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At the Gate - Sunday
Forty Tales got home as my top pick to win Saturday night’s $175,000 Derby Trial for trainer Todd Pletcher (who else?), but the barn is already locked and loaded for Derby Day and has no intention of wheeling the colt back next Saturday.
The colt held off his late running stablemate Capo Bastone by a neck, returning $8.20 for the win and capping an all-Pletcher exacta that returned $43.20.
The colt was my fifth winner on top, but we got stung in the nightcap, as my top pick Mio d’Oro got nailed at the wire at 12-1, costing me a hefty daily double and Pick 3 ticket.
I am not going to sleep well tonight despite the 11-hour day playing the ponies.
Churchill Downs is dark on Sunday, but we have action from Belmont Park and I tossed in a few races from Pimlico in my Best Plays Report.
My Best Plays Report for Sunday features my eight strongest plays from Belmont Park and Pimlico, complete with my selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations.
Click here to purchase my full card report for Belmont Park for Sunday.
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Here is today’s opening from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BEL Race 1 Clm $20,000B (12:50 ET)
8 Poised to a Tee   5-1
1 Shotgun City / 1a Superiority   2-1
5 Induce   7-2
7 Coalition   6-1
Analysis: Poised to Tee ships in from Gulfstream Park where the gelding broke his maiden for a $12,500 tag two back and then took the field gate to wire to beat $20,000 non-winners of two or three year olds last out in his first trip against winners. The runner up in the race was Anillo, who came back to beat Alw-1 company in his next start at Calder while the runner up Cool Under Fire came back to run second against $40,000 claimers at Calder on April 7. The gelding owns solid early and mid pace numbers and he ran well over the main track here last fall in a head loss against $25,000 maidens.
Shotgun City comes in here sharp off back to back wins, last out beating $35,000 non-winners of three or a race since Oct. 11. The gelding has really run well since the Persaud claimed him for just $15,000 and he now has won 5 of his 10 career starts. Entrymate Superiority also has Cohen named to ride so only one will go. The gelding was a game winner last out against $12,500 non-winners of two or three year olds. The runner up Tycoon Cat beat restricted $30,000 foes in his next outing on April 26 here.
WIN: #8 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 1,8 / 1,5,7,8
TRI: 1,8 / 1,5,7,8 / 1,4,5,7,8
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Pimlico:
PIM Race 6 Alw $42,000N1X (3:48 ET)
5 Dress Up   7-2
4 Brenda's Way   5-2
6 Lady Repent   2-1
3 Gold On Gold   9-2
Analysis: Dress Up tracked the early pace from the outside and did not have enough punch left late in a fifth place finish last out against Alw-1 optional claimers in her first go against winners. She was a game maiden winner two back in her debut with the runner up in that race Orlyana Queen a next out grad against maiden special weight company on April 18 here. She is not facing a real tough group here as four of these have run for $7,500 or less in their career. She has more upside than the group and looks as if she may offer some value here if she goes off as the third choice.
Brenda's Way took the field gate to wire to beat $25,000 claimers last out earning a career top speed fig. She comes back here off a 3 1/2 month break for the Houghton barn that does good work with layoff types and with recent claims. She was taken two back for $16,000 where she won for fun, drawing off to win by eight lengths. She is the one to catch here and popped  a bullet work on April 17.
WIN: #5 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 4,5 / 4,5,6
TRI: no play
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 8 Clm $20,000B (4:27 ET)
1 She's Gosphel   6-1
9 Ballistic Sue   8-5
8 Kiki Chacer   5-1
3 Victoryat Last   12-1
Analysis: She's Gosphel won three in a row by a combined 18 3/4 lengths on the inner track, and then the wheels came off last out on the main track where she dueled for the early lead and faded to finish a well beaten seventh. Looking for her to bounce back here and she has two tries on turf in her career including a decent third last fall here over yielding footing. She has a couple of sibs that are grass winners and she should be a decent price in this spot.
Ballistic Sue makes her first start off a 7 1/2 month layoff for the Contessa barn that is 1 for his last 15 with runners coming back off a +180 day layoff. The barn claimed this gal for $25,000 last April and she won twice in four starts for the new connections including a head victory last out against Alw-1 optional claimers at Monmouth Park in a race washed off the grass. She won here on the turf last June in her first trip for the barn, beating Alw-1 optional claimers. She fits really well at this level for non-winners of three or a race on turf since Oct. 28. The main knock is going to be the light price.
WIN: #1 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 1,9 / 1,3,8,9
TRI: 1,9 / 1,3,8,9 / 1,3,6,8,9
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
R3: #5 Expression   8-1
R4: #4 Defiant   8-1
R5: #3 Spritely Mambo   8-1
R6: #8 Athenula   8-1
R7: #3 Midnight Monarch    12-1
R8: #3 Victoryat Last   12-1
R10: #9 Maggiesfreuddnslip   12-1
R10: #2 R Skinnys Chick   12-1
Good luck today!

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Mike Dempsey 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.
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.

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Jerry Sessa Jerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to 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.

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