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At the Gate - Thursday
The latest addition to the $1 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 8 is Giant Finish, who was tenth in the Kentucky Derby.
I thought the colt was the biggest toss-out in Kentucky Derby history when trainer Tony Dutrow did not even bother to show up to saddle him in the Derby.
It sounded like his owners wanted to run and he thought it was not exactly a good idea. He was quoted before the race stating, ““My clients wish to race and obviously I’m going to honor their decision.”
The colt finished tenth, ahead of more highly regarded runners like Verrazano, Itsmyluckyday, and Goldencents.
The Belmont field looks as if it is going to be large, possibly as many as 14 or 15 runners. The field is limited to 16. A large field would take some of the sting out of not having a Triple Crown bid up for grabs.
Well, maybe not for fans, but for us horseplayers, a large field will lead to an outstanding betting race.
There is still no definite word coming out of the Shug McGaughey barn on whether Kentucky Derby winner Orb will run after his disappointing fourth place finish in the Preakness.
The colt is stabled at Belmont Park and put in a strong gallop on Thursday, which pleased McGaughey. The trainer told the Daily Racing Form, “If everything’s right, he’s doing right, puts his weight back on, his energy level’s good, we would like to run in the Belmont. If we hit any stumbling block along the way there are plenty of other good opportunities.”
Don’t forget we have racing all three days of the holiday weekend and I’ll preview Monday’s big day at Belmont Park which includes four graded stakes, later this weekend.
Click here to purchase my full card report for Belmont Park for Thursday.
Here is today’s opening from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BEL Race 1 Md $20,000 (1:05 ET)
4 Fu Peggi Sue   7-2
2 Belle Epoque   5-2
7 Sarah's Wild Girl   4-1
5 Classical Jet   5-1
Analysis: Fu Peggi Sue dropped in for a tag for the first time last out, was outrun in the early going while saving some ground and mounted a mild late rally to finish third, beaten 1 3/4 lengths for the top spot at 16-1. The filly caught a sloppy surface that was strongly favoring speed that day. She did not show much on the inner or in her turf try but seems to be able to handle the surface here, at least a wet one. She has four sibs that are winners including stakes winner Gold and Roses ($877,966).
Belle Epoque dueled for the early lead and weakened to finish fifth while beaten 1 1/2 lengths for the top spot. She took some play in her debut two back, sent off at 3-1 in a field of 10. She makes her second start off the claim by the DiPrima barn that took her for $16,000 in her debut. She still looks as if she has some upside.
WIN: #4 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 2,4 / 2,4,5,7
TRI: 2,4 / 2,4,5,7 / 2,3,4,5,7
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 8 OClm $35,000N2X (4:45 ET)
3 Sing Dixie Sing   5-1
6 Jitney   5-2
5 Sus Annmaries Gold   2-1
7 Easy Ending   5-1
Analysis: Sing Dixie Sing set the early fractions and weakened in the final furlong to check in third last out against $50,000 starter optional claimers. The filly won at this condition two back and today makes her first start for the Jacobson barn that is 25% winners first off the claim. The filly makes her second start off a three month break and returns to the state bred ranks here.
Jitney makes her first start since December for the Hertler barn that is showing a 1 for 14 mark with runners coming back off a 61-180 day layoff. In her last out she carved out the early fractions and could not match strides late with the winner in a runner up finish at this level. Two back she ran a good second in the state bred Lottsa Talc behind repeat winner Miss Valentine, who won the state bred No Reason in her next outing on May 10. She has a couple of decent looking works on the morning tab and Rosario takes the call.
WIN: #3 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 3,6 / 3,5,6,7
TRI: 3,6 / 3,5,6,7 / 3,4,5,6,7
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
R4: #8 Heated Exchange   8-1
Good luck today!

Dempsey: At the Gate - Saturday
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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.

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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.

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