Despite a temperature of 103 degrees at post for the opener at Churchill Downs last evening, racing went on..
Tonight’s “Downs After Dark” program gets underway at 6:30 ET, and again the temperature will be around triple digits when they break from the gate for tonight’s first of eleven races.
It will be a long day of wagering, as the finale on the evening’s card will take place at 11:40 ET.
I was seriously considering skipping handicapping Saturday night’s card thinking track management might cancel, and I was considering handicapping the Prairie Meadows card instead.
There are three graded stakes on the card tonight including the $250,000 Iowa Derby, which features the return of Hansen, the 2011 Eclipse Award winner for top two-year-olds making his first start since a ninth place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1).
However, the three graded stakes at Prairie Meadows drew a grand total of 17 runners, with a pair of six horse fields and only four taking on Hansen, who is 2-5 on the morning line.
Not exactly my type of races to wager on.
So we will put up with the heat and wager on the Churchill Downs card tonight, which features the $100,000 Bashford Manor (G3) for two-year-olds going six furlongs.
Stay up late because it is actually a really good betting card this evening.
I like the 11-race card at Belmont Park today as well. The card features a pair of graded stakes and gets underway at 12:50 ET this afternoon.
Aruna is the 9-5 morning line favorite in the $200,000 New York, a race for fillies and mares at 1 ¼ miles on the inner turf.
The $200,000 Dwyer (G2) drew a field of seven three-year-olds including four runners that competed in a Triple Crown race.
The 5-2 morning line favorite is Teeth of the Dog, who rebounded from a fifth place finish in the Preakness (G1) with a victory in the Easy Goer in his first go over the Belmont Park main track.
My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my nine 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 $20,000N2L (12:50 ET)
9 Romantic Channel 3-1
8 Louie Mondello 7-2
1 Departures 5-2
6 Why Broadway 8-1
Analysis: Romantic Channel dueled for the early lead and faded to finish ninth last out at Churchill Downs against $25K non-winners of two. The gelding has been beaten double digit lengths in his two starts since breaking his maiden three back at Gulfstream Park for a $35K tag. He cuts back to seven furlongs and catches what appears to be a weaker group than he faced in his last couple of outings. The Maker barn is 21% winners moving runners from route to sprint. He is out of the stakes winner raw Gold ($509K) who did her best work sprinting on the main track.
Louie Mondello broke his maiden last out for a $25K tag at Tampa Bay Downs for a $25K tag. The gelding hopped at the break, was outrun in the early going and made a good late rally to get up late. The third place finisher came back to break his maiden against maiden special weight company in his next outing. He makes his first start here for the Micelli barn and adds lasix for his first go against winners.
WIN: #9 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 8,9 / 1,6,8,9
TRI: 8,9 / 1,6,8,9 / 1,5,6,8,9
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 10 The Dwyer G2 (5:36 ET)
6 Teeth of the Dog 5-2
4 Unstoppable U 3-1
5 Zetterholm 3-1
1 Morgan's Guerrilla 4-1
Analysis: Teeth of the Dog rebounded from his fifth place finish in the Preakness (G1) with a good looking win last out in the Easy Goer in his first trip over the main track here. The colt earned the top last out speed fig in what appears to be one of the weaker Dwyer's we have seen in recent years. The colt showed some talent by checking in third in the Wood (G1) three back in his first start against winners. The Michael Matz trainee owns a solid pace profile throughout and is one of two in the field that has a win over the surface. The 5-2 morning line looks fair enough, but the price is likely to be heading south as they head to the gate.
Unstoppable U tracked the early pace and faded to finish sixth in the Belmont (G1) last out , trying to get 1 1/2 miles in his first start against winners, a tall task. The colt was a good looking maiden winner in his debut and came back to beat Alw-1 optional claimers in his first go against winners by 6 1/4 lengths. The colt as up front in his first two career starts but does not look quick enough to be on the lead here, and likely takes a tracking role. Among this group he appears to have the most upside potential.
Zetterholm rolled over New York breds in three starts including taking the Patsy Prospect two back at the Big A going a mile. Last out he tries tougher in the Preakness (G1), acted up in the gate and was not much of a threat in a fourth place finish. He is back facing easier here but these are still better than the state breds he was beating up on. He is a half to a couple of stakes winners in Wishful Tomcat ($669K) and Uncle T Seven ($466K).
WIN: #6 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 4,6 / 1,4,5,6
TRI: 4,6 / 1,4,5,6 / 1,2,4,5,6
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Churchill Downs:
CD Race 6 The Bashford Manor G3 (9:00 ET)
7 Positively 6-1
5 Special Jo 2-1
1 Good Tickled 3-1
2 Circle Unbroken 3-1
Analysis: Positively finished third in his debut behind Good Tickled and then came back second out with a good looking maiden score. The effort was flattered when the runner up John Gordon came back to graduate in his next outing here on June 22. The colt came back with a bullet drill on June 24 for the Byrne barn. The colt has a nice pedigree, by Distorted Humor out of the stakes winner Macoumba ($197K).
Special Jo was hammered at the betting windows in his debut and did not disappoint, rolling to a six length win. The $230K Ocala purchase prompted a sharp early pace from the outside and had plenty left late. Three he beat have come back to win with the best effort a runner up finish Count On Silver at Indiana Downs on June 12. He is in good hands with the Asmussen barn and looks like a legit threat here as the likely favorite.
WIN: #7 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 5,7 / 1,2,5,7
TRI: 5,7 / 1,2,5,7 / 1,2,5,6,7
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.
R1: #6 Why Broadway 8-1
R2: #1 Won Kool Kid 10-1
R4: #8 Missile Motor 10-1
R6: #6 Tall Tale Teller 8-1
R6: #11 Big City Boy 12-1
R7: #2 Potus 8-1
R8: #5 Reflecting 15-1
R9: #3 Principal Role 8-1
R11: #4 East Indies 12-1
Good luck today!