It is going to be a fun day of horse racing, with eight stakes races between Belmont Park and Keeneland, and I am pretty sure the Infield Fly Rule will not affect the outcome of any of the races this afternoon.
We have five Breeders' Cup Challenge races at the two tracks and several very interesting races.
For me the race of the day is the $400,000 Jamaica (G1), a 1 1/8 miles turf race that drew a field of eight.
Races were washed off the turf the last three days except for the stake on Friday, and there likely is going to be some give to the ground on Saturday afternoon.
Dullahan is the 4-5 morning line favorite, coming off a victory against older in the Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar over polytrack.
He is now a three time Grade 1 winner, but all three victories were on the fake stuff. The Dale Romans trainee is 0 for 6 on conventional dirt and 0 for 3 on turf in his career.
The race is an unconventional prep for the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1), but what happens if he runs big on turf?
Does Romans elect to send him to either the Breeders' Cup Mile or Turf?
The biggest question for us on Saturday is whether or not he is going to like turf with some give to it.
At such a short price I am leading elsewhere, and landed on the European import Cogito for trainer Bran Meehan, with jockey Frankie Dettori in to ride.
The other high profile runner and chalk today is going to be Wise Dan in the $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland.
The five-year-old is a graded stakes winner on poly, turf, and dirt, and after losing the Stephen Foster (G1) in a photo to Ron the Greek, I thought the shift back to turf was a curious move.
All he did was won the Fourstardave (G2) at Saratoga over yielding footing, and then looked awesome winning the Woodbine Mile (G1) in his most recent outing.
Now he looks as if he can handle anything the Europeans want to ship over for the Breeders' Cup, although he has to get through his final prep, and he will face a couple of decent turf winners.
I am thinking Dominus might offer the best value in the race, and Silver Max will be looking to bounce back off a fifth place finish in the Secretariat (G1) last out at Arlington Park, which snapped a six race win streak.
My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my ten strongest plays from Keeneland and Belmont Park including all of the graded stakes action.
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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)
3 Sir Wonderland 3-1
6 Reaching Out 2-1
5 Fierce Face 5-1
7 Burning Flame 6-1
Analysis: Sir Wonderland makes the trip from out west for the O'Neill barn and why not since this guy is a New York bred. He is by Sunriver (5% winners with debut runners from a limited sampling) out of a Greenwood Lake mare, her first foal to race. She has several quick works on the morning tab at Hollywood Park over the fake stuff that should have him fit and ready to go. The barn is 17% winners with first time starters.
Reaching Out makes his debut for the Dutrow barn that is 9% winners with firsters. The colt is by Big Brown and the first foal to race out of a Holy Bull mare. The colt debuts with lasix and a couple of bullet drills on the morning tab.
WIN: #3 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 3,6 / 3,5,6,8
TRI: 3,6 / 3,5,6,8 / 3,5,6,7,8
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 9 The Jamaica G1 (5:06 ET)
4 Cognito 4-1
3 Dullahan 4-5
5 Summer Front 5-1
7 Howe Great 6-1
Analysis: Cognito makes his U.S. debut here and firs start off a 2 1/2 month break here for the Brian Meehan barn and it is good to see Dettori come over for the ride. His best effort came last out in a runner up finish in a Group 2 race won by Bayir, who came to the U.S. and won the Secretariat (G1) at Arlington Park on Aug. 18. The blinkers go on this colt who has an appealing pedigree, by Giant's Causeway out of the stakes winner ladies Cruise ($122K) who has dropped four other winners including a pair of stakes winners, top earner Transcendental ($382K).
Dullahan is going to get all the attention at the betting windows after beating older runners in the Pacific Classic (G1), his third Grade 1 victory in his career, all on the fake stuff. He is back with three year olds here as he tries to pick up his first career win on the lawn. He is 0 for 3 on grass but has run well, his last a runner up finish in the Palm Beach back in march at Gulfstream Park. He should win this but is going to be 3-5, and I hate to back a guy that has never won on turf at such a short price.
