Belmont Park kicks off at the usual time of 1:05 ET today and will conclude just in time for the opener at Churchill Downs at 6:00 ET. The final race under the Twin Spires tonight is 11:10 ET.
The Downs After Dark program at Churchill Downs has become very popular, and tonight’s card is one of the best the track has put together under the lights. There are five stakes on the card including the $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (G1).
The race only drew six runners, but we have the last two winners of the race, as well as last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, Florida Derby, and Travers winners.
Earlier in the card we will see Royal Delta, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic in action in the $175,000 Fleur De Lis (G2). The Bill Mott trainee makes her first start since another disappointing run in the Dubai World Cup against the boys back in March.
She was 10th in this year’s running of the world’s richest race after checking in ninth last year. She came back from Dubai last spring and won the Fleur De Lis, and there is not much standing in her way for a repeat this year. She only has four foes to beat.
While that race is not a very good betting affair, a couple of the other stakes on the card are. A competitive field of 11 three-year-olds will line up in the $100,000 Matt Winn, and $100,000 Regret for three-year-old fillies and the turf also drew a field of 11.
Things are looking up at Belmont Park for Saturday’s card. We are back on the turf which is labeled as good and the main track is fast.
Analysis: Unprecedented tracked the early pace and weakened to finish fifth last out going seven furlongs. Two back this guy made a good late rally to finish third, beaten a length for the top spot. The stretch out will suit and the 10-1 morning line looks fair enough to give this guy a look.
Chardsey stumbled coming out of the gate, came with a five wide run and made a mild late rally to finish fourth last out. Two back he ran a game second behind repeat winner Yo Blue, who came back to beat restricted $35,000 foes in his next outing on May 23. The gelding comes in here off a career top but does have a habit of landing for minor share and the barn has done much the same at this meeting, a tough luck 2 for 31 with seven runner up finishes.
WIN: #2 to win at 6-1 or better.
EX: 2,7 / 2,7,8,11
TRI: 2,7 / 2,7,8,11 / 2,7,8,10,11
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 8 The Hill Prince G3 (4:45 ET) 9 Red Rifle 6-1 11 Shining Copper 5-1 2 Infinite Magic 7-2 6 Joha 8-1
Analysis: Red Rifle tries turf for the first time here after breaking his maiden on dirt at Gulfstream Park and then beating Alw-1 foes on poly at Keeneland in his last outing. The runner up in his last race was Pyrite Mountain, who came back to win the Wando in his next outing on May 5. This guy looks like he has some talent and has a solid enough turf pedigree. He is by Giant's Causeway out of the turf stakes winner May Night ($355,568).
Shining Copper is coming off a solid runner up finish in the James Murphy at Pimlico on Preakness Day, beaten a length for the top spot by Redwood Kitten. He just held on two back to beat Alw-1 optional claimers and capped off his juvenile campaign with a decent third in the Generous (G3) going a mile on turf at Hollywood Park.
WIN: #9 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 9,11 / 2,6,9,11
TRI: 9,11 / 2,6,9,11 / 2,6,8,9,11
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Churchill Downs:
CD Race 8 The Stephen Foster Hcp G1 (9:39 ET) 2 Fort Larned 3-1 4 Take Charge Indy 5-2 3 Ron the Greek 3-1 6 Successful Dan 2-1
Analysis: Fort Larned gets the call in a very competitive renewal of the Stephen Foster that includes the winners of the last two runnings of the race. Last year our top pick won five of nine starts including capping off the season by winning the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1). Things have not gone well so far this year, stumbling out of the gate and dumping his jockey in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) in his '13 debut as the beaten chalk. He actually looked pretty good without his jockey drawing away from the field around the far turn. He went into the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) as the heavy favorite and looked primed for a good effort and was my top pick, but he misfired and faded to finish a well beaten fifth. I do not think he liked the surface and I am looking for him to bounce back here with a much better effort. He ran eighth in this race last year, the lone time in his last seven starts last year he did not earn a triple digit Beyer.
Take Charge Indy won for the first time last out since taking the Florid Derby (G1) last March, snapping a five race losing streak with a career best effort winning the Alysheba (G2) over the main track here. Two runners have come out of the race to win next outing including fourth place finisher Laugh Track, who came back to win the Vigil (G3) at Woodbine on June 2. The well bred colt (out of $2.4 million earner Take Charge Indy who also dropped Will Take Charge) looks as if he has matured between his three year old season and this year and looks as if he is going to be a major force in the handicap division this year.
Ron the Greek is the defending champ in this race, making a good late rally to get up late and pull off the upset at 9-1 over Wise Dan, who went on to win Horse of the Year honors. Last out he was bumped and pinched back coming out of the gate in the Charles Town Classic (G2) and made a good late rally over the tight turns to finish a close up third, beaten a half-length by Game On Dude and losing the photo for the place spot to Clubhouse Ride, who came back to win the Californian (G2) in his next outing. Fourth place finisher Percussion also exited the race to win next out, taking the Albert the Great and then running second in the Brooklyn (G2).
WIN: #2 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 2,4 / 2,3,4
TRI: 2 / 3,4,6 / 3,4,6
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.
R1: #2 Unprecedented 10-1
R1: #8 Impetuous Spirit 10-1
R5: #10 Celebrated Talent 10-1
R7: #5 Bustin Chops 8-1
R8: #6 Joha 8-1
R9: #6 Yo Blue 8-1
R10: #5 Song of Aspen 10-1
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 daily with top picks from Belmont or Keeneland. 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.
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