2017 Poker Handicap Preview, Entries & Odds

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Dave Bond | OTB Writer

OffTrackBetting.com - The G3 Poker Handicap takes place this Sunday, June 18 at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. Horses four years old and upward will be featured when they take to Belmont Park's turf track and race one mile for the winner's portion of the $300,000 purse.

A field of six plus on Main Track Only Entry have been confirmed for the Poker Stakes - race 8 on Belmont Park's Father's Day Sunday schedule. Post time is 5:13 PM. Here is a look into the past performances of all seven combatants for this G3 stakes.

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2017 Poker Handicap Entries at Belmont Park

Projected 6-5

British bred Chad Brown trained gelding has five wins and five runner-up finishes in 14 career starts. He placed in four of his last five starts at home including a second in the Prix Les Experts in France in August but posted a seventh in the Group 3 Prix du Pin in September in his last start there. He has three starts in North America - a respectable second last time out in the G2 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico May 20 followed an Allowance score over the terrific Divisidero at Keeneland April 9 and an OK fourth in the G3 Canadian Turf Stakes at Gulfstream in March. Projected has been decent in his career, has been training well and will be after his first graded/group stakes win from gate 2 Sunday. Joel Rosario has the mount on the morning line favorite.

Ballagh Rocks 5-2

Bill Mott trained colt has four wins, two seconds and a third-place finish in his 11 career starts. He won three straight Allowance races this past winter including an Allowance Optional Claiming at Gulfstream January 20 but hasn't looked great in two starts since - a seventh last time out in the G1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs May 6 followed a fourth in the G1 Maker's 46 Mile April 14. Ballagh Rocks has been decent against lesser company and hopes it finally translates Saturday. Jose Lezcano will be in the saddle of the morning line second choice from post 3.

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Catapult 5-1

Has nine career starts for trainer Chad Brown with three wins, a second and a third-place finish. Last time out was a troubled fourth in the G2 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico May 20 after a second in the minor Danger's Hour Stakes at Aqueduct April 9, a fourth in the G3 Tampa Bay Stakes February 11 and a good win in the minor Gio Ponti Stakes at Aqueduct in November. Before that was a third in the minor English Channel Stakes at Belmont Park in October and an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Saratoga in August. Catapult has hit the board in four of his last six starts overall and hopes to place for the first time in graded stakes action in his fourth try. Jose Ortiz has the mount from gate 6 Saturday.

Night Prowler 8-1

Won the G3 Dania Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park on January 3, 2015 and has been up and down since. Last time out was a close second to Canadian champion Conquest Typhoon in an Allowance Optional Claiming here May 4 which followed a disappointing sixth in the G2 Ft. Lauderdale Stakes at Gulfstream January 14, a third in the minor Artie Schiller Stakes at Aqueduct November 19, and an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Belmont Park October 19. He also had a respectable second after leading most of the way in the G3 Penn Mile in May, 2015 and a nice win in the G3 Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland April 15, 2015. Night Prowler has been inconsistent in his career, but good at times and will be after his first stakes score in 25 months. Irad Ortiz rides from the rail.

Bolting 10-1

Has placed in six of nine career starts for trainer Francis-Henri Graffard. He makes his North American debut Saturday after spending his career in France and Britain. He won a stakes race at Chantilly last May but failed to place in his next two starts including an eighth in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes at Ascot last May. Last time out was a nice Allowance score in France May 10 after a second in a similar race at Chantilly in April. Bolting has been OK in his career so far and searches for his first ever graded/Group stakes win from gate 4 Saturday. Rajiv Maragh is scheduled to ride.

Lubash 15-1

Christophe Clement trainee has 53 career starts with 18 wins, nine seconds and seven third place finishes. He finished fifth in this race in 2013 and has been OK since. He won the G3 Tropical Turf Handicap at Gulfstream Park West November 26 (he won that race in 2015 as well) and has since recorded consecutive thirds. Last time out was in the minor Kingston Stakes on this track May 29 and before that was in the G3 Miami Mile at Gulfstream April 29. Lubash has placed in four straight races ahead of weekend and hopes for his third graded stakes score from the outside post 7 Saturday. John Velazquez is scheduled to ride.

Weekend Hideaway 5-2

Main Track Only Entry, Philip Serpe trainee has 12 wins, five seconds and six third place finishes in 39 career starts. He has won multiple minor stakes races in his career - one coming last time out in the Commentator Stakes on this track May 29 (for the second year in a row). He has six career graded stakes starts but failed to place in any including a seventh in the G3 Mr. Prospector Stakes at Gulfstream in December. He has placed in five of his last seven starts overall and will be after a first graded stakes placing I he does indeed race. Luis Saez may be in the irons from post 5.

2017 Poker Handicap Odds & Entries

Race 8 on Belmont Park's Sunday card with a Post Time of 5:13 PM.

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Night Prowler 8-1 Irad Ortiz, Jr. Chad Brown
2 Projected (GB) 6-5 Joel Rosario Chad Brown
3 Ballagh Rocks 5-2 Jose Lezcano William Mott
4 Bolting 10-1 Rajiv Maragh Francis - Henri Graffard
5 Weekend Hideaway 6-5 Luis Saez Philip Serpe
6 Catapult 5-1 Jose Ortiz Chad Brown
7 Lubash 15-1 John Velazquez Christophe Clement