Belmont Park hosts a number of exciting stakes races this weekend in the United States, which will be headlined by the Jockey Club Derby. All the leading horse racing sportsbooks will offer prices for the races this weekend, but what selections should gamblers be making for the featured races?
Jockey Club Derby Invitational Stakes
The featured race of the afternoon comes in the form of the Jockey Club Derby Invitational Stakes, which offers a huge purse of $1 million, as well as an entrance into the Breeders’ Cup Turf. This is the final race of the Turf Trinity Series, with the previous races coming in the form of the Belmont Derby and Saratoga Derby.
Bolshoi Ballet will be among the favorites for this third leg, having previously won the Belmont Derby earlier in the year. However, his inconsistencies have been evident throughout his three-year-old season, finishing fourth in the Saratoga Derby and seventh in the Epsom Derby.
We like the chances of Yibir, who comes into this in the best form of his career for Charlie Appleby. The three-year-old has won the G3 Bahrain Trophy and G2 Voltiguer Stakes already this season, and if speed is factor, he is a very challenging contender to look past.
Jockey Club Oaks Invitational Stakes
Next up we look at the race for the girls, as the Jockey Club Oaks take centre stage at 5:14 PM ET. Fillies that are three can enter this race, and it offers a purse of $700,000 for the leading connections.
Both of the Chad Brown runners in this field are fillies to like. Higher Truth has been closing on a first win in the series, having finished third in the Belmont Oaks and second in the Saratoga equivalent. However, we think that Shantisara will take all the beating this weekend. She has improved over her last two starts since moving from France to the United States. Her victory in the G3 Pucker Up Stakes was a stunning effort, and on that form, she is very challenging to beat.
Others to consider include Creative Flair for trainer Charlie Appleby. She won three from five in the United Kingdom, before finishing second in the G3 Prix Chloe. She also stayed on strong when finishing third in the G3 Saratoga Oaks in August.
Grand Prix American Jockey Club Invitational Stakes
The final race that we will look at from Belmont this weekend is the Grand Prix American Jockey Club Invitational Stakes. This is a contest for horses aged four and older and is run over one and five eighth miles.
Lone Rock is a very solid favorite for this race, having won five from six so far this season. His biggest win came in the G2 Brooklyn Stakes, while that very strong form continues with a win in the Birdstone Stakes on his following start.
However, since he will be so short in the betting, we will be taking him on. Moretti would be our preference, who has shown glimpses of some quality form. He was beaten by Lone Rock in the Birdstone Stakes, but has finished third in the G2 Brooklyn Stakes and also stayed on well in the G2 Suburban Stakes.