This is about the time of year when horse racing gets really fun. There isn’t an actual offseason for horse racing, but if there was a season, it would run from the spring to the Breeders’ Cup in November. The Breeders’ Cup is scheduled for November 4-5 this year. The Kentucky Derby on May 1 marks the beginning of Triple Crown season in the US. It’s back to regularly scheduled programming after the Triple Crown ran from June to October last year.
In a first, the Belmont Stakes was the first leg, while the Preakness Stakes was the final leg on October 3. We are back to a normal schedule with the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday of May in 2021. It was a positive start at Pimlico and Belmont yesterday, as we had six horses and five winners for a tidy profit.
We are back at Belmont Park on Friday afternoon with three selections in New York. Belmont Park has $662,000 in prize money available across nine events on Friday afternoon. The $100,000 Affirmed Success Stakes is the feature race today. There is plenty of racing elsewhere in the US as well, with 14 racecourses open for wagering at BetOnline. Head below for our free Belmont Park picks for April 23, 2021.
Post Time: 1:00 p.m. EST
Race 1 covers 5 furlongs on the dirt for a $90,000 purse at Belmont Park. This is a small field of five runners competing for a pretty sizable purse. It’s the third biggest race at Belmont on Friday. Two horses are making their debuts, with Speak Unity and Poppy Flower on the racecourse as first-time starters. Poppy Flower could have a strong go for Wesley Ward.
Purchased for only $9,500, Ward feels like this horse is going to be a bargain. The ROI is limitless for Poppy Flower, who is already entering a $90,000 event in her racecourse debut. She has been in strong form in morning workouts and is held in high regard on Friday. Poppy Flower completed 4 furlongs in 48.80 and 49.25 seconds recently. Dream Fly made her debut on April 2 at Keeneland.
It was an encouraging performance for Dream Fly as a rookie, as she placed 2nd behind Bohemian Frost by 3 ½ lengths in a $60,000 event. She didn’t get the win, but there should be more to come for Dream Fly in her career. Dream Fly is at the office on Friday working for a higher purse, but she found an event that doesn’t look too difficult. This is an important race for her. A strong performance could put her in stakes territory soon. I think she at least gets to the wire first.
Post Time: 3:02 p.m. EST
Distance:6 ½ Furlongs
Race 5 covers 6 ½ furlongs on the dirt for a $48,000 purse. Investment Grade and Overdressed should have a strong chance at the top prize in this race. Investment Grade is a one-time winner through five attempts. She has finished 4th, 6th, 1st, 7th, 4th in her career.
In her first race of 2021, Investment Grade found the winner’s circle with a win over Captivating Cara. She notched a win by a neck in that race for a $35,000 purse. Investment Grade has finished 7th in a $55,000 event and 4th in a $44,000 event. More is going to be required for a win on Friday, but this isn’t the toughest field.
Overdressed is 3 for 11 in her career, going 3rd, 1st, 5th in her last three attempts with a win on March 19. Overdressed defeated Take It Off by 2 ¼ lengths in a $44,000 event in that race. She was unable to follow up, and was 5th in her next assignment on March 25 in a $55,000 race. Back down to $44,000 on Friday, expect a winning performance for Overdressed.
Post Time: 3:34 p.m. EST
Distance:1 ¼ Miles
In the second biggest race of the day at Belmont Park, we have a field of seven vying for a $94,000 purse. Capital Structure and Virginia Joy should be close at the wire. Capital Structure is the betting favorite on the morning-line at 9/5. She has finished 1st, 3rd, 1st, 5th in her career. In her most recent win, Capital Structure beat Windfall Profit by 2 ¼ lengths in a $82,000 event on October 25.
That was impressive and spurred a trip to the $300,000 American Oaks (Gr. 1) on December 26. That was too tough for Capital Structure, with a 5th place performance in his stakes debut. Dropping in class to $94,000 likely helps on Friday. The German bred Virginia Joy makes her debut in the US on Friday. She is a two-time winner in six attempts, with a graded win in the Mehl-Mulhens-Trophy in Hamburg.
Since that performance, Virginia Joy showed 3rd in her Grade 1 debut on August 2, just missing 2nd in the Henkel-Preis der Diana German Oaks (Gr. 1). She might have been 3rd, but wasn’t that far away from a win. Then Virginia Joy most recently placed 2nd in the T. von Zastrow Stutenpreis (Gr. 2) on September 12. Chad Brown should have some fun with this $1,142,388 horse that should do well in the US. She makes her debut for Brown on Friday and should impress. I like a minor upset in Race 6.