Things were not looking that good for our top pick Ron the Greek in Saturday night’s $400,000 Stephen Foster handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs.
Nates Mineshaft set the early fractions and had things fairly easy on the front and looked as if he might steal it with jockey Miguel Mena aboard.
He started to weaken in deep stretch and was overtaken by the betting favorite Wise Dan who looked like the winner but he started to drift in the stretch.
Ron the Greek had to steady in the early going and was outrun and made a good rally up the rail under jockey Jose Lezcano. He snuck right up the inside to get up in deep stretch to nail the chalk by a head.
The winner paid $20.80 with the $2 recommended exacta paying $57.80.
I did not use Nates Mineshaft and we missed out on a $2 trifecta that paid $570.00.
It was a marathon day yesterday, with the opener at Belmont Park going off at 12:50 ET and the nightcap at Churchill Downs going off at 11:11 ET last night.
Both tracks are in action within five minutes of each other this afternoon, both offering up solid wagering cards.
My Best Plays Report for Sunday includes my eight strongest plays from Belmont Park and Churchill Downs.
To purchase my full card report for Churchill Downs click here
To purchase my full card report for Belmont Park click here
Here is today’s opening from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BEL Race 1 Clm $15,000B (12:50 ET)
7 Poni Colada 3-1
8 Meridian Magic 2-1
5 Pawleys Porch 5-1
3 Tuvia's Force 5-2
Analysis: Poni Colada tracked the early pace and could not catch a loose on the lead gate to wire winner last out in a runner up finish at this level. The seven year old is now 0 for 4 since the Jacobson barn took this guy from Dutrow and he has not won since winning an Alw-2 optional claimer back in October of '10. He does look as if he is heading in the right direction form wise and he has shown he is better at a mile than nine furlongs.
Meridian Magic returns off nearly a three month break and makes his first start for the Dutrow barn that is 32% winners (with a +ROI) first off the claim. In his last start at the Big A he made a good late rally to finish third versus $30K non-winners of two or four year olds. He does not need to move forward much off his last effort to win here. The barn is 30% winners (with a +ROI) with horses coming back off a 61-180 day layoff.
WIN: #7 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 7,8 / 3,5,7,8
TRI: 7,8 / 3,5,7,8 / 3,4,5,7,8
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 8 Alw $57,000N1X (4:34 ET)
5 Junior Officer 8-1
9 Next Question 6-1
2 Power Blast 3-1
11 Image of Disco 20-1
Analysis: Junior Officer is coming off a couple of good efforts over wet tracks in races taken off the grass and will be making his turf debut here. Last out he battled for the early lead and could not match strides late with the winner in a runner up finish in the slop going seven furlongs. The gelding is by Officer out of a Red Ransom mare that has dropped two other winners and they have both won on turf, top earner stakes winner Sherine ($224K). The Weaver barn is 21% winners overall in turf sprints.
Next Question is making his first start off a 13 month layoff. The colt was last seen breaking his maiden over the poly at Woodbine last May in his second career start. He has been prepping at Fair Hill so he should be fit and ready to go. The barn is 22% winners with horses coming back off a +180 day layoff.
WIN: #5 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 5,9 / 2,5,9,11
TRI: 5,9 / 2,5,9,11 / 2,4,5,7,9,11
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Churchill Downs:
CD Race 8 OClm $50,000N2X (4:20 ET)
3 Pleasant Run 3-1
5 Temeraine 5-1
1 Twinspired 7-2
6 Versailles Road 7-2
Analysis: Pleasant Run comes back with just a week break after checking in fourth last out at this level on the main track. Two back in his last go on turf he checked in fourth trying to get 1 1/2 miles, running into repeat winner Point of Entry, who came back to win the Elkhorn (G2) in his next outing. He makes his third start off the layoff and looks primed for a good effort here.
Temeraine made a good late rally while wide to cross the wire second versus Alw-1 foes and was put up via DQ. That was the colt's first go on turf and he still looks as if he has some upside potential. Three of his sibs are also grass winners and three of them are stakes winners, top earner Dead Red ($247K).
WIN: #3 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 3,5 / 1,3,5,6
TRI: 3,5 / 1,3,5,6 / 1,2,3,5,6
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.
R2: #5 Ashcraft Silver 10-1
R6: #14 Bridgetta 8-1
R6: #12 Tati 15-1
R7: #2 Old Man Meese 10-1
R7: #7 Northern Evader 8-1
R8: #5 Junior Officer 8-1
R8: #11 Image of Disco 20-1
R10: #10 Tutti Va Bene 10-1
R10: #12 Laylaben 20-1
Good luck today!