Bob Baffert got into the winner’s circle at Churchill Downs in the Kentucky Derby for the seventh time in his career. He along with owner Amr Zedan had a winner in longshot 12/1 Medina Spirit on Saturday. Zedan is known for shelling out millions for horses, but this was a $1,000 buy that got the job done in the Kentucky Derby. Is there a Triple Crown in the works? I find it unlikely that this longshot can stay hot for two more races at the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. The next two races will continue to be wide open events. There is a lot of racing between the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup in November. We still have the second and third legs of the Triple Crown to get to at Pimlico and Belmont Park, but there are thousands of events in the spring and summer to handicap.
Belmont Park is back up and running in Elmont, NY. The Belmont Stakes will take place here on June 5 to close out the Triple Crown. For Sunday, there are nine events worth $742,000 in prize money. We’re also at Gulfstream Park this afternoon with three picks. Head below for our free Belmont Park picks for May 2, 2021.
Post Time: 1:00 p.m. EST
Distance:1 1/16 Miles
Race 1 is on the inner turf for a $45,000 purse. Nine horses are expected to participate in the event, with The Last Zip and Boru serious contenders for the win in the opening race at Gulfstream on Sunday. The Last Zip is 2 for 20 in his career, with his most recent win on November 30, 2019, so it’s been a while. He’s gone winless in ten straight races.
The Last Zip had an encouraging performance on April 15, placing 2nd behind Crypto Cash by 2 lengths in a $43,000 assignment. Crypto Cash is a solid horse, so that was a good try from The Last Zip. Prior to that effort, The Last Zip wasn’t close in 6th for a $43,000 race on February 12. The improvement was encouraging.
Boru is a two-time winner in 13 attempts, finishing top-3 in nine straight performances. He has finished 1st, 2nd, 1st, 3rd in his previous four, with a win on August 9, 2019 and February 12, 2021. So, he returned to the track in the same strong form. Boru was a winner by a neck in a $28,000 assignment.
Post Time: 4:08 p.m. EST
Distance:1 1/16 Miles
Race 7 is a $92,000 event covering 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf. Public Sector and Colton’s Command are two likely horses that can win the event. Public Sector has finished 1st, 2nd, 12th in his career. After a promising couple of races, Public Sector disappointed in the $1,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (Gr. 1) on November 6.
Public Sector finished 12th in the expensive race, but looked much better down in class before that experience. He won as a first-time runner on August 15 in a $72,000 event. Public Sector beat Scarlett Sky by 2 lengths in that performance for a nice debut.
He returned on October 3 to make his debut at Belmont Park. It was a solid bid, with Public Sector placing 2nd behind Fire At Will by 2 lengths in the $150,000 Pilgrim Stakes (Gr. 2). Colton’s Command made his debut on March 27 and impressed in a 3 ¾ length win in a $55,000 assignment. That’s all Colton’s Command has on his resume thus far.
It’s hard to ignore the $217,822 Public Sector coming off an appearance in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Despite failing there, Public Sector is down to a $92,000 event on his reappearance Sunday. I’m holding him in high regard, with a good chance for a minor upset.
Race 8 – Ruffian Stakes
Post Time: 4:40 p.m. EST
The $200,000 Ruffian Stakes (Gr. 2) is the feature race at Belmont Park on Sunday afternoon, and only stakes race in the US on Sunday. Six horses are running, with Our Super Freak and Lake Avenue likely doing well to get close at the wire.
Our Super Freak is 4 for 24 with a lot of graded experience. Six of his previous seven events have been graded races, though none have resulted in a win. She came close in his most recent outing in the $250,000 Bayakoa Stakes (Gr. 2) on February 28.
Our Super Freak only lost by 2 lengths against powerhouse and heavy favorite Monomoy Girl. She had an encouraging workout on April 24 with a time of 47.40 seconds at 4 furlongs. That work has to put her in contention for the win on Sunday afternoon.
Lake Avenue is 4 for 9 and in search of a hat-trick Sunday. She is coming off back-to-back wins on February 3 and March 6. Lake Avenue beat Dance d’Oro by 4 ½ lengths in a $48,000 event, and then followed through in the $125,000 Heavenly Prize Invitational Stakes by 6 ¾ lengths in an impressive effort. Another performance like that should be enough.