We enter the final week of the spring Churchill Downs meeting, and the last few days of the meet are in jeopardy thanks to Mother Nature.
Churchill Downs officials have already canceled Thursday’s card due to expected high temperatures that are forecast to hit a high of 105 by Thursday afternoon.
It is not often Churchill Downs loses any race dates due to the weather. The track did have to cancel one day last spring due to a tornado that hit the area, doing some damage to the backstretch area.
Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery said his track team consulted with National Weather Service forecasters before making its decision to cancel Thursday’s racing, and would continue to do so while assessing the status of the three remaining racing programs during what forecasters predict will be several days of extreme heat in the region.
“Our first priority on any day at Churchill Downs is the health and safety of the human and equine participants in our sport, and Thursday’s forecast called for a triple-digit, possible record-high temperature under an afternoon sun,” Flanery said. “We know how important these races and their purses are to our owners and trainers, but the health and safety issues convinced us this was the proper call for Thursday’s program.”
The forecast for Friday does not look much better, with a forecasted high of 104. The highs for Saturday and Sunday are forecast to also hit triple digits.
We have perfect conditions for today’s nine race card at Belmont Park, with sunny skies and a high of around 80 degrees at post time for the opener.
The main track is listed as fast and the turf course is labeled as good.
Today’s feature is the $85,000 Track Barron for two-year-olds which drew a field of six led by the Todd Pletcher trained Shanghai Bobby, a good looking maiden winner in his debut back in April.
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 $16,000 (12:50 ET)
3 Perfect Embrace 4-1
5 Jardenia 5-2
2 Amply Rewarded 4-1
6 Surround Sound 3-1
Analysis: Perfect Embrace was not a threat last out against $25K claimers on the grass in her first start off the claim by the Guillo barn. She switches back to the main track and drops into a softer spot here tagged for $16K. The barn has done good work with recent claims in '12 and got off to a hot start although he has cooled off a bit recently. The barn is 3 for 12 (with a +ROI) moving runners from turf to dirt. She does not run two bad ones often, landing in the money in 15 of her 21 career outings.
Jardenia beat our top pick in her last start where she pressed the early pace and finished well in the lane to win by 1 3/4 lengths. She as claimed by the Maker barn three back for a $10K tag, a head loss to a repeat winner. She put in a good breeze on June 16 and looks capable of winning right back in this spot.
WIN: #3 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 3,5 / 2,3,5,6
TRI: 3,5 / 2,3,5,6 / 2,3,4,5,6
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 8 The Track Barron (4:34 ET)
2 Shanghai Bobby 8-5
6 Video Storm 5-2
4 Cay to Pomeroy 3-1
5 Handsome Jack 6-1
Analysis: Shanghai Bobby was a good looking maiden winner in his debut, coming with a four wide run and winning by four lengths. The runner up in the race was Ju Ju Eyeballs, who came back to graduate in his next outing on June 1 at Monmouth Park. The colt has some pedigree, out of the stakes winner Steelin' ($185K) her first foal to race. He comes back off a short break for the Pletcher barn that is 29% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180 day layoff.
Video Storm invades from Maryland for the Salzman barn and is coming off a gate to wire score at Pimlico to break his maiden. He crossed the wire first two back but was DQ'd for interference, despite the margin of victory being 7 1/4 lengths. The gelding's last pair of speed figs are tops in here and the gelding should have no problem handling the exacta furlong here.
WIN: #2 to win at 7-5 or better.
EX: 2,6 / 2,4,6
TRI: no play
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.
R3: #6 Nine Loves 10-1
R5: #7 Nishava 8-1
R6: #6 Undrgroundregulatr 8-1
Good luck today!