As a handicapper, the Grade One Foxwoods Just a Game is the hardest of the graded races on the Belmont card Saturday.
The 5:2 favorite is Aviate, a four year old that is trained by Bill Mott. In her last start, Aviate closed like a champion to win the Grade 2 Distaff at Churchill Downs in 1:36.3. With the lack of pace in this race, I'm not sold on her chances.
The 7:2 second choice is Fantasia, trained by Jonathan Sheppard. Despite having earned over $500,000 in her 16 career starts on the turf, this five-year-old has just one win since October 2009 and that was over a yielding turf at Keenland. I don't like her chances in this race.
C.S. Silk appears to be the main speed in the race but I also don't like her chances to win this $400,000 race. If this five-year-old runs back to her form from September 2010, when she won at Saratoga in 1:35.1, she might be a threat but her recent form doesn't indicate that she will.
Strike the Bell is a great value at 12:1 and should be used in any exotic bets. Strike the Bell ran a respectable second her last time out, which was her first race in over six months. In September 2010, this five year old easily won in 1:34.2, so she's capable of running well over the turf at Belmont.
I'm intrigued by Gypsy's Warning, trained by Graham Motion. She's currently listed at 5:1 and appears to be a threat from right off the lead. In her last race on a firm turf, she won the Grade One Matriarch at Hollywood in 1:34 flat. Her June 4 work in 1:14.2 for six furlongs is a good sign she's in good form.
After much debate, I'm picking Much Rejoicing to win her first stakes race. This four year old is just one for one on the turf but was dazzling in that lone victory on May 13 at Belmont Park. In that race, she stalked the lead and won by nearly two lengths in 1:08.2. The added two furlongs from that race don't concern me as she has solid breeding for eight panels.
Much Rejoicing (12:1)/Strike the Bell and Gypsy's Warning/Aviate and C.S. Silk.
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