The fantastic week of horse racing concludes on Saturday evening with a terrific card at Belmont Park. The feature is the Belmont Stakes, the first leg of the US Triple Crown, and here are Nick Luck’s thoughts on the card.

Tap It To Win the Belmont Stakes

Recent Hall of Fame inductee Mark Casse can provide the answer to multiple racing trivia questions if TAP IT TO WIN obliges in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes (10:42pm). Not only is the final leg of the US Triple Crown of the year, but it is also run fully three furlongs shy of its usual distance. As for Casse, he would be in the bizarre position of winning three consecutive US Classics with three different horses and without a Kentucky Derby victory to his name.

There is no doubt that Tap It To Win needs another big step forward and that he is a latecomer to this subdued Belmont party. In order to make the case, you need to believe that his most recent start was as good as it looked. Johnny Velazquez believes in that performance and I agree: for a start, we know he possesses the universal marker of a good horse: speed. He ran 1.09.39 for the first six furlongs of that allowance race over a mile and a sixteenth, and was still able to open up by five lengths at the wire, earning the second highest Beyer figure of any contender here.

If you remove the two rotten runs last autumn, his profile makes sense, and I like that he is coming back third run from the layoff. As a son of a Tapit out of a Medaglia d’Oro, and with an easy long stride for quite a small horse, I find it hard to believe this distance will not be within his compass.

Clearly Tiz the Law sets the standard here on his two performances in the spring, but he will be plenty short enough for a horse that lacks that recent race conditioning. I respect Sole Volante and Pneumatic as viable horses for the exotics.

Wedge looks the right choice in the Jaipur

Elsewhere on a stellar card in the Jaipur Stakes (9:53pm), TEXAS WEDGE can strip fitter for his recent comeback at Santa Anita. He is proven to be an effective shipper and he looks like six furlongs might be what he wants these days. He’s as hard as nails with a good late kick, and that might prove decisive against a group of very tightly matched rivals.

Nothing Casual about this one’s chances in the Acorn Stakes

In the Acorn Stakes (9:15pm), I am keen on CASUAL to upset the hotpot Gamine. Steve Asmussen’s filly is out of a splendidly tough distaffer Lady Tak, a really pacey seven furlong/miler with whom the trainer did so well. It looks as though Casual has inherited some of her mother’s speed and toughness, and this one-turn mile looks an ideal test for her distance-wise.

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