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At the Gate - Thursday
Thursday’s card at Saratoga features a $273,760 Pick 6 carryover after several longshots landed on Wednesday’s card.
Blue Pigeon broke his maiden in his debut in the fifth race and paid $44.80. The gelding was sent out by Christophe Clement and it was a turf race, so how the heck did that guy go off at 21-1? The gelding was my third choice in the race.
In the ninth race, Image of Disco ($31.20) took the field gate to wire to beat state bred optional claimers as my top pick.
As they headed for home the colt had about a two length lead and the betting favorite Sneaky Kitten, my second choice, was coming to get the longshot. At that point I was just hoping Image of Disco would be able to hold on for the runner up spot, but as we have seen more than a few times at the meeting speed carried over the turf and the longshot held off the favorite in deep stretch to win by a neck.
The ice cold exacta paid a hefty $182.50.
Saturday’s $750,000 Woodward (G1) lost a major contender as last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) champion Fort Larned will scratch according to his trainer Ian Wilkes.
Wilkes was not happy after a gallop this morning and said the five-year-old has a hind end issue and will skip the Woodward and point toward the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park on Sept. 28.
That still leaves an outstanding field that includes Ron the Greek, Successful Dan, Flat Out, Paynter, Mucho Macho Man and Alpha.
The Woodward is one of three graded stakes on Saturday’s card at the Spa. The $250,000 Bernard Baruch (G2) drew a field of seven that will go 1 1/16 miles on turf and nine will go in the $500,000 Forego (G1).
Michael Dempsey’s Monthly Package is available for only $99.95. The package includes his full card reports for Saratoga and after Labor Day Belmont Park along with his weekend Best Plays Report.
Click here to purchase my full card report for Saratoga for Thursday.
Here is today’s third race (the first two races are steeplechase) from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:
SAR Race 3 Clm $32,000 (2:02 ET)
3 Little Rocket   5-2
1 Keep Bustin / 1a She's Stones Sis   3-1
5 Fiftyfour Forever   6-1
2 Lenders Way / 2b Haldane   4-1
Analysis: Little Rocket is back with state breds after checking in fifth last out in the Prioress (G1). Two back at this level the filly was outrun in the early going after breaking a beat slow while avoiding a foe, altered course turning for home toward the outside and finished up well in a tough beat. The effort was his first go off a six month layoff. She is going to be tough here in her third start off the bench.
Keep Bustin caught a muddy track last out, stalked the early pace, took over the lead and was caught late, settling for the runner up spot, beaten a half-length for the top spot. She looks like the stronger half of the entry and Johnny V. is listed on both so only one will go.
WIN: #3 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 1,3 / 1,2,3,5
TRI: 1,3 / 1,2,3,5 / 1,2,3,5,8
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:
SAR Race 10 The With Anticipation G2 (5:43 ET)
6 Base Case Scenario   5-1
2 River Dancer   12-1
3 Tiger Bourbon   3-1
8 General Jack   5-2
Analysis: Base Case Scenario makes his third career start and is coming off a game maiden win at today's distance in his first trip on turf. The colt stalked the early pace, came with a four wide run and battled on gamely to win by a head. The third and sixth place finisher in the race both came back to graduate in their next starts. The $200,000 Keeneland purchase is out of the stakes placed Mamboalot ($53,095) who also dropped graded stakes placed Alydarla ($150,650).  He is battle tested and should get a solid pace to run at in this spot.
River Dancer pulled off a 30-1 shocker in his debut for the low profile Cannizzo barn. The colt was off last and came eight wide with his run and inhaled the field to go on and win by a length, a good looking effort for a debut runner. The colt has enough pedigree to handle the stretch out to two turns and is going to get overlooked on the tote in here with Pletcher and Maker having runners in here. The colt is a half to multiple dirt stakes winner Big Apple Daddy ($458,483).
Tiger Bourbon stretches out to two turns after a good looking maiden win in his debut going six furlongs on the Belmont turf. He beat General Jack in that outing, that runner coming back to win the Shakopee Juvenile at Canterbury in his next outing on Aug. 3. This colt is bred to go long, by Big Brown out of a stakes placed Tejano mare that has dropped six other winners including three other turf winners, top earner War Tigress ($171,293).
WIN: #6 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 2,6 / 2,3,6,8
TRI: 2,6 / 2,3,6,8 / 1,2,3,6,8
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.
R1: #6 Call Me Sonny   10-1
R1: #8 Bluegrass Summer   8-1
R5: #8 Downtownoscarbrown   8-1
R5: #5 Spiral Stair   10-1
R6: #11 Flashy in Pink   12-1
R6: #10 Queen Nine   12-1
R7: #1 Spartiatis   12-1
R8: #3 Believeinfaith   12-1
R10: #2 River Dancer   12-1
Good luck today!

Dempsey: At the Gate - Thursday Gronkowski receiving attention
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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.

Jerry looks forward to working with everyone and making money for anyone who invests in his picks on a daily basis.

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