Welcome to Noel Michaels’ Weekend Winners, the place to go for weekend best bets and spot plays from veteran handicapper and tournament-play pioneer Noel Michaels. Check back every week for a couple of highlighted selections designed to help you cash a few bets and make some money.
Noel’s selections have been featured just about everywhere horse racing picks can be found, including in print in the Daily Racing Form, The HorsePlayer Magazine and American Turf Monthly, online at DRF.com, Twinspires.com and USRacing.com, from the paddock on-track at Arlington International Racecourse, and on the air on HRTV, TVG, NYC OTB Extra, NYRA’s Talking Horses, and on broadcast TV on WAVE-3 Louisville, ABC KOLO-8 in Reno, Nevada, and channel 72 Long Island Cablevision.
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6 Beginner Betting Tools
- Start simple with an easy guide for how to bet on horse racing.
- Not sure what that word means? Horse racing terminology is a language of its own. Allow us translate for you.
- What the heck is a speed figure? This beginner’s guide to speed figures has everything you need to know.
- Betting on horse racing can be intimidating. Team ABR put together some Dos and Don’ts for the new fan getting started betting on racing.
- We all make mistakes when it comes to betting on horse racing, here are eight lessons learned from experience.
- Figure out how much each bet will cost in advance with our Gambling Calculator, presented by NYRA Bets.
Saturday, June 10
Belmont Stakes day at Belmont Park is shaping up as one of best days of racing and wagering of the year. The Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets will be a tremendous race, and it will headline an incredible race day at Belmont Park that will include a total of nine important graded stakes. Belmont Park will host six Grade 1 races on Saturday including three “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races. The $1 million Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap offers a spot in the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, the $500,000 Ogden Phipps Stakes awards a starting berth to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff, and the 400,000 Jaipur Stakes sends the winner to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Add in the $750,000 Resorts World Casino Manhattan Stakes, the $400,000 Woody Stephens Stakes Presented by Mohegan Sun, the $250,000 Brooklyn Stakes, the $250,000 True North Stakes, and the $200,000 Poker Stakes, and you have the perfect recipe for a memorable day. In addition to the Belmont Stakes, let’s focus on one of the “Win and You’re In” races for our picks this week, including some selections for the Jaipur Stakes, which will be one of the most challenging races of the weekend to pick a winner. Best of luck and enjoy.
Belmont Park, Race 9, $400,000 Jaipur Stakes, 4:19 p.m. ET
On a day overloaded with graded stakes races and star horses, the Grade 1 Jaipur Stakes is perhaps the toughest handicapping race on the card, so let’s start there. The big favorite will be defending Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner #12 Caravel and it would come as a surprise to no one if she won the Jaipur based on her 2-for-2 stakes record already in 2023. Nevertheless, this will be a 14-horse scramble and it’s too tempting to go for a better price in this loaded field, so let’s try to beat the champ. The pick is #10 Big Invasion, who reeled off a bunch of turf sprint wins last year, including a big win in his only outing in a turf sprint at Belmont. He returned from a layoff two races ago with a sharp stakes win over next-out winner Yes I Am Free in with an off-the-pace effort at five furlongs at Gulfstream Park, and not a lot of those five-furlong turf sprints at Gulfstream are won in come-from-behind fashion. Big Invasion lost last time due to one of the all-time bad trips in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint presented by Cohere Health when he a bad start, trouble into the turn, and later got sawed-off between rivals in the stretch before finishing wrapped up in traffic. They’ll have a difficult time defeating Caravel in this race, but if anyone can do it, Big Invasion can. Of the others in this field, you are looking for a runner who could benefit from the six-furlong distance of this race. That horse would be #11 Casa Creed, who is the two-time defending Jaipur winner. If you are worried about all of these outside posts, remember that in these big fields, outside posts are better than inside posts in Belmont turf sprints.
The Play: Bet #10 Big Invasion (6-1) to win and play him in exacta and trifecta boxes with #11 Casa Creed (9-2), and #12 Caravel (3-1).
Belmont Park, Race 12, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, 7:02 p.m. ET
For me, the Belmont Stakes will be the best race of the 2023 Triple Crown series because it will be the only one to feature the leading horse in the division, #6 Forte, Todd Pletcher’s star 3-year-old based on his back-to-back impressive wins in Gulfstream Park’s Fountain of Youth Stakes and Curlin Florida Derby Presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa earlier this season when he beat eventual Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve winner Mage both times. If Mage won the Derby, and this horse beat Mage twice, then how good is Forte? We’ll find out Saturday at Belmont. The only horse in the field that seems set-up to beat Forte is Pletcher’s other Belmont Stakes contender, #2 Tapit Trice, who Pletcher seems to have had in mind for the Belmont Stakes all along ever since Tapit Trice looked every bit the Belmont Stakes winner back in March and April when he won the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby and then the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes over a field that looks even better now since third-place finisher Blazing Sevens returned to almost win the Preakness Stakes. Tapit Trice finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby but his long-striding style seems tailor-made for Belmont Park. The others are likely running for third and fourth. Two candidates for those positions seem like #3 Arcangelo, who exits a nice win in the Peter Pan Stakes, the local Belmont Park prep race for the Belmont Stakes. What makes him so interesting is the improving pattern in all of his races. If he continues to get better at the same rate as he has in all of his prior starts, he’ll be dangerous. Finally, #7 Hit Show came a nose short of winning the Wood Memorial Stakes Presented by Resorts World Casino in a victory that would have sent him into the Kentucky Derby on a three-race winning streak. He then ran a bang-up effort in defeat in the Kentucky Derby despite finishing fifth after racing much closer to the fast early pace than most of the other top finishers. Hit Show gets another chance and should thrive here in what figures to be a much friendlier pace scenario than last time out in the Derby.
The Play: Bet #2 Tapit Trice (3-1) to win and box him in the exactas with #6 Forte (5-2). In the trifectas, add-in #3 Arcangelo (8-1), and #7 Hit Show (10-1) underneath in the third spot.