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At the Gate - Wednesday

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The wagering week kicks off with a little added incentive to fire up the wagering account as there is a $248,140 Pick 6 carryover at Belmont Park after the wager went unsolved over the weekend.
 
The weather looks good and the pool may top $1 million by the time the fourth race goes off at 2:38 ET.
 
At first glance the six race sequence is not nearly as challenging as many recent cards, and the first two races could be telling.
 
The fourth race features 7-5 morning line favorite Cay to Pomeroy and the favorite in the fifth race is Crackerjack Jones, who is listed at 3-5 in a field of eight.
 
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I have a tough time backing chalk in New York bred races, and neither of the chalks are my top picks in those races. If we can beat at least one of them it will make things interesting as the day goes on.
 
If both win it could be the start of a chalky afternoon as I had a tough time coming up with many live longshots. My list below includes just four during the six races, and only one of them is my top pick.
 
While I am pretty sure we are going to have quite a few of us with winning tickets, sharing a $1 million pot is a good way to spend a Wednesday afternoon.
 
Click here to purchase my full card report for Belmont Park for Wednesday.
 
Here is today’s opening from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
 
BEL Race 1 OClm $62,500N2X (1:05 ET)
6 Puzzling   4-1
1 Scenario Analysis   5-2
5 Stanwyck   7-2
2 Assateague   3-1
 
Analysis: Puzzling stalked a moderate early pace, came with a four wide rally and picked it up late in a runner up finish last out over yielding footing. Two back at Gulfstream Park this gal was outrun in the early going and came with a good late rally to just miss, coming up a neck shy of the top spot. The Shug runner just needs to see some pace to run at here.
 
Scenario Analysis returns off a 2 1/2 month break after checking in fifth last out at Tampa Bay Downs in the Florida bred Distaff Turf, beaten 1 3/4 lengths for the top spot. Two back this gal beat Alw-1 optional claimers at Gulfstream Park and is a four time winner on turf. She fits well in this spot and the Brown barn is 29% winners (with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a 46-90 day break.
 
Wagering
WIN: #6 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 1,6 / 1,2,5,6
TRI: 1,6 / 1,2,5,6 / 1,2,3,5,6
 
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
 
BEL Race 8 The Lion Cavern (4:45 ET)
3 Strapping Groom   5-1
6 Hardened Wildcat   2-1
2 Big Business   5-2
4 Smash   4-1
 
Analysis: Strapping Groom is one of two in here sent out by the David Jacobson barn and among the top three is likely going to offer the best value for the top spot. The six-year-old missed by just a head last out in a game effort against $35,000 non-winners of three or a race since Jan. 1. The outing was his first go off an 11 month layoff and the new barn is 26% winners first off the claim and is coming off a big weekend where the barn won five races. This guy is a two-time winner over the main track here and while he is stepping into a tougher spot here he is the main speed as the rest of the field likes to sit off the pace. If he is able to shake loose early he is a danger to take this group gate to wire.
 
Hardened Wildcat made a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot last out in the Maryland Sprint Handicap (G3) at Pimlico on the Preakness Day card. Two back he beat Alw-3 optional claimers off a 4 ½ month break. He won three of seven starts last year and mixed it up in graded stakes, running second in the Bay Shore (G2) behind Trinniberg. He showed two back in his career top effort he can be closer to the pace than he was last out when he was a dozen lengths back. Castellano will need to keep this guy closer here.
 
Big Business is the second runner in here sent out by Jacobson. The gelding is coming off back to back wins and has landed in the exacta in 11 straight starts. He is perfect in four starts over the Belmont Park main track. The runner he beat last out was N.F.’s Destiny, who came back with a 97 Beyer in a runner up finish against Alw-2 optional claimers last Saturday, beaten a neck.  He looks as if he is sitting on a good one here in his third start of his current form cycle, but his price may end up on the light side.
 
Wagering
WIN: #3 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 3,6 / 2,3,6
TRI: no play
 
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: #4 Shkspeare Shaliyah   10-1
R3: #9 Fluent  15-1
R4: #4 Silent Thunder   12-1
R5: #6 Sunnysider   8-1
R6: #6 Centrina   10-1
R9: #5 Double O One   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.
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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