Belmont, Churchill Feature Grade 1 Handicaps Saturday
- Who: Thoroughbreds – Funny Moon, Life At Ten, Unrivaled Belle, Battle Plan, Blame
- What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The Ogden Phipps Handicap, The Stephen Foster Handicap
- Where: Belmont Park, Churchill Downs
- When: Saturday, June 12th
Unrivaled Belle, conqueror of Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra last out, will be heavily favored in The Odgen Phipps Handicap at Belmont Park on Saturday. Later in the afternoon, Battle Plan and Blame will vie for favoritism in The Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs. Strangely, it seems that the 5-horse Phipps field with a prohibitive favorite offers a greater chance for an upset than the 11-horse Foster lineup with a trio of millionaires in addition to the co-favorites.
Unrivaled Belle is 2-for-2 at Belmont and has been training well for Hall-of-Famer Bill Mott since the upset of Rachel Alexandra. However, she’s likely to be overbet off that win, and the pair to her inside won’t go down without a fight. Funny Moon has won 4-of-5 at Belmont, including the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks last summer and the Grade 2 Shuvee last out. Granted, her Beyer Speed Figures are a bit light (lifetime best of 91), but this filly is top-class and she’s in expert hands (trainer Christophe Clement and jockey Alan Garcia). Life At Ten is on a 4-race winning streak, including the Grade 3 Sixty Sails Handicap at Hawthorne last out. She earned a 101 Beyer in that event, just two ticks below ‘Belle’s lifetime top (103). All three have similar running styles…they can lead or stalk, so race tactics and trips could be critical. Funny Moon may be best served saving ground several lengths off the early pace. Although she’s listed at 5-2 on the morning line, I have a feeling that this grand-daughter of Belmont Stakes winners A. P. Indy and Easy Goer might be overlooked by the betting public. I’ll bet Funny Moon to win at odds of 3-1 or better, and key her over Life At Ten and Unrivaled Belle in the exacta.
Stephen Foster co-favorite Blame is as tough as they come, having hit the board in all nine lifetime starts, with six wins. He’s won his last two at Churchill, most recently the Grade 2 Clark Handicap last fall. He prevailed over a tough field that day, including Misremembered (2nd), Einstein (3rd), and Foster entrants Giant Oak (4th), Demarcation (8th) and millionaire Macho Again (9th). However, I’m leaning towards the Todd Pletcher-trained Battle Plan (5-2 morning line). He could be loose on the lead in a paceless affair, and prove extremely difficult to run down. I’ll bet on Battle Plan to win at odds of 3-2 or better, and key him on top in $2.00 trifectas (add a zero if your bankroll permits). I’ll also key Blame in the second and third slots, with “All”. The trifecta tickets will look like this: 2/11/All and 2/All/11. Total trifecta cost: $36.00 (or $360.00, bankroll permitting).
Those are my horse racing betting tips for the weekend. Best of luck and happy gambling!