The Belmont Oaks has grown from strength to strength over the past number of years. At the turn of the century in 2000, the prize money for the winner was $150,000 but that has soared to a staggering $1Million as horse racing grows in popularity in the United States. The European trainers like to come over to have a bash at this prestigious race every year but no European trainer has won the race since 2007. Tommy Stack was the last European trainer to win this race with Alexander Tango.
James Toner’s TIME AND MOTION (7/1) is unbeaten from her three starts this year, landing the Memories of Silver Stakes and Wonder Again Stakes along the way. She beat Last Waltz in both of those races and both of those races were fiercely competitive so she must have a fair amount of ability. Having the right man on board is always a necessity in these top class races so it is a huge bonus that John Velasquez will take the mount. This filly is on an upward curve at present, will get this trip no problem and looks the best bet to land the Belmont Oaks.
It is fantastic to see Aidan O’Brien send a few runners over to Belmont this weekend to spice up the night. Ballydoyle (9/4) has been installed as the favourite and if she could repeat her run when second in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas behind stablemate Minding, she would be a massive player. The Galileo filly is a French Group 1 winner over a mile and was a creditable sixth behind La Cressonniere in the Prix De Diane in Chantilly when last seen. She didn’t seem to enjoy the step up in distance that day and that has to be the concern for her here at Belmont this weekend. The yard also saddle Coolmore (25/1) who actually finished ahead of Ballydoyle in the Prix De Diane last time out in 5th so she could offer much more value at each way prices.
Chad Brown has won this race the last four years running and he saddles three runners for this years’ renewal. All three runners can be backed at large prices but his most interesting runner has to be Last Waltz (33/1) who certainly looks a bit of value. This filly was beat half a length by Coolmore in the Weld Park Stakes when formerly trained by David Wachman in Ireland. She caught the eye of many in the Wonder Again Stakes, thundering home from off stone last to finish third. She ran the final three furlongs in 34.60 seconds which is lightning quick. If they go a good clip up front, no horse will be staying on as fast at the death and the step up in trip is massively in her favour.
Catch A Glimpse (5/2) is near the head of the market for very good reason! She is unbeaten and is now seeking her 7th victory in a row and she probably should be favourite in many people’s eyes. This bold front runner has done it the hard way to date but there has to be question marks over her stamina as she steps up to a mile and a quarter for the first time. She sets blistering early fractions in her races and there is every chance she could build up an unassailable lead but she is stepping into the unknown here and looks worth taking on.