Royal Ascot 2021 is in the books at Ascot Racecourse in the UK. American Wesley Ward had a great meet, as he had a winner in Campanelle. Campanelle is based at Keeneland in Kentucky and it was well worth the trip to England. The biggest race on Sunday is at Belmont Stakes with the running of the $250,000 Poker Stakes (Gr. 3). Monmouth Park, Santa Anita Park, and Woodbine also have graded races on the schedule on Sunday afternoon. There isn’t much stakes racing, but that’s typically the case in North America during Royal Ascot Weekend in the UK.
For our first card on Sunday afternoon, we’re going to head to Belmont Park for their racecard. Belmont has ten races with a total of $854,000 in prize money available. Head below for our free Belmont Park picks for June 20, 2021.
Post Time: 1:31 p.m. EST
Distance:1 1/16 Miles
Our first selection at Belmont Park is a $55,000 event covering 1 1/16 miles. Kid Bourbon and Molino should put a charge into this race. They likely come close at the wire for the top prize. Kid Bourbon is a one-timer in 14 attempts. He was a winner on December 5, 2019 in a $70,000 event. That was an impressive 3 ½ length victory.
Since that performance, Kid Bourbon has gone winless in ten straight races. Kid Bourbon placed 2nd in back-to-back events on May 14 and May 30. He’s coming along nicely. In the first of those two races, Kid Bourbon placed behind Fame to Famous by a half length in a $45,000 race, and then ¾ lengths behind First Line for a $55,000 purse.
Molino is coming off his debut on May 16 and ran well to win right out of the gate. He was a $180,000 purchase in 2018, and lived up to the expensive tag last month. Molino beat Digital Software by 1 ¼ lengths for a $50,000 purse. He’s capable of more than that, but it was likely just a warmup for him. Expect even more out of him on Sunday afternoon.
Post Time: 3:02 p.m. EST
Race 5 covers 7 furlongs on the turf for a $80,000 purse. This is a fairly sizable field with 12 runners expected to arrive at the gate. From there, you have to cut things down and create a shortlist. I have Little Dutch Girl and Snicket at the top of my list.
Little Dutch Girl is getting some solid value and could be good for a play in Race 5. She is coming off a win on November 8 in a $70,000 assignment. Little Dutch Girl defeated U Should B Dancing by a neck. That was an impressive run as a first-time runner.
If she comes back in the same form, Little Dutch Girl might have a chance in a $80,000 race. It’s not going to be easy, with at 8/1 on the morning-line, but maybe worth a shot for the value. Snicket is likely going to test her and the others in this field. She has been a consistent force, but only been to the winner’s circle once in eight attempts.
Snicket beat Beautiful Karen by a nose for a $70,000 purse on November 21, and then came back to go 6th, 2nd, 2nd. She most recently placed 2nd behind Kokopelli by 2 ½ lengths in a $80,000 race. This was after going 2nd on April 10 at Aqueduct. I think she found a beatable race to enter Sunday at Belmont.
Race 9 – Poker Stakes
Post Time: 5:12 p.m. EST
The Poker Stakes (Gr. 3) is the feature event at Belmont Park and the biggest race in the US on Sunday. It’s going to be exciting to see Raging Bull run again, and he’s likely going to be tested by Front Run the Fed.
Front Run the Fed recently started getting involved in the graded scene. He placed 2nd behind Imprimis by a neck in the $700,000 Runhappy Turf Sprint Stakes (Gr. 3) on September 12. That was a tremendous effort and initiated an entry into the $1,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (Gr. 1).
Front Run the Fed couldn’t keep up against that competition, having to settle for 6th in the million dollar event. He returned on April 24 in the $100,000 Elusive Quality Stakes and did fine, placing 2nd behind Casa Creed by a head. He has claims in this one, but Raging Bull will be feared by all.
France bred Raging Bull is 7 for 18 in his career with 11 straight Grade 1 entries, and 15 straight graded events overall. He’s coming off an impressive performance on April 9 in the $300,000 Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes (Gr. 1). Raging Bull beat Ride a Comet by 2 lengths for a productive performance. In his first Grade 3 race since 2018, Raging Bull should find this a manageable race to navigate.