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Serving as a feeder into the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (G1), the Beldame Invitational Stakes (G1) has been won by some divisional monsters over the last 20 runnings, including Havre de Grace, Life at Ten, Ashado, Sightseek (twice), Riboletta, Beautiful Pleasure, Sharp Cat, Serena’s Song and Heavenly Prize.

Royal Delta won last year’s Ladies’ Classic, but her results this season have been a mixed bag. In her 4-year-old debut, she finished an uninspiring second behind the since retired Awesome Maria in the Sabin Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park, and a trip to the Group 1 Dubai World Cup five weeks later proved slightly fool-hearted. Off 10 weeks following the desert clunker, she returned to top form in the Fleur de Lis Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs, scoring perhaps the most impressive victory of her career. In the Delaware Handicap (G2), Royal Delta took the lead on the turn for home, but looked ripe for the picking in deep stretch when engaged by Tiz Miz Sue. She won that race on pure class, digging deep to best that ambitious foe by a neck in that 1 ¼-mile race. Odds-on in the Personal Ensign Stakes (G1) last out at Saratoga Race Course, she lost by a half-length to the longshot Love and Pride in what many would characterize as an uninspired performance.

Third in the Personal Ensign was It’s Tricky, but go back and watch the replay of the race. It was truly an incredible performance. A pace-presser by trade, she stumbled horribly at the start, losing several lengths. She recovered to stalk, and loomed boldly on the turn, but she simply couldn’t punch with the top two late. The one-turn, 1 1/8-mile distance Belmont provides for the Beldame is right up her ally.

The other five horses entered her simply fill the race, and I would be very surprised to see any of them visiting the charmed circle. Cash for Clunkers does own dangerous speed, and under the care of Todd Pletcher, Maristar may return to top form.

My selections:

It’s Tricky

Royal Delta

Cash for Clunkers

Maristar

$400,000 Beldame Invitational Stakes (G1)

Saturday, Belmont Park, Race 5, 2:58 p.m. EDT

1 1/8 miles, fillies & mares 3 years old & older

PP

Horse

Jockey

Weight

Trainer

Odds

1

Go Unbridled (NY)

J. Rosario

123

H A Jerkens

20-1

2

Maristar (KY)

J.R. Velazquez

123

T A Pletcher

15-1

3

Royal Delta (KY)

M.E. Smith

123

W I Mott

even

4

Cash for Clunkers (KY)

A. Garcia

123

R A Violette Jr.

8-1

5

Disposablepleasure (KY)

R.A. Dominguez

120

T A Pletcher

12-1

6

It's Tricky (KY)

E. Castro

123

K P McLaughlin

7-5

7

Acting Happy (KY)

J. Castellano

123

R E Dutrow Jr.

20-1

Image Description

Joe Kristufek

The face of ABR's "Racing 101", Joe Kristufek is a self-proclaimed horse racing "ambassador," and fan development has been his passion since the moment he took his first job in the industry.

Kristufek is the morning-line maker for Arlington Park, Indiana Downs and Kentucky Downs and he serves as the handicapper and racing writer for the Daily Herald newspaper. 

Kristufek has developed and executed several horse racing-related, fan-education projects both online and onsite and he is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters. 

He has co-owned five horses in partnership and is the process of developing an ownership group of his own. Kristufek is also becoming an increasing presence on the tournament scene. 

Kristufek was the on-air talent for Hawthorne's between-race presentation and replay shows in the 1990s, and served as a on-air host and content coordinator for The Racing Network in 2000-2001. He was the owner, producer and host of popular horse racing magazine show Horsin' Around TV, airing 85 episodes from 2003-2005 on Fox Sports Chicago and Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

A beer and indie/alternative music snob, Joe is a Chicago Bulls season ticket holder and there aren't too many people who can keep up with him on a billards table. 

 

Image Description

Joe Kristufek

The face of ABR's "Racing 101", Joe Kristufek is a self-proclaimed horse racing "ambassador," and fan development has been his passion since the moment he took his first job in the industry.

Kristufek is the morning-line maker for Arlington Park, Indiana Downs and Kentucky Downs and he serves as the handicapper and racing writer for the Daily Herald newspaper. 

Kristufek has developed and executed several horse racing-related, fan-education projects both online and onsite and he is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters. 

He has co-owned five horses in partnership and is the process of developing an ownership group of his own. Kristufek is also becoming an increasing presence on the tournament scene. 

Kristufek was the on-air talent for Hawthorne's between-race presentation and replay shows in the 1990s, and served as a on-air host and content coordinator for The Racing Network in 2000-2001. He was the owner, producer and host of popular horse racing magazine show Horsin' Around TV, airing 85 episodes from 2003-2005 on Fox Sports Chicago and Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

A beer and indie/alternative music snob, Joe is a Chicago Bulls season ticket holder and there aren't too many people who can keep up with him on a billards table. 

 

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