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At the Gate - Thursday
We have a good 10-race betting card at Belmont Park to wager on today before we fire up the grill, with a trio of stakes highlighted by the $150,000 Poker (G3).
The turf course was labeled as “good” on Wednesday although three of the races were moved over to the main track. The weather is on the improve, and there is just a slight chance of showers this afternoon.
The stakes action starts on Thursday with the fourth race, the $100,000 Eventail for state bred three year old fillies that drew a field of nine.
The Christophe Clement trainee Discreet Marq is the one to beat coming off a victory in the Sands Point (G2) on May 27.
The eighth race on the card is the $100,000 Fairy Garden for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf.  The race drew eight but Dinner’s Out likely scratches after running at Parx on July 2.
The Chad Brown trained Samitar is the 9-5 morning line favorite. The filly is winless in four starts since winning the Garden City (G1) last September at Belmont Park in her second start since arriving in the U.S.
Coming up on Saturday we have a couple of graded stakes at Belmont Park, the $350,000 Suburban (G2) and the $200,000 Dwyer (G2) which both drew small fields.
The Suburban drew five including Flat Out, the even money favorite for the Bill Mott barn. Pimlico Special (G3) winner Last Gunfighter is the second choice at 2-1, and Alpha (5-1) will be seeking his first win since finishing in a deadheat in last summer’s Travers (G1).
For Saturday we will also take a look at Calder, which features four graded stakes as part of the Summit of Speed card.
Click here to purchase my full card report for Belmont Park for Wednesday.
Here is today’s opening race from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BEL Race 1 OClm $14,000N1X (1:05 ET)
6 Soul House   7-2
7 Escapefromreality   7-5
1 Leilani's Ticket / 1a Marriedtothemusic   3-1
3 Iron Power   6-1
Analysis: Soul House exits the state bred Mike Lee where the colt stalked the early pace, came up the inside on the far turn and finished evenly in a fourth place finish, beaten five lengths for the top spot. The runner up in the race was Weekend Hideaway, who came back to win the Gone Fishin on June 28 while the fifth place finisher West Hills Giant came back to win the NY Stallion Series Spectacular Bid in his next start on June 30. The colt looks primed for a good effort here in his third start off the bench and will appreciate the return to the Alw-1 ranks.
Escapefromreality is back with state breds for his first go off a four month layoff for the Schettino barn that is just 5% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180 day layoff. This guy was beaten just a neck to Revolutionary in the Withers (G3) back in February and hit the sidelines after fading to finish ninth in the Gotham (G3) where he had a rough trip. He fits well here with his best but his price is going to be on the light side.
WIN: #6 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 6,7 / 1,3,6,7
TRI: 6,7 / 1,3,6,7 / 1,3,6,7,8
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 9 The Poker (G3) (5:17 ET)
4 Data Link   6-5
7 Howe Great   6-1
5 Lubash   5-1
1 Upgrade   10-1
Analysis: Data Link was a solid second last out in the Makers 46 (G1) at Keeneland, beaten a length by Wise Dan, who came back to win the Firecracker Handicap (G2) in his next start last Saturday night at Churchill Downs. The fourth place finisher Skyring also won next out, taking the Dixie (G2) in his next outing on May 18 at Pimlico. He won the Canadian Turf (G3) and Citation (G3) in his two previous starts. He gets class relief here dropping into a Grade 3 and is going to be very tough to beat here as the chalk.
Howe Great was fourth in the Dixie and I thought he had a shot of winning that race at 8-1. The colt came with a good four wide bid to get into the mix but did not have enough punch left in the stretch. He makes his first start here for Richard Mettee, who takes over from Graham Motion for Team Valor. He should get a good trip sitting just off what likely is going to be a sharp early pace.
WIN: #4 to win at 1-1 or better.
EX: 4,7 / 1,4,5,7
TRI: 4,7 / 1,4,5,7 / 1,2,4,5,7
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
R2: #1 Souper Lucky / 1a Kingofgoldstreet   8-1
R4: #6 Moonlit Sonnet   8-1
R7: #5 Princess Millie   10-1
R9: #1 Upgrade   10-1
R10: #8 Torment   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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