WIN: #4 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 3,4 / 3,4,5,7
TRI: 3,4 / 3,4,5,7 / 1,3,4,5,7
Analysis: Charming Kitten ships in from New York for the Todd Pletcher barn off a third place finish in the With Anticipation (G2) at Saratoga going nine furlongs on turf. The winner of the race was Balance the Books, who is entered here but looks more likely to go in tomorrow's $150,000 Bourbon (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Our top pick tracked the early pace while saving ground, was angled toward the outside for the stretch run and did not have enough punch left late, beaten 1 ¾ lengths as the beaten favorite. The colt was a good looking winner in his debut two back over turf labeled as good, and was well backed in his debut effort. He has the pedigree to handle polytrack, by Kitten's Joy out of a Wild Again mare that has dropped two other winners including stakes winner Queen'splatekitten ($339K). The Pletcher barn is 32% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from turf to the fake stuff.
Dynamic Sky earned a solid fig winning the restricted Simcoe at Woodbine over poly going 6 ½ furlongs to pick up his first win of his career. The third place finisher Star Contender exited the race to pick up his maiden win in his next outing on Sept. 23. The Mark Casse trainee ran in the restricted Vandal in his debut and put in a good showing in a third place finish behind repeat winner Uncaptured, who won the Swynford in his next outing at Woodbine on Sept. 9. The colt has enough pedigree to handle the stretch out. He is by Sky Mesa out of the stakes winner Murani ($156K) who did her best work on grass. The barn is 26% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from sprint to route.
Tizracer is also sent out by the Pletcher barn and will be trying poly for the first time. The colt ran fourth in his debut going six furlongs over a wet track at the Spa, then came back with a sharp looking maiden win when stretched out to a mile at Belmont Park, drawing off to win by 10 ½ lengths. The $450K Keeneland purchase has a poly type pedigree, by Tiznow out of a stakes placed Elusive Quality mare. He figures to be in the mix early, and at least at the spring meeting here it was a bit better to be lying off the pace at this distance.
WIN: #9 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 9,12 / 5,9,12,13
TRI: 9,12 / 5,9,12,13 / 4,5,6,9,12,13
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: #6 Centrina 10-1
R2: #7 Take Her To the Top 8-1
R3: #7 Rienzi 8-1
R3: #1 Pirate's Grip / 1a Standup Paddle 10-1
R5: #10 Light of Mercy 12-1
R7: #5 Sweet Shirley Mae 8-1
R7: #1 Toasting 12-1
R10: #3 Cooper Tiger 8-1
Mike DempseyMike 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. The 2015 Triple Crown saw Mike correctly predict American Pharoah to win both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Mike nailed the Exacta and Trifecta in the Belmont Stakes. Mike had a solid 2014 Triple Crown race season, 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 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. No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track! Mike's Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card. Join Mike each day with daily picks from Belmont and Churchill Downs or capture the 2nd jewel in the Triple Crown with Mike's Preakness Stakes package. You can also get his Weekend Best Plays Report in his Multi-Track package or sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
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Jerry SessaJerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to VegasInsider.com. When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins. Jerry opened the 2016 Triple Crown season by hitting his Derby Day best bet, Nyquist. He also nailed the Derby exacta for a $30.60 payout. On 4/16/16 at Keeneland, Jerry hit an $819 exacta that led to a $38k Trifecta & a $300k Super.
In the 2015 Belmont Stakes Jerry dominated races 8-11 by hitting a $4,400 Pick 4, 3 Daily Doubles, 2 Pick 3's and calling American Pharoah as the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years. Jerry is always looking to repeat his 2012 Triple Crown success, when he selected the winning horses for The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes. Jerry looks forward to working with everyone and making money for anyone who invests in his picks on a daily basis. Score top selections for the 141st Preakness Stakes or join Jerry daily with picks from
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