Dan’s Double: Turf Sprints Plus a Belmont Stakes Bonus Play

Turf racing at Belmont Park. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Dan’s Double of the week, featuring handicapping analysis from America’s Best Racing’s New York correspondent Dan Tordjman, is brought to you by Horseplayers.com, the official online qualifying site of the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) and National Horseplayers Championship (NHC).

Horseplayers.com offers low-cost feeders every day and BCBC and NHC qualifiers every weekend, and it’s the only site where you can qualify for the $1 million BCBC. It’s free to sign up – click here to get information about registering and how to enter contests.

When it comes to making money when handicapping races and betting on horse racing, it’s all about picking winners. Tordjman – DanonymousMan to those who follow him on Twitter – is one of the sharpest horseplayers around.

Each week, Tordjman will provide readers with his two best bets of the weekend and strategies for how to bet them. Good luck!

Saturday, June 20, Belmont Park, Race 7, post time 3:39 p.m. ET

weekend Television schedule

Friday, June 19: 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m. on NBCSN; 12:30-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, June 20: 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on NBC; 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. ET on FS1; 2-3 p.m. ET on FS2; 2:45-6 p.m. ET, Belmont Stakes on NBC; 6-7 p.m. ET on FS2; 6-8 p.m. ET on NBCSN; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, June 21: 1-2:30 p.m. ET on FS2; 2:30-6 p.m. ET on FS1; 4-7 p.m. ET on NBCSN; post time varies on TVG

#10 Light in the Sky: The temptation was there to only cover the major stakes races on the Saturday card at Belmont but this six-furlong turf sprint for New York-bred fillies and mares was just too intriguing. It’ll be interesting to see how the pace unfolds but, at a minimum, we know that #5 Winifred J and #4 Strongerthanuknow will be sent. Assuming they both break cleanly, that should ensure an honest enough pace. Still, I wouldn’t want a horse who’s too far back in a race like this, so I landed on #10 Light in the Sky. Adding blinkers for new trainer Horacio DePaz (who wins at 40% when blinkers go on his horses for the first time), I expect this horse to be within a few lengths of the pacesetters and get first run on them. While her last start at Laurel Park doesn’t look great on paper, Light in the Sky was an impressive winner in her turf debut last summer at Saratoga. She beat #8 My Sassy Sarah in that spot, and I actually like that one quite a bit here too. In the Saratoga race, Light in the Sky got shuffled back early in the race and was forced into an extremely wide rally. She was a bit erratic in the lane but got there on ability. Jose Ortiz was aboard for that maiden win and returns to ride here. Final to thing to like here is the bullet work on June 12. Seems like all systems are go with this one. 

Strategy on a $10 Budget 

$2 win, place and show on #10 Light in the Sky ($6)

$1 exacta 8,10 with 8,10,12 ($4)

Strategy on a $25 Budget 

$4 win, place and show on #10 Light in the Sky ($12)

$1 exacta box 8,10,12 ($6)

$1 trifecta box 8,10,12 ($6)

Strategy on a $50 Budget

$8 win, place and show on #10 Light in the Sky ($24)

$1 exacta box 8,10,12 ($6)

$1 trifecta box 8,10,12 ($6)

$10 double 10 with 4 ($10)

$2 double 8,12 with 4 ($4)

Saturday, June 20, Belmont Park, Race 9, $250,000 Jaipur Invitational Stakes Presented by America’s Best Racing, post time 4:53 p.m. ET

#2 Oleksandra: No one pressured me into picking in the race sponsored by ABR, I promise! I truly love the chances of Oleksandra in this spot. The only mare in the Jaipur ran a pretty big one in her first race back off the layoff last out in the Grade 2 Monrovia Stakes. She posted a career-best 101 Beyer Speed Figure when she finished second in that spot. Going back to last year, she was two-for-two at this distance at Belmont. Jockey Joel Rosario was aboard for both of those wins last year. Rosario could’ve also probably reclaimed the mount on #5 Stubbins or #7 White Flag but he lands here instead. The only potential challenge that looms for Oleksandra is that in the event that a pace battle doesn’t ensue between #4 Pure Sensation and #6 Hidden Scroll, one of those two horses could steal the race. At the very least, the lack of pace up front would make things more difficult for Oleksandra. Still, she just looks so sharp, has consistent form at this distance and she’s got the right rider up.

Strategy on a $10 Budget 

$5 to win on #2 Oleksandra ($5)

$2 exacta 2 with 1,7 ($4)

Strategy on a $25 Budget

$10 to win on #2 Oleksandra ($10)

$6 exacta 2 with 7 ($6)

$4 exacta 2 with 1 ($4)

$1 trifecta 2 with 1,7 with 3 ($2)

$1 trifecta 2 with 3 with 1,5,7 ($3)

Strategy on a $50 Budget

$20 to win on #2 Oleksandra ($20)

$10 exacta 2 with 7 ($10)

$4 exacta 2 with 1 ($4)

$2 exacta 1,3,7 with 2 ($6)

$1 trifecta 2 with 1,7 with 1,3,5,7 ($6)

$1 trifecta 2 with 3 with 1,5,6,7 ($4)


You knew I wouldn’t leave you this week without at least sharing a thought about the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (Race 10, post time 5:42 p.m. ET). I think it’s fairly clearly that, all things being equal, #8 Tiz the Law is the best horse in the race and he should win. But if you’re betting the race, take a long, hard look at the horse on the rail #1 Tap It to Win. He took a huge step forward in his most recent start going a mile and a sixteenth over the dirt at Belmont. If you look back at his poorer performances last year, they came when his jockeys tried to take him back off the pace early. John Velazquez didn’t do that in his last start – he just let the horse run. Tap It to Win set blistering fractions and he still pulled away late. I think there’s an expectation that there might be a lot of speed in the Belmont Stakes. I don’t see it that way. I think Tap It to Win is going to get to the lead rather easily from his rail draw and open up some daylight. I would not be surprised if he were able to hang on to win but I would hedge in exactas with Tiz the Law.

Last Week’s Earnings: $0

2020 Earnings: $1,762.40

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