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Check out our predictions and odds for the Belmont Oaks at Belmont Park!
It will be a battle of Europeans against Americans as Santa Barbara, Con Lima and Plum Ali headline a field of eight 3-year-old fillies set for Saturday’s Grade 1 Belmont Oaks.
The likely favorite in the 1 ¼-mile test on the grass at Belmont Park will be the Aiden O’Brien trained Santa Barbara. The regally bred daughter of Camelot comes in off a strong second in the Group 1 Pretty Polly at the Curragh in Ireland. Before that, she was a beaten favorite when fifth in the English Oaks. The Belmont Oaks will be her fourth consecutive Grade 1 race after winning her debut in impressive fashion.
Con Lima and Plum Ali, who finished 1-2 in Belmont Park’s Grade 3 Wonder Again recently, could be the strongest of the American contingent. Con Lima has only had one defeat her in six lifetime starts on the turf. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the daughter of the Commissioner could also be the speed of the race.
Plum Ali, meanwhile, has lost her last three, after beginning her career with three wins, which included the Grade 2 Miss Grillo at Belmont. The Christophe Clement filly has kept only the best company, though, in those defeats, and was a fast-closing second behind Con Lima in the Wonder Again
The $700,000 Belmont Oaks is the first leg of NYRA’s Turf Triple series for 3-year-old fillies. The series will continue with the Grade 1 Saratoga Oaks on August 8 and the Grade 1 Jockey Club Oaks on September 18, back at Belmont.
$2 Trifecta Key – Con Lima over Santa Barbara, Plum Ali, Cirona and Higher Truth = $24
$10 Exacta Box – Con Lima and Santa Barbara = $20
Con Lima (4/1)
|Belmont Oaks Race Information
|Belmont Oaks (Grade 1)
|Saturday, July 10 — 4:06 pm Eastern time
|How to Watch
|Fox Sports 1
— BloodHorse (@BloodHorse) July 8, 2021
This classy Irish-bred probably did not enjoy the course condition when she faded to fifth in the Group 1 English Oaks. Bred to get even better, she rebounded well with a strong performance against older next out in the Group 1 Pretty Polly. Well suited for the 10 furlong trip, she looks primed to be the filly to beat on Saturday as she ventures to the United States for the first time. Still lightly raced, perhaps the travel will be an issue, but it’s hard to look past both her class and her potential to still improve. She is a must-use in the top two spots.
The winner of the Wonder Again Stakes has been a revelation since making grass her preferred surface last year. Having said that, she is not bad on dirt either. A winner of five of six on the green, she defeated a strong field last time at Belmont in the Wonder Again and still might not be one of the top two favorites in here. This test will be even tougher, but the daughter of Commissioner has the type of controlling speed that could prove very tough on Saturday. If left alone for too long, she could add another win to her impressive record.
Owned and bred by Lazy F Ranch of Forego fame, this daughter of Noble Mission has been very consistent in beginning her career on the turf. After a second-place debut, she rattled off three straight wins, including the Grade 3 Regret last time at Churchill Downs. This will be a class test for her, but she certainly must be respected off her excellent record. It’s hard to exclude her, but as one of the favorites, I do like others a bit better, as I have a feeling the Wonder Again in New York was a stronger race than the Regret in Kentucky.
A daughter of Galileo, this one has won two in a row for top turf trainer Chad Brown. Bred in Ireland, she looks to be getting better with each start, but has yet to face this type of competition. Not having made her career debut until March, she will be making her stakes debut in this big race, but does have the advantage of two wins at Belmont going 10 furlongs in her last two. It is a big step up in class, but she looks like she might just be good enough to handle the occasion. She is a threat.
The second of three coming over from Europe, this French-based filly has plenty of experience against quality stakes competition. She came up a little short last time in the French Oaks, but it was not a bad effort, beaten less than four lengths. Before that, she was right there against Group 1 competition at Longchamp. She moves up if the course is wet but still looks like a filly who could contend on a firmer course. I like her second-best of the invaders.
Another shipper from Europe, her only race this year was quite solid when she finished second in the Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom Downs. Unlike the other international fillies in the field, though, she does not have experience at a distance, never having run beyond 8 ½ furlongs. Last year she made the trip over for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, but could not make much noise. The daughter of Kodiac certainly fits from a class perspective, but I do prefer others.
As a longshot, this Mark Casse-trained filly has solid credentials. She has finished first in three of her seven races on the turf, and would be a two-time stakes winner if not for a disqualification in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride Stakes. Things only get tougher here, though, and I’m not sure if the added distance will be to her benefit. Her tactical speed should put her in the race early, but I have to side with others when the real running begins.
Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
Email: [email protected]
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