynch, and veteran jockey Jose Ortiz is expected to get the ride Saturday. He is coming off an impressive first-place run in this year’s Grade 3 Pennine Ridge Stakes at Belmont on June 3 after fading to a disappointing 10th in the American Turf Stakes as part of Kentucky Derby Day.
His biggest victory as a 2-year-old came in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last November at Santa Anita Park. Oscar Performance comes into this race with the highest HRN rank in the field at No. 221 and his current HRN rating is 6.64.
My third choice for Saturday afternoon’s main event at Belmont would be Good Samaritan after placing second to Oscar Performance in the Pennine Ridge Stakes. I really like the chances that these two colts finish in the money again behind Arklow. Trained by William Mott, Good Samaritan will also gain an advantage in this race with jockey Joel Rosario getting the ride on a familiar track. Sired by Harlan’s Holiday, Good Samaritan finished second in the American Turf at Churchill behind Arklow over a distance of 1 1/16 miles.
These were the only two races that Good Samaritan has run this season. With a HRN ranking of No. 358 to go along with one of the highest ratings in the field at 6.86, there is quite a bit of upside to his chances to end up in the mix for the third time in a row.Talk Horse Racing Betting In Our Forum