Jaipur Stakes, Manhattan & Poker Stakes Odds

The outstanding stakes-heavy schedule at Belmont Park on Saturday features three big prizes on the lawn, with a transatlantic tussle in store in the G1 Manhattan between local boy Up To The Mark and Godolphin raiders Ottoman Fleet and Warren Point, a helter-skelter race for the G1 Jaipur Stakes in which Casa Creed, winner for the last two years, goes up against Breeders’ Cup winner Caravel, and another opportunity to check out rising star Chez Pierre in the G3 Poker.

Jaipur Stakes

G1, $400,000, 6f turf, 3yo+, 4.19pm ET

A full field for the Jaipur Stakes, a race in which a clean trip and good luck may play more of a part than class and form, but there’s one horse who has proved he can cope with such a scenario.

This is where it’s at for Casa Creed (9-2), who is bidding for a three-peat in the Jaipur Stakes after a surprise two-length win in 2021 and a hard-charging buzzer-beating score 12 months ago, when he nipped Arrest Me Red (6-1) in the last two jumps to win by a half-length.

This is a tougher race than those two editions and he’s been hung out in post 11 (two and four for his wins), but perhaps more relevant is his preference for this time of year – all his victories bar one have come between late April and mid-August, so now’s the time to get this summer runner.

Main rival Caravel (3-1) has never been better and completed a four-timer when cruising against inferior rivals in a Churchill Downs stakes over five and a half furlongs. She is very effective at that intermediate distance, having won her previous three races over five and a half at Keeneland, including the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at 42-1, and the extra yardage against top opposition – added to her draw in the 12-hole – is a concern.

Wesley Ward is always a force in speed tests and along with Arrest Me Red runs Go Bears Go (12-1), who made a big impression on his first run for the barn when third in the G2 Twin Spires Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs over five and a half furlongs, rallying to be a length and three-quarters ahead of his barnmate, with Big Invasion (6-1) another half-length back in seventh.

The extra sixteenth of a mile is a positive for Go Bears Go, as is his inside post, while that was a career-worst for Big Invasion and he could certainly bounce back.

The classy Dr Zempf (8-1) hasn’t cut back to this distance since his two-year-old days and there’s been no sense that he’s wanted to. This could all happen too fast for him, but Nothing Better (8-1) is in the right spot after two improved performances in 2023.

He wired the field in an Aqueduct allowance over six furlongs, with Yes And Yes (20-1) fourth, beaten two and a half lengths, and Thin White Duke (30-1) a nose behind in fifth, and then couldn’t make the same trick stick in a five-furlong stakes at Pimlico when caught close home and beaten a neck, with a good way back to the third horse. If he can get to the front from the nine-hole he’s a threat.

California shipper Air Force Red (12-1) was beaten only a head in a Santa Anita stakes over six and a half furlongs and could figure, while Front Run The Fed (30-1) is hamstrung by post 13 but showed a flicker of form when coming through fast and late to take a Keeneland allowance over five and a half furlongs – Ice Chocolat (30-1) four lengths back in eighth – and is not the no-hoper his odds might suggest.

Jaipur Stakes Odds & Betting Pick

There has always been a big race in GO BEARS GO and this could be it, as he comes off a strong effort with post position and extra yardage both positives.

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
Yes and YesFlorent Geroux+2000
Go Bears Go (IRE)Jose L. Ortiz+1200
Air Force RedJohn R. Velazquez+1200
Mid Day ImageKendrick Carmouche+3000
Dr Zempf (GB)Flavien Prat+800
Ice Chocolat (BRZ)Dylan Davis+3000
Thin White DukeJavier Castellano+3000
Arrest Me RedIrad Ortiz, Jr.+600
Nothing BetterManuel Franco+800
Big InvasionJoel Rosario+600
Casa CreedLuis Saez+450
CaravelTyler Gaffalione+300
Front Run the FedReylu Gutierrez+3000
Surprise BossTrevor McCarthy+5000
CoppolaJohn R. Velazquez+1500
Our ShotJavier Castellano+1500

Manhattan Stakes

G1, $750,000, 1m 2f turf, 4yo+, 5.54pm ET

Global powerhouse Godolphin is here in force but this time there’s a big-hitter from the home team in opposition, giving the Manhattan – the highlight on the Belmont Park lawn on Saturday – a truly competitive feel.

The local boy making good is Up To The Mark (8-5), who parlayed two wins in allowance grade this winter into a G1 career in spring, running third in the G1 Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland before making his stakes breakthrough in the G1 Turf Classic at Churchill Downs over a mile-eighth. He cleared right away in powerful fashion to score by three and three-quarter lengths from a horse who was G1-placed again next time out, with Ocean Atlantique (20-1) a no-kick fourth, beaten another length and a half.

It wasn’t that strong a race behind the front two, but Up To The Mark is still learning the trade and he runs as though stretching out further will suit.

