True North Handicap at Belmont Park

Dave Bond, OTB Writer

Las Vegas, NV - The 34th running of the Grade 2 True North Handicap is slated for Belmont Park this Saturday June 9th on the Belmont Stakes card. Horses three and upward will sprint six furlongs in search of their share of the $400,000 purse.

The True North Handicap is race 7 on the Belmont Stakes card with a post time of 3:15 PM. Seven entries will try to get the crowd primed for the Main Event later on in the day. Here is a look at the seven and the credentials that brought them to this Grade 2 event.

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2012 True North Handicap Race Favorites

Giant Ryan - had a string of six straight wins in 2011 including the Grade 1 Vosburgh Invitational on this track at this distance in October but he followed that up with an unflattering eighth in the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Sprint. He has raced only once in 2012 in the Dubai Golden Shaheen where he finished fifth. Giant Ryan loves this track - he has two wins and a third place finish in three starts here. He is the one to watch for sure this Saturday.

Caixa Electronica - Todd Pletcher trained Caixa Electronica came off the biggest race of his career - a win at the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic Stakes and finished a respectable fourth last time out in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on this track on May 28th. He has had some experience against Giant Ryan - he was third in last year's Vosburgh in a race that Giant Ryan won. Caixa Electronica is Giant Ryan's biggest threat in the True North.

True North Handicap 2012 | Remaining Field Entries

Smiling Tiger - is no stranger to graded stakes action and has placed in 13 of 16 ones that she has entered. Included is three Grade 1 wins - the last being at the Triple Bend Handicap at Hollywood Park last July. Since then, Smiling Tiger has dropped off a tad - an impressive second in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes was followed by a fourth in the Grade 1 Pat O'Brien Stakes both at Del Mar to close out 2011. In her only action in 2012 Smiling Tiger was fifth in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes on the Kentucky Derby undercard.

Hamazing Destiny - will be racing at Belmont for the first time but is coming off an impressive win in the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint Handicap on May 19th to follow a disappointing seventh in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes. Hamazing Destiny has raced five times already in 2012 and has placed in all but one.

True North Handicap betting at Belmont Park with

Pacific Ocean - hasn't raced since and impressive win at the Grade 3 Vernon O. Underwood Stakes at Hollywood Park in November but brings four wins and a second place finish in six career starts to the True North.

Royal Currier - enters on the heels of a two race win streak - a Starter Handicap at Aqueduct and the Diablo Stakes last time out at Belmont on May 10th. His wins have been easy but the True North is a step up in competition.

Justin Phillip - raced to three consecutive sixth place finishes - the Grade 1 Vosburgh Invitational, the Grade 3 Bold Ruler and the Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap all at Aqueduct before a second and a win respectively in a pair of Allowance Optional claiming - last time out was a win on this track over this distance.

2012 True North Handicap Entries & Odds

Race 7 on Belmont Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 3:15 PM.

Post Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Pacific Ocean J. Rosario R. Dutrow, Jr.
2 Crossbow R. Dominguez K. McLaughlin
3 Smiling Tiger M. Smith J. Bonde
4 Hamazing Destiny C. Nakatani D. Lukas
5 Royal Currier R. Maragh P. Farro
6 Giant Ryan W. Martinez B. Parboo
7 Caixa Eletronica J. Castellano T. Pletcher
8 Justin Phillip J. Velazquez S. Asmussen

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