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Check out my Belmont Park free stakes pick for Friday (6-9-23) below.

Jarrod’s Recent Free Pick Winners
April 15 – First Mission ($6.38), Trifecta ($109.28)
April 16 – Key of Life/Interpolate Exacta ($6.70)
April 30 – Hacking It Up ($9.60)
May 6 – Zozos ($9.42)
May 20 – Whitebeam ($3.60)
May 27 – Queen Picasso ($7.70)
June 4 – Geaux Rocket Ride ($3.00), Exacta ($7.20)

​BEL 4 (G1 Just a Game, 8T)
Primary – #1 IN ITALIAN
Secondary – #2 New Year’s Eve, #3 Spendarella
Wagers: Exacta 1-2, Trifecta Key 1/2-3

Comments: #1 In Italian (1-2) always runs her early-pressing race and should win this if she puts her best foot forward. She fired trifecta shots in all ten starts and the 6-time winner owns a trio of Grade 1 victories. She chased a hot pace, led, and was miles clear of the rest in third in this event last year, and her stablemate Regal Glory smartly kicked away that day. She captured three of her last four Grade 1 starts and will probably control the pace from the inside post. Ortiz Jr. is 5-for-7 with Chad Brown recently. #2 New Year’s Eve (12-1) was my top choice last weekend in the Mint Julep (G3) at Churchill but she scratched in favor of this spot. She cuts back a furlong and graduated at this trip. She won twice at 1/16 miles on turf last year including the Edgewood (G2) and exits back-to-back late running show finishes in turf stakes routes. She might have a bit more to offer in her third start of the year. #3 Spendarella (2-1) figures to be chasing In Italian from the second spot. She was outstanding last year for Motion. The early-pressing filly won the Herecomesthebride (G3) and Appalachian (G2) as the favorite. She shipped overseas and was second in the Coronation (G1) at Ascot in June. They gave her some time off and she was razor sharp in the Del Mar Oaks (G1). She returned from an 8+ month layoff and chased the pace, grabbed a short lead, and was run down by Fluffy Socks in the Distaff Turf Mile (G2) on the Kentucky Derby undercard. Gaffalione booted her home twice last year and was aboard last time as well. #4 Wakanaka (8-1) and #5 Speak of the Devil (10-1) round out the compact field. Both late runners are at the mercy of the pace. The former got a great setup when rallying for the pace and finishing a length and a quarter in front of In Italian in this race last year. The latter looked great in her US bow in the 2022 Distaff Turf Mile (G2) but was disappointing in all three starts since. She was a length behind Spendarella last time. ​

Analysis by Jarrod Horak

Jarrod Horak

Jarrod Horak posts stakes recaps from Del Mar and Santa Anita Park, along with full card recaps and free stakes picks from Southern and/or Northern California.