The Grade Two Running of the New York at Belmont today will start slow and end frantically. The $200,000 co-feature will be 10 furlongs on the turf, and Aruna is the heavy morning line favorite.
None of the six entered fillies or mares in the race show any early tactical speed. Underling, a 30-1 long shot that is trained by David Duggan, will end up on the lead, even though she probably wants no part of it.
Hit It Rich, the Claude McGaughey trained five-year-old, will be the closest horse to the lead, but appears unable to win this race, despite having three wins in seven career starts. I see her as a legitimate contender late that will ultimately fall short.
Banimpire is one of the main threats in this race. Chad Brown sends this four-year-old for the first time since he took over as her trainer. Banimpire is getting Lasix for the first time and losing weight from her previous starts. The only concern is that this is her first start since Oct. 15, 2011.
Aruna is a fantastic five-year-old mare, who is trained by sizzling hot trainer Graham Motion. Aruna is undefeated in two career starts over the turf at Belmont and appears to be in great form. I really don't like the jockey change from Ramon Dominguez to Corey Nakatani, and the lack of early speed concerns me.
The winner of this race is going to be Mystical Star, who is the third choice at 4:1. I think this horse will improve from her last race, where she ran well but was ultimately disqualified from third and placed eighth. I really like that Jose Lezcano keeps the mount for this Christopher Clement-trained horse.
The first eight furlongs of this race won't be that exciting due to a small field and no early pace, but the stretch run should be very exciting. Aruna will have her chance, but she will be outkicked by Mystical Star.