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At the Gate - Friday

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Betfair Hollywood Park announced yesterday that they will not seek racing days in 2014, and the track will close at the end of the year.  The summer meeting ends on July 14, and then the fall meeting will run from Nov. 7 through Dec. 22.
 
Track president Jack Liebau notified employees at Hollywood Park through a letter.
 
“Ownership has been upfront from the beginning that the property would eventually be developed unless there were significant changes in the horse racing business,’’ said Liebau. “Despite the Hollywood Park Land Company financially supporting two statewide initiatives with varying degrees of support from other segments of the racing industry, the attempts to upgrade the business model were not successful.
 
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"From an economic point of view, the land now simply has a higher and better use. Unfortunately, racing will not continue here once the 2013 autumn meet is completed. Sadly, for we who love racing and Hollywood Park, it was simply a matter of time.”
 
There is a ton of history since the track opened for racing in 1938, and many of the most popular horse in history raced over the track including Seabiscuit, Seattle Slew, John Henry, Citation, Affirmed, Cigar and of course Zenyatta.
 
There is long history of hall of fame jockeys that called Hollywood Park home including Laffit Pincay Jr. and Bill Shoemaker.
 
The very first Breeders’ Cup was held at the track in 1984 and returned in 1987 and 1997.
 
It was inevitable that the land might someday be redeveloped, but it still came as a bit of a surprise now that it is a reality. Hopefully it will be a wakeup call for the brain trust of California including the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) and Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC).
 
Racing has gone downhill in California while takeout has risen for horseplayers, some who started a boycott a couple of years ago.
 
Since the last round of takeout hikes a couple of years ago I rarely wager on California racing.
 
Click here to purchase my full card report for Belmont Park for Friday.
 
Purchase my Monthly Package and receive an entire month of Belmont Park action, my Saturday Churchill Downs Reports, my weekend Best Plays Reports, and my Preakness and Belmont Stakes Day Reports.
 
Here is today’s opening from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
 
BEL Race 1 Alw $50,000s (1:05 ET)
7 Snow Trillium   5-1
1 Bobby Jo   2-1
2 Midnight Rider   5-1
5 Pegasus Diamond   5-1
 
Analysis: Snow Trillium ships in from Philly for the 'Lupe barn where last out the filly stalked the early pace and made a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot. The winner of that race was Quality Lass, won of three runners to come out of the race to win next out. She beat Alw-2 optional claimers on turf at Pimlico on May 5. If the track is still wet that would be a plus as she is bred top and bottom to handle the off going and she is making her second start off a seven month layoff.  I think her 5-1 morning line is going to be much lighter.
 
Bobby Jo tracked the early pacesetter and could not get by the gate to wire winner, who as taking full advantage of a racing strip that was playing to inside speed. The third place finisher in the race was Elusive Jozi, who came back to beat restricted $15,000 claimers in her next start on May 1 here. She earned a career top and has the top last out speed fig. She fits here for the Brown barn that claimed her two back for $15,000.
 
Wagering
WIN: #7 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,7 / 1,2,5,7
TRI: 1,7 / 1,2,5,7 / 1,2,4,5,7
 
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
 
BEL Race 7 Md $20,000 (4:13 ET)
3 Fluent   5-2
7 Right Now   8-1
12 Dapper Draper   3-1
13 Taylor Jagger    6-1
 
Analysis: Fluent is in from Keeneland where last out the gelding came with a good four wide rally to finish in the runner up spot for a $20,00 tag in his first start off the claim by the Maker barn. The gelding was making his first start off a three month break, taken back in January for $35,000 from the Dutrow barn. He figures to move forward second off the bench and second for a hot barn that does good work with recent claims. The gelding has some pedigree for a wet track, by Giant's Causeway out of a stakes placed Dynaformer mare.
 
Right Now came with a good late run up the inside to check in second last out at Oaklawn Park against $12,500 maiden claimers. He came up short in five tries in Hot Springs but has been gradually getting better and looks like a good fit here. He will look a bit more attractive if the track comes up wet. He is by Tiznow out of the stakes winner Bond Queen ($110,430).
 
Wagering
WIN: #3 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 3,7 / 3,7,12,13
TRI: 3,7 / 3,7,12,13 / 3,7,9,12,13
 
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
R2: #2 Cotton Pickin   10-1
R7: #7 Right Now   8-1
R8: #2 Whatabouthonor   8-1
 
Good luck today!

  
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  HORSE RACING EXPERT
  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.
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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