We lost Thursday’s card at Belmont Park due to oppressive heat, and then on Friday a storm hit, knocking out the power shortly after the fourth race was run, and the remainder of the card was canceled.
The conditions look perfect this afternoon for the $300,000 Mother Goose (G1), which drew a compact field of five, but features two of the best three-year-old fillies in training.
The Bob Baffert trained Contested is the 7-5 morning line favorite coming off her gate to wire score in the Acorn (G1) at Belmont Park on May 28.
The victory was her fourth straight and second in graded company, winning the Eight Belles (G3) on Kentucky Oaks Day in her previous start.
She will take on Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Believe You Can, who pulled off the upset at 13-1 for trainer Larry Jones.
The filly has won six of her nine career starts, also talking down the Fair Ground Oaks (G3) and the Tempted (G3), the latter over a muddy track at Belmont Park.
It looks like a match race, with just five entered to go and Wildcat’s Smile likely to scratch out of the race to run on Sunday.
Zo Impressive is no slouch, coming off a runner up finish to Contested in the Acorn. After winning her first two starts, she has run second in her last two starts, running second to Grace Hall in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) two back.
Completing the field is Disposiblepleasure, who had a troubled trip in her runner up finish in the Black Eyed Susan (G2) at Pimlico.
She was no match for Believe You Can two back in a third place finish in the Fair Ground Oaks, beaten nine lengths.
I’m going with Contested, who seems to have the tactical advantage over her rivals. If she gets loose early she is going to prove tough to catch.
My Best Plays Report for Saturday 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 Churchill Downs to get the day off to a good start:
CD Race 1 Clm $5,000 (12:45 ET)
5 Pacificator 5-1
3 Gruenewald 3-1
8 Seguro 5-1
9 Cave's Valley 4-1
Analysis: Pacificator was my top pick in yesterday's nightcap but was scratched. That actually looked like an easier spot facing restricted company and he takes on open $5K claimers here. Last out for a $10K tag the gelding stumbled coming out of the gate, dueled for the early lead and tired to finish fifth. The winner of the race was Cape Hatchet, who came back to beat $5K starter allowance foes in his next outing on June 14 at River Downs. Two back our top pick ran a good second for a $7.5K tag. He fits here with his best and the 5-1 morning line looks fair enough.
Gruenewald came up the inside with a good late run to finish in the runner up spot for a $5K tag. Two back he was off slow and came very wide to rally for third behind repeat winner Honor in Peace, who beat $7.5K claimers in his next start on June 8. The gelding is a four time winner over the main track here but is 0 for 7 in '12. He does catch a field with enough early zip things should set up for him late.
WIN: #45 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 3,5 / 3,5,8,9
TRI: 3,5 / 3,5,8,9 / 2,3,5,8,9
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 9 Alw $62,000N1X (5:14 ET)
7 More Zen Tea 3-1
8 Stephen's Revenge 8-1
3 Megalithic 4-1
2 Headingtothecity 8-1
Analysis: More Zen Tea is coming off a good looking maiden score on the grass here on May 20 as the heavy favorite. The gelding is the fourth sib out of the mare to win on turf, and two of this guy's sibs are stakes winners, top earner Spa City Fever ($263K). The gelding is proven at the nine furlong distance and still appears to have some upside making just his fourth career start here.
Stephen's Revenge was not much of a threat last out in a sixth place finish over yielding footing in his first start off a 5 1/2 month layoff. The gelding broke his maiden over the grass last year at the Spa. He should be fitter for his second start off the bench for the Tagg barn. He is a half to stakes winner Icabad Crane ($581K).
WIN: #7 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 7,8 / 2,3,7,8
TRI: 7,8 / 2,3,7,8 / 2,3,5,7,8
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Churchill Downs:
CD Race 10 The Debutante G3 (5:25 ET)
3 Blueeyesintherein 5-2
5 Floral Sky 4-1
10 Richie'slilcowgirl 3-1
2 Quiet Success 6-1
Analysis: Blueeyesintherein tracked the early pace from the outside and came home strong to break her maiden in her debut by 3 ¾ lengths with something left in the tank. The Garry Simms barn has been on fire at the meeting, hitting with five of his first eight starters with a couple of seconds. The barn won this race last year with longshot Flashy Lassie, who returned $37.20. Our top pick took some action in her debut, sent off at 5-2 in the field of nine. Only two have come out of the race to run back, the fifth place finisher Wildcat Angie a next out graduate on June 8.
Floral Sky hopped a bit at the start, was rushed up into contention and drew off late to break her maiden in her debut. The fifth place finisher Jane’s Heir exited the race to break her maiden in her next outing on June 14 here. The barn does good work with juveniles and this $230K Keeneland purchase has a nice pedigree. She is by Sky Mesa out of a Forest Wildcat mare that has dropped one other foal to race, stakes winner Dougs Buddy (5 for 6, $140K).
Richie’slilcowgirl took the field gate to wire to break her maiden over the polytrack at Arlington park for the Larry Rivelli barn. She was purchased privately after that win and lands with the Steve Asmussen barn that is 22% winners with newcomers to the barn. She looked good breaking her maiden but she did not beat a very tough group. Three came out of the race to run back and the best finish among the trio was a fourth.
WIN: #3 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 3,5 / 2,3,5,10
TRI: 3,5 / 2,3,5,10 / 2,3,5,6,10
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: #7 Attractive Ride 12-1
R4: #1 Princess Dream 10-1
R5: #9 Casey’s Image 10-1
R6: #3 Learn the Lingo 8-1
R7: #11 Time Thief 8-1
R8: #2 Joharmony 8-1
R9: #7 Delaunay 10-1
R10: #3 Zellers 8-1
Good luck today!