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Charge It After Repeat Suburban Stakes Success in New Slot at Belmont Stakes Racing Festival

Jamie Clark
Todd Pletcher runs Charge It and Crupi in the Suburban Stakes

Before 2024, the 2km Grade II Suburban Stakes was a regular fixture in America’s horse racing program in July. Now celebrating its 140th anniversary, this former handicap is part of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival meet.

That means not only a change of spot in the annual calendar, but a temporary track switch too. With Belmont Park undergoing extensive renovation, its graded stakes races move to other NYRA  venues. For this year and next, Saratoga Race Course is home to the Suburban.

Inaugurated way back in 1884, this event has a number of dual previous winners. Kelso is arguably the most famous of those with him completing the now defunct New York Handicap Triple in 1961. The Metropolitan Handicap is on the same day at the Suburban Stakes now, so repeating such a feat is impossible.

Winning back-to-back editions of this race has only happened three times before. That is the task facing Charge It for the Todd Pletcher barn conceding weight all-round to a field containing seven rivals. Since an impressive five-length victory at Belmont Park last summer, this five-year-old son of Tapit has been in some of the top Grade I events.

Crupi Also Representing Barn in Line-up

Charge It ran fourth here at Saratoga in the Whitney Stakes over 1,800m behind two subsequent Breeders’ Cup winners. Although no match for the Classic hero White Abarrio, he was just a head adrift of dual Dirt Mile victor Cody’s Wish. Charge It then filled the same spot in the Woodward Stakes and at the World Championships over the mile.

With that career best in last year’s Suburban Stakes over a couple of furlongs further, these assignments have been at trips sharp of his best. Pletcher expects Charge It to come on plenty for his reappearance when third in the Grade III Westchester Stakes at Aqueduct with John Velazquez now back on board.

The barn which has won this race in three of the last seven years also runs Crupi. An unlucky fifth in the Pennsylvania Derby in the fall, this four-year-old Curlin colt won a couple of Listed events around Aqueduct before a huge performance when third in the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park.

Despite being the 34-1 rank outsider, Crupi made the show and got within five lengths of National Treasure and subsequent Saudi Cup hero Senor Buscador. It’s probably best to put a line through his Dubai World Cup 10th as it was first time travelling overseas and racing outside America. Crupi and defending champ Charge It give Pletcher a strong hand.

Suburban Stakes 2024 Post Position Draw & Morning Line Odds

  1. Signator (118lbs) – 8-1
  2. Kuchar (118lbs) – 8-1
  3. Masqueparade (118lbs) – 12-1
  4. Charge It (122lbs) – 5-2
  5. Time For Trouble (118lbs) – 15-1
  6. Good Skate (118lbs) – 20-1
  7. Crupi (118lbs) – 3-1
  8. Bendoog (118lbs) – 2-1

Bendoog Favored over Pletcher Pair in Suburban Stakes Betting

Neither inmate of the barn that has produced the winner in each of the last two years are favorite this time, however. The Morning Line odds and Belmont Stakes betting sites favor Bill Mott’s new recruit Bendoog. This five-year-old son of Gun Runner clocked a super speed figure in an 1,800m Aqueduct claimer last time out.

Previously campaigned in the Middle East, Bendoog is two from three since joining Mott. The barn has three previous Suburban Stakes successes with the latest courtesy of Juddmonte’s Tacitus in 2020. Oddsmakers running scared of Bendoog when he’s without a graded stakes victory does seem a little strange.

His Meydan form is solid with placed efforts in two Rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge last year. Bendoog was only sixth in the 2023 Dubai World Cup, but did finish ahead of the 2022 winner Country Grammer. If the Morning Line odds forecast are right, the Suburban is a three-horse race this year with the remaining five runners all needing significant improvement.

WATCH: Charge It Win the 2023 Suburban Stakes at Belmont Park

Jamie Clark

After more than a decade of picking winners for the biggest races on the planet, pro handicapper Jamie Clark has been involved with our Belmont Stakes project right from the start. A thoroughbred pedigree expert, he has the knowledge of all the horses taking part in this and other major events across the USA and beyond.