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At the Gate - Thursday

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We had an extra day off this week with Belmont Park closed on Wednesday and we are back in action in what is the final few days of the meeting.
 
The final day of the Belmont Park meeting is Sunday, and then we have a four day hiatus until the opening of the Saratoga meeting, which gets underway on Friday July 19 and runs until Labor Day.
 
On Saturday we have the final graded stake race of the meeting with the $600,000 Man o’ War (G1) a 1 3/8 mile turf event that drew a field of eight.
 
Last year’s winner Point of Entry was being pointed toward the race, but he is now on the sidelines with an injury, but trainer Shug McGaughey has a very suitable replacement with Boisterous, who is the 9-5 morning line favorite.
 
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The six-year-old has won 10 of 20 starts on grass but has not won a Grade 1 race to date. His last start came in a victory in the Monmouth (G2). He is no stranger to the Belmont Park turf, winning five of eight, with the last coming last fall in the Knickerbocker (G3) at 1 1/8 miles.
 
His biggest threat will come from Optimizer, the D. Wayne Lukas trainee making his first start since running a good second to Point of Entry in the Manhattan (G1) over a yielding turf course here on June 8.
 
Finnegan’s Wake (10-1) and Twilight Eclipse (9-2) checked in fourth and fifth respectively in the Manhattan and will try to turn the tables on the favorite.
 
There is plenty of other stakes action I will cover in Saturday’s Best Plays Report including the $500,000 Virginia Derby (G2) from Colonial Downs and the $350,000 American Oaks (G1) from Hollywood Park.
 
Click here to purchase my full card report for Belmont Park for Thursday.
 
Here is today’s opening race from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
 
BEL Race 1 Clm $20,000B (1:05 ET)
6 Shertzer   6-1
7 August Osage    5-2
1 Road Agent / 1a North Ocean   8-5
3 Cash Your Ticket   8-1
 
Analysis: Shertzer stalked the early pace from the rail and finished evenly in a fourth place finish last out against Alw-1 foes on turf going 1 1/4 miles. The gelding has done his best work on dirt and three back here on the main track was a decent third versus similar company for a $30,000 tag in his first go off the claim by the Barbara barn. If he runs back to that effort that would make him competitive here at a decent price.
 
August Orage prompted the early pace, battled for the lead and did not have enough left late, weakening to finish third against $30,000 non-winners of two or three year olds in his first go off a 14 month layoff. The gelding ran well two back at a mile versus Alw-1 foes going a mile at the Big A and should be tighter second off the bench. The RRod barn has been on the chilly side, winning at just a 9% clip in the Big Apple the past three months.
 
Wagering
WIN: #6 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 6,7 / 1,3,6,7
TRI: 6,7 / 1,3,6,7 / 1,2,3,6,7
 
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
 
BEL Race 8 OClm $65,000SAL (4:45 ET)
3 Alternative Meds   8-1
1 Win for Kitten   5-2
5 Garmentos Girl   7-2
6 Datts Da Boss    5-1
 
Analysis: Alternative Meds exits a stake where the filly stalked the early pace and had no punch left in the stretch, weakening to finish sixth. The filly was coming back off back to back wins, both in photos and looked like she might have been ready for a regression. The cut back in distance will suit as will the easier spot here and she showed two back beating state bed Alw-1 foes that she can handle yielding turf and there is some rain in the forecast this week. The runner up in that race was Roses for Romney, who came back to beat state bred Alw-1 foes in her next outing and then ran third in the state bred Eventail on July 4. She figures to bounce back here with a better effort for the Duggan barn that has been sending out live runners at the meet.
 
Win for Kitten is coming off a good effort in a runner up finish at this level last out off a two month break, beaten 3/4 of a length for the top spot as the beaten favorite. She beat winners three back taking a $50,000 starter optional claimer at Gulfstream Park in her first go against winners. She fits well here for the Clement barn and she still looks as if she has some upside.
 
Wagering
WIN: #3 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 1,3 / 1,3,5,6
TRI: 1,3 / 1,3,5,6 / 1,2,3,5,6
 
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
R1: #3 Cash Your Ticket   8-1
R5: #2 Guyana Princess   12-1
R6: #5 Rufus Ruth   10-1
R6: #8 Bunhead   8-1
R7: #1 Terminus   20-1
R8: #3 Alternative Meds   8-1
R9: #5 Poster Girl   15-1
R9: #10 Glenwood Pines   15-1
 
Good luck today!

  
HEADLINES
Associate wins Belmont feature
Songforjohnmichael wins S.A.feature
Stevens to return in Breeders' Cup
Encryption wins Belmont feature
Scooter Bird wins Santa Anita feature
Kent Desormeaux to resume riding
Love and Marriage wins Belmont feature
BC Classic draws crowded field
Breeders' Cup entries posted
MORE HEADLINES
 
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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.
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