2023 Belmont Derby & Belmont Oaks Odds

There’s some fascinating G1 action on the lawn at Belmont Park on Saturday, with the 2023 Belmont Derby featuring a big European threat in The Foxes and a strong home defence in Kalik and Webslinger, and the Belmont Oaks offering an opportunity for Chad Brown to extend his superb record in the race with the upwardly mobile Prerequisite and Aspray, who take on the rock-solid Mission Of Joy.

Breeders Cup Odds

Belmont Derby

G1, $750,000, 1m 2f turf, 3yo, 5.49pm ET

In 2021 a graduate from the G1 Epsom Derby in England was victorious, last year a similar raider was second, and the Europeans aim to keep up the heat in the feature Belmont Derby, the headline event at Belmont Park on Saturday.

Last month’s edition of the Derby at Epsom was a strong one, with the winner Auguste Rodin going on to take the G1 Irish Derby and the runner-up successful at G2 level next time, and behind them The Foxes (7-2) produced a fine effort to be fifth, only fading in the closing stages as his stamina reserves emptied out.

He will relish the cutback to a route just short of the distance at which he won the competitive G2 Dante at York in May, while the likely fast ground will suit and his G1 class edge gives him the jump on today’s rivals. His barn is in sharp form.

The locals’ best chance of keeping the prize at home may lie with Kalik (5-1), who stretched his winning streak to three when making his stakes breakthrough in the G2 Pennine Ridge here over a mile-eighth. He rolled gate-to-wire and had plenty left to hold off the late-closing Far Bridge (4-1) by a length, with British raider Silver Knott (6-1) finishing well for third, a head behind.

Kalik must stretch out his pace another furlong but that should be within his capabilities, while last year’s G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf runner-up Silver Knott is likewise going long for the first time, and on European ratings is very closely matched with The Foxes.

Another major player is Webslinger (9-2), who has really hit his straps on his last two starts. He upset the mile-sixteenth G2 American Turf at Churchill Downs at 22-1 when beating Far Bridge by a nose, and built on that when putting away Mendelssohns March (30-1) by a length and a quarter in a mile-eighth stakes at the same track.

He could move up further, as long as he can take that form away from the twin spires, and is much preferred to his fully exposed barnmate Boppy O (12-1), whose win in a mile stakes at Monmouth Park didn’t indicate that he was desperate for a hike in both class and distance.

West-coast shipper Wizard Of Westwood (15-1) should be a pace factor after wiring a Santa Anita stakes over this distance, improving for stretching out and on the upgrade, while Mondego (20-1) is two-for-two at this track including a narrow score in a mile-sixteenth allowance last time, but that’s a long way from suggesting he can be competitive here. Cyber Ninja (30-1) and Kalik’s barnmate Redistricting (8-1) both broke their maidens here last time but take a huge jump on the learning curve and look vulnerable.

Belmont Derby Odds & Betting Pick

HorseJockeyHorse Racing Odds by Jazzsports
Mendelssohns MarchDylan Davis+3000
Boppy OLuis Saez+1200
Cyber NinjaJunior Alvarado+3000
WebslingerJavier Castellano+450
Far BridgeJose L. Ortiz+400
Silver Knott (GB)Richard Mullen+600
Wizard of WestwoodJohn R. Velazquez+1500
KalikIrad Ortiz, Jr.+500
Mondego (GB)Joel Rosario+2000
Redistricting (GB)Flavien Prat+800
The Foxes (IRE)Oisin Murphy+350

The European pair should be feared, but local boy KALIK looked a rising star when winning a G2 here last time and is the choice to take his streak to four.

Belmont Oaks

G1, $500,000, 1m 2f turf, 3yo fillies, 4.43pm ET

Given the deep wealth of turf distaffers in his barn it’s not that surprising that Chad Brown has won the Belmont Oaks a record six times, including last year’s edition, and he puts two in the gate in a bid for a heavenly seventh victory in Saturday’s supporting feature.

His pair are at slightly different levels of development, with Prerequisite (5-1) having made a successful stakes debut when going coast-to-coast in the G2 Wonder Again here over a mile-eighth, clinging on bravely in the shadow of the wire to turn back the rallying longshot Be Your Best (10-1), who was running a clear career-best, by a neck.

Prerequisite was the barn’s third-choice that day so moved up more than was expected, and that progressive profile could push her to even greater heights. Her barnmate Aspray (6-1) is not that far behind her, having taken her unbeaten record to three when finishing like a locomotive to grab a mile stakes at Pimlico, stopping the clock less than a second outside the track record. She could be a long way from her ceiling, but goes beyond a mile for the first time now and there’s a question there.

Graham Motion also loads both barrels and Mission Of Joy (2-1) leads the line following her dominant score in the mile-eighth G3 Regret at Churchill Downs, when she rolled home without being seriously challenged by a length and a half from Papilio (4-1), who couldn’t move when she wanted to and did well to close as much as she did.

That was a career-best and made it a four-for-six count for Mission Of Joy, who also finished ahead of Papilio when they ran three-four in the G2 Edgewood at the same track on their previous start.

Her barnmate, the recent European import Speirling Beag (8-1), makes her first start Stateside and won’t get the mud she appreciated when re-rallying to win the G3 Eyrefield at The Curragh over a mile-eighth by a whisker. She’s a tough cookie but might be best watched given the very different experience she faces now.

The Irish tourist Aspen Grove (8-1) has been rolled flat by the best fillies in Europe on her two starts at G1 level and this is class relief. She did all her best work late when third in the G3 Cornelscourt over a mile in the Leopardstown mud and stretching out should suit, and she has a win on fast ground on her record.

The stakes debutantes Strikingly Spun (15-1), beaten a neck in an allowance here over a mile and three-eighths, and Freydis The Red (15-1), who took six starts to shed her maiden tag, look up against it in this company.

Belmont Oaks Odds & Betting Prediction

HorseJockeyHorse Racing Odds by Jazzsports
Mission of JoyTyler Gaffalione+200
Strikingly SpunJose L. Ortiz+1500
Speirling Beag (IRE)John R. Velazquez+800
Papilio (IRE)Javier Castellano+400
PrerequisiteIrad Ortiz, Jr.+500
Be Your Best (IRE)Luis Saez+1000
AsprayFlavien Prat+600
Freydis the Red (FR)Junior Alvarado+1500
Aspen Grove (IRE)Oisin Murphy+800

She has yet to try Graded stakes but ASPRAY is wildly progressive, runs as though she wants to stretch out, and can maintain her unbeaten record.

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