Godolphin’s main threat is Ottoman Fleet (5-2), who has always looked a crackerjack in the making and has missed the board just once in 11 starts. He already has dollars in his bank account after dominating the G2 Fort Marcy here over a mile-eighth, coming from a long way back to win with plenty in hand with Rockemperor (12-1) – whose trainer Chad Brown has won eight of the last 11 runnings of this race – beaten just over two lengths into fourth. The extra yardage is right up his street, although his barn could be in better form.

He has more speed and is a better horse than barnmate Warren Point (5-1), who let the side down at 3-5 when fifth in the G1 Man o’ War here over a mile and three-eighths, when he came to win but emptied inside the final furlong, finishing two lengths behind the hardy veteran Red Knight (8-1), who rallied hard to beat Soldier Rising (12-1) by a length and a half. It wasn’t the distance that nixed him, as he’s arguably better at 12 furlongs.

Red Knight is enjoying a late-life revival but there might be too much speed around for him, while Soldier Rising has never won a stakes and always gets too far behind for his late rally to count.

The remainder are makeweights. Highest Honors (20-1) probably needs some extra yardage and his one-for-eight count in stakes tells a story (and that one came in July 2019); Keeneland allowance winner Strong Quality (15-1) is improving and could be a pace factor, but this is a very tough spot for a stakes debut; So High (50-1) is outclassed.

Manhattan Stakes Odds & Betting Prediction

The home team has a major player but this can go for export, with OTTOMAN FLEET already a winner in the US and expected to move up again.

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
So High (GB)Javier Castellano+5000
Strong QualityFlorent Geroux+1500
Warren Point (GB)Richard Mullen+500
Ottoman Fleet (GB)William Buick+250
Soldier Rising (GB)Jose L. Ortiz+1200
Red KnightTyler Gaffalione+800
Rockemperor (IRE)Flavien Prat+1200
Up to the MarkIrad Ortiz, Jr.+160
Ocean AtlantiqueLuis Saez+2000
Highest HonorsJoel Rosario+2000

Poker Stakes

G3, $200,000, 1m turf, 4yo+, 1.44pm ET

Strange things can happen between gate and wire and even when something looks a foregone conclusion it’s often wise to take it with a pinch of salt, but that said, the Poker boils down to one horse with a big edge against the opposition.

The market hasn’t missed him because he’ll be a heavy favourite, but that’s how it should be for Chez Pierre (1/1), who crashed into the big time in a big way when making it look easy in the G1 Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland in April.

That race was expected to go for export with brilliant dual Breeders’ Cup winner Modern Games a 2-5 shot, but Chez Pierre made him look a second-rater when surging away through the final furlong to beat him by three lengths in a time just a click or two outside the track record, with Emmanuel (9-2) a no-show seventh beaten ten and a half lengths.

It was a big step up from his previous standard, but all Chez Pierre has ever done is improve – he’s six-for-seven now – and considering that both Modern Games and third-placed Up To The Mark have won G1s since, the form of the Maker’s Mark Mile is absolutely ironclad.

The eternally frustrating Emmanuel looked to have turned a corner with wins this winter in the G3 Tampa Bay and the G3 Canadian Turf at Gulfstream Park, both at a mile-sixteenth, and this is his level, but it’s hard to see him laying a glove on the favourite, whose level is a couple of rungs higher.

Woodbine specialist Filo Di Arianna (4-1) is very effective above the border but that form doesn’t travel, and his two races in the US resulted in very heavy defeats. He is almost certain to improve on that terrible record but the board is the best he can hope for, which also applies to Anaconda (8-1), who made his stakes breakthrough by a nose here over seven furlongs last time.

Chad Brown takes two shots of the Hail Mary type, with Emaraaty (6-1) coming off a nine-month layoff since his stakes breakthrough in the mile-sixteenth G3 Bernard Baruch at Saratoga, a very weak race for the grade. He doesn’t have much leeway for improvement at the age of eight, while barnmate Mackinnon (15-1) drew a blank in 2022 and has an eight-month absence to overcome since he hit the place slot in the G2 Hill Prince at Aqueduct over a mile-eighth.

Dreams Of Tomorrow (12-1) won a five-runner allowance here over a mile-sixteenth last month and makes no appeal whatsoever up in grade.

Poker Stakes Odds & Betting Tip

The progressive G1 winner CHEZ PIERRE has a stranglehold on this race on every available metric, and it’s very hard to see him being beaten.

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
Chez Pierre (FR)Flavien Prat+100
Emaraaty (GB)Jose L. Ortiz+600
MackinnonJoel Rosario+1500
Dreams of TomorrowManuel Franco+1200
AnacondaTyler Gaffalione+800
EmmanuelIrad Ortiz, Jr.+450
Filo Di Arianna (BRZ)Luis Saez+400
Bourbon CallingTBA+160

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