It’s a doubleheader Saturday as Belmont Park opens for their 37-day Fall Championship meeting and then we have day two of the fall Churchill Downs meeting, with the “Downs After Dark” program getting underway at 6:00pm eastern.
The 37-day meeting at Belmont Park will feature 31 stakes, 21 of them graded along with 10 Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races.
The biggest day of the meeting will be “Super Saturday” on Sept. 28 which will feature six graded stakes, all Breeders’ Cup Challenge races. The marquee event with be the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) for the handicap division, with the winner earning an automatic starting berth in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.
There is a new horseplayer friendly wager, the early Pick 5, which has a reduced takeout of 15%. The wager with be on the first five races of the day. In addition on Saturday’s the Late Pick 4 will have a guaranteed pool of $300,000.
Churchill Downs will be running in September for the first time, racing Friday through Sunday from Sept. 6 to Sept. 29.
Tonight marks the first of two “Downs After Dark” programs and we have an outstanding 11-race betting card that features four stakes.
The juveniles take center stage tonight with a pair of Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races. The winner of the $150,000 Pocahontas (G2) and $150,000 Iroquois (G3) will each earn an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup this November at Santa Anita Park.
In addition to daily duty covering Belmont Park I will be providing my full card report each Saturday from Churchill Downs and my weekend Best Plays Report will include my strongest plays from under the Twin Spires.
Here is today’s opening race from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BEL Race 1 OClm $25,000N2X (1:05 ET) 7 Zivo 2-1 5 Smooth Bert 7-2 8 Jade Run 6-1 1 Go Get the Basil 5-1
Analysis: Zivo was bumped at the start after catching up in the gate, came with a five wide run and finished up well late to just come up a neck shy of catching the gate to wire winner. It was his first go off nearly a year on the bench. He broke his maiden over the main track here last June and then beat state bred Alw-1 foes at the Spa in his first go against winners. He does not need to move forward off that effort to get the job done here for the Chad Brown barn that is 30% winners (with a +ROI) with runners making their second start off a +180 day layoff.
Smooth Bert made a mild late rally after racing rank in the early stages last out in the state bred Albany. Two back at Finger Lake sin the slop he ran well in a runner up finish behind Amberjack. The third place finisher in that race was West Hills Giant, who came back to win a New York Stallion Series race in his next start thanks to a DQ. The cut back to a mile will suit this guy who has landed in the money in eight of his ten career starts.
WIN: #7 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 5,7 / 1,5,7,8
TRI: 5,7 / 1,5,7,8 / 1,4,5,7,8
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 8 The Bowling Green Hcp G2 (4:45 ET) 1 Boisterous 7-5 5 Farhaan 12-1 4 Hyper 5-2 6 Finnegan's Wake 4-1
Analysis: Boisterous won the Man o' War (G1) over the turf here back in July, his sixth win over the turf here in nine starts. That sent him to the Spa as the betting favorite in the Sword Dancer (G1)but after stalking the early pace he faded to finish a disappointing eighth. The cut back to 1 1/4 miles will suit as will the surface switch as this is his favorite turf course. The Shug McGaughey trainee runs consistent figures, his previous 14 starts he has earned a Beyer between 95 and 97 11 times. He had a good breeze over the turf here on Sept. 1 and fact Shug brings him back pretty quick looks like a good sign, as a good effort here takes him right to the Joe Hirsch Turf (G1) here at the end of the month.
Farhaan made a good late rally to get up and beat Alw-2 optional claimers in his U.S. debut. The effort was off a year layoff and he should move forward off that effort for the Kiaran McLaughlin barn that is 19% winners with runners making the second start off a +180 day layoff. He was not much of a threat in his two starts against Group 2 company as a juvenile and Group 3 foes last year, but he looks to have more upside potential than most of these. This race is void of any early speed and with this guy stretching out he looks to be the likely pacesetter. If he is able to get away with soft early fractions he may stick around late.
Hyper is coming off a sharp win in the restricted John's Call last out at the Spa going 1 5/8 miles on the turf. He put in a solid effort two back in a close up second in the Colonial Turf Cup (G2) behind 50-1 bomb London lane who also is in here. The six year old has not missed picking up a check in six starts since coming up short in a couple of tries overseas and has run well over the turf here, landing in the exacta in four of five trips.
WIN: #1 to win at 7-5 or better.
EX: 1,5 / 1,4,5
TRI: no play
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Churchill Downs:
CD Race 7 The Iroquois G3 (9:05 ET) 4 Tapiture 7-2 9 Ride On Curlin 5-2 3 Rise Up 5-1 7 Solemnly Swear 6-1
Analysis: Tapiture is still a maiden running a good second in his debut at the Spa. The colt pressed the gate to wire winner and could not get by in the stretch in a runner up finish, the top two racing against the bias which seemed to favorite outside stalkers and closers that day. The winner was Strong Mandate, who returned to win the Hopeful (G1) in his next outing at Saratoga on Swept. 2 by 9 1/4 lengths. The Steve Asmussen trainee has plenty of pedigree to handle the stretch out to two turns. He is by Tapit out of an Olympio mare that has dropped three winners including a pair of stakes winners, top earner Remit ($237,556). The barn is 19% winners moving runners from sprint to route.
Ride On Curlin was a good second in his debut after getting off a beat slow and then last out at Ellis Park he again was off a step slow but it did not matter. The colt jumped to the early lead and took the field gate to wire despite drifting outward on the far turn. The colt was 7 3/4 lengths clear of the runner up Union Hall, who came back to graduate in his next outing on Aug. 17 at Remington Park. The colt comes in here with the top last out speed fig and pedigree wise should be able to handle the stretch out. He is by Curlin out of the stakes placed Magical Ride ($102,738) who won both of her starts in sprints.
WIN: #4 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 4,9 / 3,4,7,9
TRI: 4,9 / 3,4,7,9 / 2,3,4,7,9
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.
Mike DempseyMike 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. No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track! Mike's Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card. Join Mike daily with top picks from Aqueduct or Gulfstream Park. You can also get his Weekend Best Plays Report in his Multi-Track package or sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
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Jerry SessaJerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to VegasInsider.com. 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. Join Jerry daily with picks from
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