At the Gate - Thursday
October 4, 2012
By Mike Dempsey
The rains that fell on Tuesday forced the shift of five turf races to the main track yesterday at Belmont Park, and we have more of the same today.
There is a chance of more rain on Thursday, and the races have already been moved to the main track, but I was prepared today and my selections are for the main track.
There is more rain in the forecast starting around an hour before post time, so I expect the main track to be wet.
Things improve on Friday, and there is just a 40% chance of showers on Saturday on a day with three graded stakes that will have Breeders' Cup implications.
Dullahan is the 4-5 morning line favorite in the $400,000 Jamaica (G1) as he makes his final prep for the Breeders' Cup.
The question is which race is he prepping for?
He is a three time Grade 1 winner, but all on polytrack. He is 0 for 3 on turf in his career, but a strong performance might lead his trainer Dale Romans to think about sticking on turf in either the Breeders' Cup Mile or Turf.
However, it appears the connections are leaning toward going in the Breeders' Cup Classic even though the colt is winless in six trips over conventional dirt.
Trainer Todd Pletcher swept last weekend's juvenile stakes at Belmont Park, and he has another shot of doing the same this weekend.
Pletcher will send out the 2-5 morning line favorite Dreaming of Julia in the $400,000 Frizette (G1) for two-year-old fillies, and will send out three of the seven participants in the $400,000 Foxwoods Champagne (G1).
He will saddle recent maiden winner Archwarrior (5-2), a well touted juvenile that was drilled in the betting in his debut, Hopeful (G1) winner Shanghai Bobby (3-1), and maiden winner Micromanage (5-1).
The biggest threat to the Pletcher trio appears to be west coast shipper Goldencents (3-1), a good looking maiden winner in his debut at Del Mar over polytrack for trainer Doug O'Neill.
I will have selections and analysis of all the stakes races from Belmont Park as well as Keeneland in Saturday's Best Plays Report.
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Here is today's opening from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BEL Race 1 Md Sp Wt (12:50 ET)
2 M Six 4-1
9 Volatile Markets 7-2
8 Smooth Bert 5-2
7 Sunlover 6-1
Analysis: M Six was off a beat slow in his debut and was not much of a threat going a route of ground on the grass at the Spa. He took some play, sent off at 7-2 in a field of nine, but more of the barn's two year olds were taking betting action and many of them won. The colt draws the rail here and figures to move forward with a race under his belt. He seems just as suited pedigree wise for the main track and is bred to like a wet track. He is by Medaglia d'Oro out of the multiple turf stakes winner J'ray ($969K). Pletcher is 35% winners (with a +ROI) with second out maidens.
Volatile Markets is a $60K purchase making his debut for the Violette barn that is 15% winners with firsters. The colt is by Rockport Harbor (10% winners) out of Poncho Villa mare that has dropped one other foal to race, 1 for 14 Tis of Thee ($17K). The colt debuts with lasix and sports a couple of quick works on the morning tab.
WIN: #2 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 2,9 / 2,7,8,9
TRI: 2,9 / 2,7,8,9 / 2,4,7,8,9
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 8 Clm $20,000B (4:34 ET)
13 Sasta Go Lucky 12-1
12 Elusive Jozi 2-1
14 Cat's Got Legs 3-1
9 Aba Dabbler 7-2
Analysis: Sasta Go Lucky is a MTO only runner that is going to go off at a decent price. The filly was outrun last out in a tenth pale finish against state bred Alw1 optional claimers on the main track here. Two back he earned a career top winning an Alw-2 optional claimer at Suffolk by a head. He was claimed out of his last start by the McClelland barn that does not start many in NY. He is showing a 0 for 2 mark first off the claim but if we go back five years the barn has won with 7 of 40 (with a +ROI) first off the claim and did a stint as an assistant to Howard Wolfendale in Maryland, one of the top claiming barns on that circuit. She has a win over a wet track.
Elusive Jozi tired to finish sixth last out on turf and looks headed back to dirt and possibly a wet track. This gal won two and three back over sloppy surfaces at the Spa, two back trouncing restricted $20K foes by six lengths. The runner up Natalie Victoria came back to bet Alw-1 foes at Suffolk by 15 1/4 lengths. She is the logical one to beat here but our top pick is going to offer more bang for our buck for the top spot.
WIN: #13 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 12,13 / 9,12,13,14
TRI: 12,13 / 9,12,13,14 / 3,9,12,13,14
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 P J's Magical Wink 8-1
R5: #2 Most Happy Fella 10-1
R5: #1 Quiet Favorite 15-1
R8: #13 Sasta Go Lucky 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.
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