Race 8 at Belmont Park on Saturday, July 6 | Post Time 5:05 PM Eastern Time

John A. Nerud Stakes – Grade 2 | Purse $300,000 | Seven Furlongs | Three Year Olds and Upward

 

Pat On the Back (8) loves Belmont where he’s 5 for 10, and he enters the race in top form off a win in the Commentator Stakes at the end of May. Although that race was for NY breds only the horse fits on all counts. He won the Affirmed Success Stakes prior to that in April and that effort earned him a career best 113 figure, followed by a 110 figure in the Commentator. To put those in perspective, morning line favorite Promises Fulfilled (9) earned 111 figures in his last two starts, both in which he lost ground in the last eighth of a mile. On the other hand, Pat On the Back rallied smartly from five lengths back with an eighth of a mile to go in the Affirmed Success, then in the Commentator, he was only a half-length behind the leader at the eighth pole before fighting head-and-head to the wire. Making his third start off a layoff, Pat On the Back should run even better, particularly as the Commentator has turned out to be a KEY RACE. Only two of the other six have come back to run since, and BOTH of those won. The cut back from eight furlongs to seven only helps his chances of winning another race at Belmont and posting the mild upset, opening at 4 to 1.

Do Share (7) may have some physical issues, as he’s had some layoffs in his career, for example between April and December last year and again between December of last year and February of this year. However, when he’s in form he’s a top sprinter, having won the Tom Fool stakes in March, powerfully by six lengths, earning a career best, and field high 127 Equibase figure which crushes this field if repeated. Privately purchased at some point between his poor eighth place finish in the Cigar Handicap in April, 2018, and his second place comeback last December, Do Share moved to the Maker barn in the interim and improved in both starts following the comeback, including the Tom Fool, before a fourth place finish on Derby day in the Grade 1 Churchill Downs Stakes. However, he had an excuse in that race has he was bumped at the start and found himself last of 10 in the early stages. He was entered and scratched from the True North Stakes on Belmont day, ostensibly for this spot, and his most recent workout coming into the race was a very sharp half-mile which was the second best of 28 on the day, so it appears Do Share is feeling good and as such an effort good enough to win can be expected.

Bon Raison (6) is a horse I’m very interested in to make a profit in the exacta, and perhaps to post the big upset, as he opens at 15 to 1. Stakes placed in only the third start of his career in the fall of 2017, Bon Raison has run well on occasion and poorly on occasion since then. He ran well when winning the Peeping Tom Stakes in March with a 100 figure but poorly before that when sixth behind Do Share in the Tom Fool. He’s won three of six starts at Belmont and won two of five at this seven furlong trip so there are no issues there. Most significantly, his win in his most recent race on June 19, at six furlongs over the track, earned a 114 figure which stacks up well with every horse’s best career effort except Do Share’s Tom Fool effort. Also, I don’t think it was a fluke as he earned a 116 figure in February in an allowance race. Considering he’s proven good enough to be competitive at this level on occasion, at the least a minimum win or win/place bet is warranted so we’re not kicking ourselves after the race.

To be honest, all of the other six can win or finish second, but insofar as favorite Promises Fulfilled (9) is concerned, I am labeling him a “FALSE” favorite as his last good races came in October, August and July last year and two of those were against three year olds only. He is a “need the lead” type and may be tough to catch, but I am hoping he doesn’t have a lot of fight in the stretch when challenged as has been the case in his last four races.

 

Betting Strategies:

Win Bets: Pat On the Back (8) to win at odds of 9 to 5 or more.

For a smaller amount, Bon Raison (6) to win at odds of 4 to 1, adding a place bet at 6 to 1 or higher.

Optionally, Do Share (7) to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

Exactas:

Pat On the Back (8) over ALL, then ALSO the opposite, which is ALL over Pat On the Back (8).

Bon Raison (6), Do Share (7) and Pat On the Back (8) over ALL.