2022 Belmont Oaks Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content

By Vance Hanson (TwinSpires.com)

1. MCKULICK (6-1) – The first of three from Brown, who won this five times in a six-year period (2012-17), but the only non-stakes winner of the trio; beat Consumer Spending first out, but has dropped all three stakes attempts since, twice at odds-on; appears to need a stronger pace than what she’s been getting, and that might not necessarily occur in a 10-furlong race like this, though the step up in trip is sure to suit; also, this will mark her first start of the season outside Churchill, and their new turf was not to every horse’s taste before racing on it was suspended.

2. CAIRO MEMORIES (12-1) – Turf form in Southern California has been excellent and Breeders’ Cup setback not a huge downer, given she was shuffled back early in the running; still, the level of competition is significantly higher here, and no California-based filly has won this event in its present incarnation; if recent runs are any indication, she will provide this race with some needed pace, but fear relative class will be found out in the stretch.

3. HAUGHTY (5-1) – A clear first-place finisher in three of her four outings (disqualified once), and lone outright loss was still a strong effort in the Breeders’ Cup against a world-class field; wasn’t facing much when easily best at 2-5 in the Penn Oaks on soft grounding, and this will be a much sterner test; speed ratings seem a bit light for this class, though, and could potentially be undervalued in this spot.

4. WITH THE MOONLIGHT (6-1) – Trailed home last of 11 in the Epsom Oaks (G1) when last seen, with Appleby reportedly saying she simply didn’t stay the 1 1/2 miles; much more effective over this distance two back in the listed version of the Pretty Polly S. held at Newmarket, though the form of the race hasn’t held up with the runner-up (still a maiden) and third both losing the Sandringham H. at Royal Ascot; potential underlay with Dettori in the saddle.

5. CONSUMER SPENDING (5-1) – Three-time stakes winner won the local prep for this, the Wonder Again (G2), turning in a strong kick from behind a slow pace; her one try against international competition was an okay sixth at the Breeders’ Cup, encountering no major mishap in a congested field while finishing behind stablemate Haughty; not a lot separating the Brown trio in this spot, though fact remains she lost both prior meetings against her stablemates but probably get more backings at the windows despite that.

6. NEW YEAR’S EVE (6-1) – Last-to-first surge in the Edgewood (G2) could not have been more impressive, and obviously handled conditions at Churchill better than a lot of horses did Derby weekend; Fair Grounds form suggests that performance (with blinkers added, too) was no fluke, and could be sitting on another big effort following a speedy drill over the local sod last week.

7. HOT QUEEN (20-1) – Three prior attempts against Group company in France resulted in only one placing, so this is spot appears a bit deep for this filly, who is relatively experienced with 11 starts already; hasn’t been tested all that much on firm ground — even the maiden event last June on that footing was in slow time — so dryer conditions might give her a boost; in general, though, the French contingent look up against it.

8. KNOW THYSELF (20-1) – American-owned filly looks is in the same boat as her French counterpart, Hot Queen; there certainly wasn’t much separating them two back, and then this daughter of Galileo came back to run third in a smaller stakes at Longchamp; although well-bred, appears to need a lifetime best to pull it off.

9. AGARTHA (10-1) – Fifth in a tough edition of the Irish 1000 Guineas (G1) last time, her fifth loss in a row dating back to last August, though she fared better against Homeless Songs on a couple prior occasions; main concerns are the tendency to settle for minor awards and today’s distance; though she might get some stamina from the dam’s side, via Dylan Thomas, her sire was a prominent sprinter.

10. CONCERT HALL (3-1) – Outclassed by the top trio in the Epsom Oaks two back, and last time might not have cared for the softer footing in the Pretty Polly (G1) when taking on older fillies and mares; with dryer conditions expected, she looks a strong fit for O’Brien, who has won two of the last four runnings of this race; photo finish score in the Salsabil S. in April looks strong now following Magical Lagoon’s subsequent victory in the Ribblesdale (G2) at Royal Ascot; obviously the most dangerous Euro hopeful.