Xpressbet writer Jeff Siegel offers his top plays for Friday.
Belmont Park Race 5 (3:03 p.m. ET/12:03 p.m. PT)
#4 Royal Velvet (7-2)
This juvenile son of Collected is a half-brother to the outstanding turf sprinter Voodoo Zip, so it stands to reason that he makes his racing debut on grass for the always-potent trainer/jockey combo of Christophe Clement and Joel Rosario. Though his sire was primarily a dirt runner, this colt’s grandsire (City Zip) was a marvelous producer of turf stakes winners and the work tab, while not flashy, should have him fit and ready for top try. The circumstantial evidence suggests he’s extremely live in this wide-open affair, so at or near his morning line of 7-2 there should be plenty of wagering value to be found.
Churchill Downs Race 7 (3:50 p.m. ET/12:50 p.m. PT)
#5 Sugar Mamas Cakery (9-2)
There was nothing in the first two generations of her pedigree, yet this daughter of the first-crop stallion Mendelssohn brought $160,000 as a yearling, which attests to her outstanding conformation and athletic look. The Steve Asmussen-trained filly sports a brief work tab leading up to her debut but one of the recorded drills -- a bullet 46 4/5 seconds gate workout at Lone Star Park on June 12 that was fastest of 77 for the distance -- jumps off the page. It hasn’t been a great meeting for this typically high-percentage barn but in an unclassified field of juveniles this promising filly appears well-spotted for a major effort first crack out of the box. At 9-2 on the morning line, let’s make her a gamble in the Win pool and in the various rolling exotics.
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