Timeform Preview: Belmont Park, Saturday June 9
Timeform pick out five interesting bets at Belmont Park on Saturday, on a card which is headlined by Justify's bid to win the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes...
"...it looks significant that his top handler is persevering and is willing to pitch him in at this level despite being beaten in lesser company last time."
Timeform on One Liner
Ogden Phipps Stakes - 8.5f, Dirt (17:47 BST)
The first of five supporting Grade 1 contests on the Belmont Stakes day card sees last year's Kentucky Oaks winner Abel Tasman attempt to get back on track after an underwhelming seasonal reappearance at Churchill Downs. She was entitled to need that run when only fourth to Salty in the La Troienne Stakes, but she is far from bombproof, and is taken on with American Gal, who gets a handy 8 lb from her. Twice a Grade 1 winner herself, American Gal has plenty of speed and should be forwardly placed to get first run on Abel Tasman, a tactical advantage that may prove hard to overcome for Bob Baffert's filly.
Selection: Back American Gal
Acorn Stakes - 1m, Dirt (18:24 BST)
The winner of this year's Kentucky Oaks, Monomoy Girl, is in action in the following contest. Defeated just once in seven starts, Brad Cox's charge showed a very willing attitude to fend off the late challenge of Wonder Gadot in the Churchill Downs Classic last time, fighting back after briefly looking like she may falter. With last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Caledonia Road in the field, Monmomy Girl is unlikely to have things her own way, but she sets a tall standard for the rest to aim at and should come out on top once again.
Selection: Back Monomoy Girl
Just a Game Stakes - 1m, Turf (21:02 BST)
Previously trained in Germany by Andreas Suborics, A Raving Beauty could hardly have been more impressive on her Stateside debut for Chad Brown, convincingly winning a Grade 3 contest by three lengths over a slightly longer trip at this track last time. Her overall profile is solid and the slight drop back in trip should be no issue. With the possibility of rain on the day, the fact she has form on soft ground should stand her in good stead. A few of the others are closely matched, with On Leave, Proctor's Ledge and A Raving Beauty's stable companion Off Limits all possessing strong claims.
Selection: Back A Raving Beauty
Metropolitan Handicap - 1m, Dirt (21:45 BST)
Not the classiest renewal of one of North America's premier one-mile stakes races, but it is certainly competitive, with plenty of the eleven-strong field in with a chance of some sort. Morning Line favourite Mind Your Biscuits has primarily made his name as a late-running sprinter, but has placed form at a mile. He isn't totally convincing at the likely prices, though, so it may be best to look elsewhere.
With doubts about the others at the head of the market, the one to be with might well be Todd Pletcher's One Liner. With just six starts under his belt, One Liner may well have more to offer, and although he's clearly been hard to train, it looks significant that his top handler is persevering and is willing to pitch him in at this level despite being beaten in lesser company last time. The sloppy track could well have been all against him there and he is a sporting each-way selection in a race that looks ripe for an upset.
Selection: Back One Liner win and place
Manhattan Stakes - 12f Turf (22:40 BST)
Another Turf race that revolves around Chad Brown, who fields the first and second favourites on the Morning Line forecast. Both Beach Patrol and Robert Bruce have plenty to recommend them, but the former looks rock solid having won or been placed at this level no less than eleven times. His consistency is hard to knock and he should take the world of beating in a race that lacks depth despite attracting a thirteen-strong field. Todd Pletcher's Hi Happy should be on the premises at the business end too, while Europe is represented by Alexos Komnenos, who was last seen finishing down the field behind Rhododendron in the Lockinge at Newbury. He looks up against it, but it wouldn't be a massive surprise he if acquitted himself well in a race that isn't too strong for the level.
Selection: Back Beach Patrol
Win back American Gal in the Ogden Phipps Stakes (17:47 BST)
Win back Monomoy Girl in the Acorn Stakes (18:24 BST)
Win back A Raving Beauty in the Just a Game Stakes (21:02 BST)
Win and Place back One Liner in the Metropolitan Handicap (21:45 BST)
Win back Beach Patrol in the Manhattan Stakes (22:40 BST)