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At the Gate - Saturday

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Today's column is a little late in coming, as I along with every other Washington National fan slept in late this morning.

No, we were not out celebrating, we could not sleep, lying in bed in stunned disbelief after the Nats blew a 6-0 lead and succumbed to the St. Louis Cardinals 9-7.

On the plus side I will have a lot more time on my hands the next couple of weeks to prepare for the Breeders' Cup.

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I will be staying off social media for the next few days so the "Strasburg Police" can pontificate how shutting down the ace pitcher cost the Nats the series.

One respected horse racing scribe tweeted last night, "How would Strasburg have looked in that closers role tonight? Nats got what they deserved."

I am guessing that guy watched about three Nats games all year. Strasburg is a starter, Storen is the closer. There is no way in hell Davey Johnson would have run Strasburg out in the ninth inning to close the game.

Sometimes I wish Twitter would just catch on fire, or at the very least make people take an IQ test before giving them a Twitter handle.

As you can probably tell I am incredibly testy right now, but all will be better with first post at Belmont Park at 12:50 ET.

My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my eight strongest plays from Keeneland and Belmont Park including all of the graded stakes action.

Purchase my Monthly Package and receive an entire month of Belmont Park action and my weekend Keeneland and Best Plays Reports for just $99.95. Belmont Park runs five days a week with Monday and Tuesday dark days.

To purchase my full card report for Belmont Park and Keeneland for Saturday click here.

Here is today's opening from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:

BEL Race 1 Md $25,000 (12:50 ET)
4 Promised Destiny 10-1
9 Magic Harbor 8-1
5 Life's a Roar 3-1
3 Bundestag 7-2


Analysis: Promised Destiny was outrun early and made a mild late run to finish sixth last out, beaten 3 1/2 lengths for the top spot. The runner up and 11th place finisher exited that race to graduate in their next starts. This guy just needs some pace and he has a decent turf pedigree, four of his sibs are turf winners, top earner Primary Witness ($247K).

Magic Harbor is coming off a sixth place finish for a $35K tag last out at Monmouth Park, beaten 3 1/2 lengths for the top spot. The winner Channel Quest came back to beat $20K non-winners of two in his next outing on Sept. 29. He looks as if he catches a weaker looking group here and the 8-1 morning line looks more than fair.

Wagering
WIN: #4 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 4,9 / 3,4,5,9
TRI: 4,9 / 3,4,5,9 / 1,3,4,5,9

Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:

BEL Race 7 The Athenia G3 (4:02 ET)
2 Ruthenia 5-2
7 Dealbata 7-5
8 Martita Sangrita 12-1
4 Laughing 4-1


Analysis: Ruthenia is coming off a fourth place finish against a strong group in the Ballston Spa (G2) at the Spa. The filly saved ground in the early going, angled out five wide for the stretch drive and made a mild late rally, coming up 5 ¾ lengths short. The winner of the race was Zagora, who came back to run second in the Flower Bowl (G1) in her next outing on Sept. 29. A pair of runners did exit the Ballston Spa to win next out including Tapitsfly, who won the First Lady (G1) at Keeneland in her next start on Oct. 6. Our top pick has a couple of wins over the turf here, both coming back in '10. Her last win came three back when she took the Violet (G3) at Monmouth Park, and it looks as if she should get a good pace set up here as there is plenty of early zip signed up to go here. The filly is a half to Rutherienne ($1.29 million) an eleven time winner on the turf.

Dealbata made a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot last out in the Noble Damsel (G3) here, coming up 1 ½ lengths short to Naples Bay, who w won her first career stakes race at odds of 13-1. The filly won the Mohegan Sky in her U.S. debut three back and ended up the beaten favorite in her last two efforts. She has now landed in the exacta in seven of her eight career starts and she gets an extra half furlong and a strong pace here. She is in good hands with the Chad Brown barn but the price is going to be on the light side here.

Martita Sangrita prompted the early pace, took over the lead heading for home and was out finished late, settling for the runner up spot in the Omnibus at Monmouth Park going 1 3/8 miles on the turf. The mare won the Red Carpet two back at Penn over yielding turf coming from off the pace. The cut back in distance should suit and she should get a good tracking trip sitting mid pack and may inherit the lead turning for home as the speed starts to back up.

Wagering
WIN: #2 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 2,7 / 2,4,7,8
TRI: 2,7 / 2,4,7,8 / 1,2,4,7,8

Today's Featured Race of the Day from Keeneland:

KEE Race 9 The Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup G1 (5:21 ET)
2 Tannery 10-1
8 Dayatthespa 3-1
7 Samitar 7-2
5 Stephanie's Kitten 5-2


Analysis: Tannery figures to offer some value here in a race where it is impossible toss any of the eight fillies in here. Our top pick made a good late rally to finish third in the Garden City (G1) in her U.S. debut, beaten 1 3/4 lengths for the top spot. She won the Kilboy Estate Stakes (G3) over soft footing in her last start overseas, her fourth win in five starts. In her starts overseas she was not as far back as she was last out and with Elvis up and the two post she should get a good tracking trip sitting just off the leaders. She looks capable of moving forward off her last effort and will be a decent price in this spot.

Dayatthespa has won five of seven career starts and is coming in off a sharp win in the Riskaverse at the Spa in her last outing. The runner up in that race was Peace Preserver, who came back to win the Pebbles in her next start by 6 1/2 lengths on Oct. 8. The filly has shown an ability to win going gate to wire, sitting just off the pace, or like in the Sweet Chant at Gulfstream Park back in January she rallied from a dozen lengths back to score. She figures to move forward in her second start off a 4 1/2 month break for the Brown barn that is 27% winners with runners making their second start off a 61-1880 day layoff.

Samitar was beaten just a neck two back in her U.S. debut in the Lake George (G2) and then was handed over to the Brown barn. She came back to win the Garden City in a game effort over Somali Lemonade and Tannery, who both show up here again. The filly is a Group 1 winner, taking down the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh back in May. She fits well here and just needs to avoid a regression off the pair of hard fought efforts she has put in since arriving in the U.S.

Wagering
WIN: #2 to win at 6-1 or better.
EX: 2,8 / 2,5,7,8
TRI: 2,8 / 2,5,7,8 / 2,4,5,7,8

Live Longshots:
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.

Belmont Park
R1: #4 Promised Destiny 10-1
R1: #9 Magic Harbor 8-1
R2: #1 Sparks Will Fly 15-1
R4: #2 Freudian Therapist 10-1
R5: #1 Summer Sands / 1a Long River 8-1
R5: #6 Bold Dance 10-1
R6: #3 Cybertron 12-1
R6: #8 Greeley's Law 12-1
R7: #8 Martita Sangrita 12-1
R9: #5 Tune Me In 10-1
R10: #1 Louie Mondello 8-1

Good luck today!

  
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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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