Betting Strategies: Keying Yibir in Saturday’s Late Pick Four at Belmont Park

Written By Andrew Champagne on May 13, 2022

It’s the weekend between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, but that doesn’t mean high-quality racing is on vacation. Quite the opposite is true, actually, as Belmont Park boasts a power-packed card on Saturday afternoon.

Five of the 11 races on the program are graded stakes events, and the late Pick Four has three of them. I’ll look to take it down with a $30 ticket, and here’s how I’ve put it together.

Singling one of the best horses in the world

That subhead isn’t an exaggeration. The Grade 1 Man o’ War, named after the legend from the early-20th century, is a turf marathon event. The likely favorite is a globe-trotter with an extensive resume, and I think he’ll be very tough.

#3 Yibir made the most of his two starts in America last year. He won them both, and one of them was the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf. Yibir rallied from 13th of 14 to get the job done that day, and he hasn’t disgraced himself since. He was second in a $6 million race in Dubai earlier this year, then ran second in a Group 2 at Newmarket.

I respect #2 Gufo, whose record looks exceptional if you draw a line through his Breeders’ Cup dud last fall. However, if Yibir is at his best, I think the race is for second.

3-year-olds in the Peter Pan

The Grade 3 Peter Pan is the local prep for next month’s Grade 1 Belmont Stakes. The field of eight includes some familiar faces and no heavy favorite.

I’m going four-deep, and while I’m using #4 We the People, my top pick is stablemate #6 Western River. He stepped forward in a big way last time out at Oaklawn, and his workouts and Keeneland have been very strong. Plus, if We the People was a cinch, would trainer Rodolphe Brisset be so eager to run this one, too?

I’ll also use #1 Set Sail and #5 Golden Glider. The one I’m against is #2 Electability. I just don’t think he’s beaten much in two starts at Aqueduct, and I feel like he may be overbet given his connections. If he beats me Saturday at Belmont Park, I’ll live with it.

Brown trainees loom large in the Beaugay

The Grade 3 Beaugay for turf distaffers is headed by a pair of runners from the Chad Brown barn. Of the two, I prefer #1 Rougir over #2 Lemista. The former had an eventful trip in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, and we haven’t seen her since. At her best, she can humble this field.

Just in case she needs a race, though, I’ll use two others. #4 Plum Ali came back running at Aqueduct to win her 2022 debut, and her tactical speed is a big plus. Additionally, #6 High Opinion almost certainly needed the first race of her season off of a six-month break. That came going shorter than she’s used to going, and a return to her mid-2021 form would make her a player at a price.

Finishing with a wide-open finale

The 11th race is an allowance for state-bred fillies and mares. The morning line favorite is 9/2, and that should tell you something about the field.

Many runners can win, and I’ll start off going five-deep (though that number may come down). I’m most drawn to #2 Act of Congress, who won her debut last month like a very good horse. She spurted clear to win by more than five lengths, and while I’m not sure what she beat, she won the right way. I don’t think the added furlong will bother her much, and she may be the speed of the speed.

My ticket also includes #7 Dufresne, #9 Palace Gossip, and #10 Theodora Grace. Should she draw in off the AE list, I’ll also use #14 Waterville. She needs two scratches to run, but I much prefer her to fellow Christophe Clement trainee #11 Autumn Glory. That one hasn’t run since December and looks like a horse begging to go two turns.

The $30 Belmont Park late Pick Four ticket

R8: 3
R9: 1,4,5,6
R10: 1,4,6
R11: 2,7,9,10,14

Photo by AP Photo / Jae C. Hong
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Andrew Champagne

Andrew Champagne is a Content Manager at Catena Media, as well as an award-winning horse racing writer and handicapper. Originally from upstate New York, he now resides in Concord, California. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewChampagne.

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