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At the Gate - Friday

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We have a 3:00 ET post time for the final Friday of the Belmont Park spring/summer meeting and after a forecast that called for 70% chance of rain it looks as if we will be in good shape by this afternoon.
 
Belmont Park closes on Sunday and we will be back in action next Friday for Opening Day at Saratoga for their 40-day meeting. The Spa will run six days a week with Tuesday a dark day.
 
The final graded stake at Belmont Park will be Saturday’s $500,000 Man o’ War (G1), a 1 3/8 mile turf event that drew a field of eight.
 
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There is plenty of stakes action throughout the U.S. on Saturday and my Best Plays Report will include the stakes action from Colonial Downs, which features their biggest race of the meeting, the $500,000 Virginia Derby (G2).
 
The race drew 10 and in the short history of the race it has been won by some outstanding turf runners including Kitten’s Joy, English Channel, and Gio Ponti. Kitten’s Joy won the race in 2004 and three of his sons will be competing in the 16th renewal of the race.
 
There are four supporting stakes on the card including the $150,000 Virginia Oaks (G3). Post time for the opener is 5:00 ET and the Virginia Derby is slated to go to post at 8:12 ET.
 
Click here to purchase my full card report for Belmont Park for Friday.
 
Here is today’s opening race from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
 
BEL Race 1 Md $50,000 (3:00 ET)
4 Ruthie Blue Eyes    3-1
3 Galway   8-1
6 Giftie Gie   12-1
2 Judy G   7-2
 
Analysis: Ruthie Blue Eyes drops in for a tag for the first time here in her fifth career start and second off a 7 1/2 month layoff. The filly gets a jock upgrade here to Rosario and she faces easier here on the class drop. She is out of the stakes winner Halo America ($1.4 million) who has dropped five winners including a pair of turf winners and two of her foals are stakes winners, top earner Marino Marini ($294,398).
 
Galway made a mild late rally to finish fourth last out in her debut for a $25,000 tag going six furlongs on turf. She was claimed out of the race by the Jacobson barn that is 27% winners (with a +ROI) first off the claim. The filly has plenty of pedigree to handle the stretch out to a mile. She is by More Than Ready out of a Giant's Causeway mare. The barn is 20% winners moving runners from sprint to route.
 
Wagering
WIN: #4 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 3,4 / 2,3,4,6
TRI: 3,4 / 2,3,4,6 / 2,3,4,6,7
 
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
 
BEL Race 8 OClm $62,500N2X (6:36 ET)
2 Sayaad   3-1
4 Magical Season   5-2
3 Blingo   7-2
1 Mia Poppy   6-1
 
Analysis: Sayaad stumbled badly coming out of the gate and bumped a foe, tracked the early pace form the inside saving ground and finished evenly for fifth last out in the Hill Prince (G3). The colt passed his first allowance condition on the fake stuff two back at Keeneland going six furlongs and did break his maiden over the grass here last September. He gets as jock upgrade to Lezcano and is a half to dirt stakes winner Coronet of a Baron ($357,124).
 
Magical Season tracked the early pace and came up short in the stretch in a third place finish against $25,000 starter optional claimers. The winner of the race was Longhunter, who came back to beat $20,000 starter optional claimers in his next outing on July 3. Two back our second choice ran third behind another repeat winner in Tightend Touchdown, who came back to win the Pa Governor's Cup and then run second in the Parx Dash 'Cap (G3) in his most recent outing. The Maker runner fits well in this spot with his best.
 
Wagering
WIN: #2 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 2,4 / 1,2,3,4
TRI: 2,4 / 1,2,3,4 / 1,2,3,4,7
 
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
R1: #3 Galway   8-1
R1: #6 Giftie Gie   12-1
R3: #6 Intermix   10-1
R3: #4 Selection Sunday   8-1
R4: #1 Scoria   10-1
 
Good luck today!

  
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