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Bernier's Best

Weekend Stakes Previews for June 4

by Matt Bernier
Updated On: June 3, 2022, 5:14 pm ET

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Belmont Stakes Day is still a week away, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t stakes races across the country that aren’t worth perusing this Saturday.

Below you will find three plays from three different racetracks on Saturday – the Mr. Prospector from Monmouth Park, the Grade 2 Pennine Ridge from Belmont Park, and the Blame from Churchill Downs.

After nineteen weeks, here is the results tally (records reflective of $2 WIN / $2 WPS):

WIN: 8-56 (14.3%, -$59.00)
WPS: 31-56 (55.4%, -$96.50)




In a field that features some wickedly fast runners, HOLLYWOOD JET (9) drawn to the far outside may be the speed of the speed. Shipping in from Parx, Hollywood Jet is owned and trained by Carlos Milian, a conditioner that does well with limited stock. The four-year-old son of Uncaptured hasn’t been headed in the early stages of his races since July of 2021, illustrating just how fleet of foot he truly is. Not only is he fast, but he’s in outstanding form. Albeit against weaker, Hollywood Jet enters Saturday’s Mr. Prospector on a seven-race winning streak. The speed figures he’s earned recently stack up well against this group, and there’s a real chance he clears to the front and never looks back.


THE PLAY: 9) HOLLYWOOD JET to win at odds of 7/2 or greater




Chad Brown’s barn should always be feared in any turf race, but especially so when we’re talking races of the graded stakes variety. While both Napoleonic War and Unanimous Consent loom as real threats (as does Limited Liability for Shug McGaughey), the most interesting entrant in Saturday’s Pennine Ridge is Todd Pletcher’s EMMANUEL (6). Emmanuel will be making his first career start on grass Saturday, but his pedigree suggests he should relish the surface. A son of strong turf influence More Than Ready, Emmanuel’s second dam (grandmother on his mom’s side) was a stakes placed mare who produced a major international turf stakes runner named Hawkbill. Emmanuel was on the Triple Crown trail before finishing third at Keeneland in April’s Blue Grass Stakes, indicating that there’s an ample amount of ability present. The speed he brings to the proceedings makes him extremely live, as does the presence of jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. (NOTE: NO PLAY IF TAKEN OFF TURF)


THE PLAY: 6) EMMANUEL to win at odds of 2/1 or greater


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The older male division in the United States is on the murky side at the moment, but the returning AMERICANREVOLUTION (8) has a great opportunity to take a step toward making himself one of the best – if not the best – Breeders’ Cup Classic division contender. Another Todd Pletcher trainee, the New York-bred son of Constitution was brought along slowly last season before prevailing in his final start of the season, the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct in December. Not only did that victory come against a salty field, but it came going a one-turn mile. It’s my belief that Americanrevolution handles a trip like that simply because of his talent – not because it’s what he truly wants to do. This four-year-old colt gives off the impression that the longer the race, the better he’ll perform. Going nine furlongs off the bench is no bargain, and Saturday’s race could very well be nothing more than a means to an end for his next start (presumably the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs or the Suburban at Belmont Park), but Americanrevolution has the look of a runner who could blossom into one of the best horses in the country this year.


THE PLAY: 8) AMERICANREVOLUTION to win at odds of 9/5 or greater




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Matt Bernier

Matt Bernier is a betting analyst for NBC Sports and host of "The Matt Bernier Show" podcast. His work has been showcased in the Daily Racing Form, on ESPN, as well as on TVG. Matt can be followed on Twitter @bernier_matt.