At the Gate - Saturday
July 7, 2012
By Mike Dempsey
This should be a fun day of betting, with some solid stakes action throughout the country including the $350,000 Suburban Handicap (G2) and $150,000 Victory Ride (G3) at Belmont Park.
Well, the Victory Ride may not be much fun to bet on as the undefeated Agave Kiss looks to keep her streak alive when she goes for her seventh consecutive win as the 2-5 morning line favorite.
The Suburban brings together a solid group of older runners including Stay Thirsty and Mucho Macho Man, who went down the Triple Crown trail last year.
To Honor and Serve looks like the one to beat as he makes his third start of the year. The Bill Mott trainee ended his 2011 campaign with a victory in the Cigar Mile (G1), and started off this year with a victory in the Westchester (G3) and a third in the Met Mile (G1).
I don't wager much on Calder anymore, but today's Summit of Speed looks like a good opportunity to pad the bankroll.
There are four graded stakes on the afternoon including the $400,000 Princess Rooney (G1) which drew a solid field of fillies and mares including last year's Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) winner Musical Romance.
The $400,000 Smile Sprint Handicap (G2) is a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" race for the Sprint, which begs the question of why the Princess Rooney is not a Breeders' Cup Challenge race.
Then again, the Breeders' Cup Challenge never seems to make much sense.
Today's $500,000 United Nations (G1) and $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) are both "Win and You're In" races, the victors getting a ticket to the Turf and Classic respectively.
My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my strongest plays from Belmont Park and Calder, as well as my picks for the Hollywood Gold Cup and United Nations.
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 $15,000N2L (12:50 ET)
6 Toninthirteen 4-1
5 Indigene Charm 5-1
4 Captain Canuck 5-2
8 Rutherford B. 7-2
Analysis: Toninthirteen stalked the early pace from the inside and finished evenly for fourth last out at this level going six furlongs in the slop. The runner up First Verse came back to beat Alw-2L foes in his next start at Finger Lakes on June 30. The gelding was beaten double digit lengths two and three back, both on turf. He catches a soft spot here and Luzzi sticks for the Hushion barn that has been on the cold side at the meeting.
Indigene Charm was claimed by the Rice barn for $20K, a race in which the colt swerved coming out of the gate and dumped the jock. He was not a threat in his first go for the barn on turf and switches back to the main track and drops in for a $15K tag. His first two starts against winners back in the spring are good enough to be in the mix here and the surface switch should suit.
WIN: #6 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 5,6 / 4,5,6,8
TRI: 5,6 / 4,5,6,8 / 1,4,5,6,8
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Calder:
CRC Race 7 The Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint (3:37 ET)
6 Uno Caliente 3-1
3 Artefacto 6-1
4 Determinato 4-1
10 Silver Cloud 10-1
Analysis: Uno Caliente returns off nearly a two month break after winning the Champali last out. The colt dueled for the early lead, opened up heading for home and held on to win by 1 1/2 lengths over our third choice in here. His lone other go on grass in his career was a runner up finish in last year's Champali. He has come back with a pair of bullet drills since his last outing and looks like he will be tough in this spot.
Artefacto is also entered in the Smile Sprint (G2) today and since he has never been on grass he may scratch out of here and land in the later race. However, this colt showed plenty of talent winning his first three career starts, all in races washed off the grass. He hit the bench after failing to fire in the Jimmy V last November in the mud. He is back with nothing but bullet drills on the morning tab. He has three sibs that have won on grass including stakes winner Bourbonnais ($173K).
WIN: #6 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 3,6 / 3,4,6,10
TRI: 3,6 / 3,4,6,10 / 1,3,4,6,10
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 9 The Suburban Hcp G2 (5:06 ET)
7 To Honor and Serve 9-5
5 Trickmeister 6-1
1 Stay Thirsty / 1a Caixa Eletronica 7-2
4 Hymn Book 6-1
Analysis: To Honor and Serve is coming off a career top speed fig in a third place finish in the Met Mile (G1) last out. The colt did not have the best of trips, sitting in tight toward the inside, was eased back to find some room, had to wait briefly nearing the quarter pole, and then did not have enough punch when angled toward the outside in the final furlong. The colt came off a five month layoff two back to win the Westchester (G3). He won the Cigar Mile (G3) last fall in his last start of '11, but he actually may be better at nine furlongs. The Bill Mott trainee looks primed for a top effort here in his third start off the bench.
Trickmeister took the field gate to wire last out to win the Vanlandingham Stakes off a three month break. The lightly raced five year old has won six of his seven career starts, his lone loss coming in the Donn Handicap (G1) back in February. Note that jockey Ramon Dominguez is sticking with this guy despite being the regular rider of Mucho Macho Man. The Rick Dutrow runner has some early zip but needs to avoid getting hooked up early with Endorsement, who looks quicker.
Stay Thirsty tracked the early pace but could not get to our second choice last out in the Vanlandingham while lugging in midstretch. The colt was making his first start since running 11th in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) last fall. The Todd Pletcher trainee is 0 for 4 over the main track here but has run well including a runner up finish in the Belmont (G1) and a third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1). The colt figures to be fitter for his second start off the bench. His entrymate Caixa Eletronica earned a career top winning the six furlong True North Handicap (G2). He did win the Charles Town Classic (G2) at nine furlongs over the tight turns at the West Virginia track. He may be suited better for one turn.
WIN: #7 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 5,7 / 1,4,5,7
TRI: 5,7 / 1,4,5,7 / 1,4,5,6,7
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.
R2: #8 Trainingforsuccess 12-1
R4: #12 The Mixer 12-1
R5: #2 Time to Change 15-1
R6: #5 Totheendoftheearth 10-1
R7: #1 Finn Again 10-1
R8: #6 Sea Island 10-1
R10: #4 Recharged 12-1
Good luck today!
HORSE RACING EXPERT
Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders’ Cup.
Last Year Mike had a solid Triple Crown, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick.
Mike has also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby, winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively.
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