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At the Gate - Friday

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Entries for the weekend stakes races came out yesterday and we have quite a few outstanding races to look forward to including four Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races from Woodbine.
 
The headliner is 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan, who is the 2-5 morning line favorite for Sunday’s $1 million Woodbine Mile (G1).
 
The gelding comes into the race riding an eight race winning streak, and had it not been for a head loss in the Stephen Foster (G1) last June at Churchill Downs this guy would be coming into the race having won a dozen straight races.
 
Trainer Charles LoPresti has been getting some criticism for taking the same route as the gelding took last year and not coming out of his comfort zone, which is mile races on the grass.
 
The gelding is perfect in four starts this year and has earned $922,432 and is going to be the overwhelming favorite to take down another $600,000 on Sunday.
 
I have a tough time blaming his connections for heading down the same road as last year, with the final goal another win in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).
 
While the Woodbine Mile may not be a great betting race, we have a couple of wide open juvenile races on Saturday.
 
The winners of the $200,000 Natalma (G2) for two-year-old fillies and the $200,000 Summer (G2) for  juveniles will earn starts in the Breeders’ Cup.
 
I will include the stakes action from Woodbine in my Best Plays Report this weekend.
 
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Coming up on Saturday at Belmont Park we have a pair of graded stakes for the ladies. The $200,000 Noble Damsel (G3) drew a field of six that will go a mile on turf followed by the $500,000 Garden City (G1) for three-year-old fillies going nine furlongs.
 
The Garden City drew a field of 11 led by the Bill Mott trained Emollient, who is coming off a good looking turf debut where she won the American Oaks (G1) at Hollywood Park. Her main rival figures to be Del Mar Oaks (G1) victor Discreet Marq, but I have my eye on a longshot in the race. We’ll take a good look at the race in tomorrow’s column.
 
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 OClm $25,000N1X (1:05 ET)
3 Decisive Move   5-2
5 Jess Not Jesse   3-1
8 Image of Disco   7-2
1 Spiral Stair   8-1
 
Analysis: Decisive Move stalked the early pace and made a good late rally to get up late and beat Alw-1 optional claimers at the Spa. The runner up in the race was Channel Marker,. who came back to beat Alw-1 optional claimers in his next outing on Aug. 18 at the Spa. Our top pick has been claimed four times in his last six starts, today making his first start for the Jacobson barn that is 27% winners (with a +ROI) first off the claim.
 
Jess Not Jesse was a sharp winner last out against $50,000 starter optional claimers, his eighth win in 18 career starts. He has been nearly unbeatable on turf, winning 7 of 11 with a couple of sends and a third. He owns a solid pace profile throughout and two of his turf wins have come here. He is a logical player in this spot.
 
Wagering
WIN: #3 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 3,5 / 1,3,5,8
TRI: 3,5 / 1,3,5,8 / 1,2,3,5,8
 
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
 
BEL Race 7 Md Sp Wt (4:13 ET)
8 Tiz for Tat   5-2
3 Quinby Pete    6-1
5 Distorted Dream    3-1
1 Clever Story   4-1
 
Analysis: Tiz for Tat was in between foes early and exchanged a few bumps, found some room along the inside and then altered course to the outside at the quarterpole and finished up well, beaten 1 1/4 lengths over a racing strip that was kind to inside speed. Two back off the layoff our top pick ran second to Mentor Cane, who came back to finish fourth in the Amsterdam (G2) and second in the King's Bishop (G1). The Nicks colt makes his third start off the bench and figures to be tough in this spot.
 
Quinby Pete makes his first start since last October where the colt was beaten just a neck  for the top spot behind Declan's Warrior, who is now a two time stakes winner.  Two back he ran a good second behind repeat winner Happy My Way, one of three to come out of that race to win next out. The colt sports a couple of quick works on the morning tab for the Trombetta barn that is 23% winners (with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a +180 day layoff.
 
Wagering
WIN: #8 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 3,8 / 1,3,5,8
TRI: 3,8 / 1,3,5,8 / 1,3,5,7,8
 
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.
 
Belmont Park
R1: #1 Spiral Stair   8-1
R4: #7 Fava   8-1
R6: #2 Sabbatical   10-1
R6: #10 Tiz a Dynaformer   12-1
R8: #7 Mr Rosenthal   12-1
R9: #6 Fly Ride   8-1
 
Good luck today!

  
HEADLINES
Dempsey: At the Gate - Thursday
Image of Anna wins Big A feature
Stormy Lucy wins Santa Barbara Handicap
Dance With Fate wins Blue Grass Stakes
Danza wins Arkansas Derby as long shot
Triple dead-heat for 1st in Louisiana race
Tribal Sky wins Las Cienegas
Front wins Big A feature
Wise Dan victorious at Maker's 46 Mile
MORE HEADLINES
 
  HORSE RACING EXPERT
  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.
Last Year Mike had a solid Triple Crown, 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 has 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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