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At the Gate - Saturday
If you had a win ticket on Sweet Swagg in yesterday’s eighth race at Belmont Park you might have been a bit surprised after the race after the colt went gate to wire to upset the big favorite Summer Place to Be.
Once the colt crossed the wire the toteboard said the winner was at odds of 16-1, and both David Grenig of The Daily Racing Form and Jerry Bossert of The New York Daily News tweeted from the press box that the colt won at odds of 16-1.
So it may have come as a surprise when the payoffs were posted and the winner returned just $15.40 for the win.
I had looked at the toteboard online and saw 14-1 as they headed into the far turn, and then saw 6-1 as the winner crossed the wire. That was a big drop in price and I immediately thought there were bettors past posting bets on the loose on the lead gate to wire winner.
It turns out the toteboard froze for about five minutes and that is the reason of the odds shift. I went back and watched the replay and the graphics did show the winner at 7-1 at the beginning of the race and 6-1 in the stretch.
Still quite a shock if you had a winning ticket and thought you were getting a $34.00 windfall on each $2 wagered and ended up with less than half of that.
This is really a tough game sometimes.
My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my 10 strongest plays from Belmont Park, Churchill Downs and Woodbine.
Click here to purchase my full card report for Belmont Park for Saturday.
Click here to purchase my full card report for Churchill Downs for Saturday.
Here is today’s opening race from Churchill Downs to get the day off to a good start:
CD Race 1 Md Sp Wt (12:45 ET)
6 Vexed   5-1
4 My Merry Way    3-1
2 Light Striker   4-1
1 Molly Z   7-2
Analysis: Vexed is coming off a third place finish in a four horse field in her debut at Arlington park over the poly back in July. The winner of that race was Maria Maria, who came back to run a decent third in the Arlington Washington Lassie. The runner up Battlefield Angel came back to graduate in her next start and then run sixth in the Arlington Washington Lassie. This gal has a nice pedigree, out of the stakes winner Cross ($126,207) who has dropped two other winners including stakes winner Sign (2 for 2, $149,125). The Stall barn is 23% winners with second out maidens.
My Merry Way is a $235,000 Keeneland purchase making her debut for the Motion barn that is 11% winners with first timers. This filly is by Tiznow out of a stakes placed Lord Carson mare that has dropped six winners including four stakes winners, top earner Bullsbay ($923,245).
WIN: #6 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 4,6 / 1,2,4,6
TRI: 4,6 / 1,2,4,6 / 1,2,3,4,6
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 9 The Garden City G1 (5:17 ET)
6 Summer of Fun   8-1
1 Emollient   3-1
2 Discreet Marq    7-2
4 Alterite   4-1
Analysis: Summer of Fun gets a class test here coming off a victory in the restricted Auntie Mame at Saratoga and she just may be up for it. Two back she was beaten just a nose in the Hilltop at Pimlico by Emotional Kitten, who went on to run a game second in the American Oaks (G1) behind our second choice Emollient and then she ran third in the Del Mar Oaks (G1) behind Discreet Marq. This filly showed plenty of promise last year as a juvenile, beaten just a head in the Jessamine (G3) at Keeneland and then a solid third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). Our second and third choices are going to get most of the attention here and this gal should be competitive here at a decent price. The George Weaver barn is coming off a solid Spa meeting where he won nine races with 41 starters.
Emollient returns off a two month break after winning the American Oaks (G1) last out at Hollywood Park in her turf debut. The third place finisher Topic came back to win the CTT&TOCH in her next outing on Aug. 23 at Del Mar and the fourth place finisher Sarach won the Sandy Blue Handicap in her next start on Aug. 16. She has shown she can win on any surface, taking the Ashland (G1) on poly and she has won on dirt and in the slop. She runs well off short breaks and is in good hands with the Bill Mott barn. She is the logical one to beat in this spot but her price seems likely to go south from her 3-1 morning line.
Discreet Marq also shipped to the west coast for his last win, taking the Del Mar Oaks (G1) at 9-2 in a field of 10. The Christophe Clement trainee has now won five of her nine career starts on turf and has a pair of wins over the Belmont Park turf, winning the restricted Eventail two back and the Sand's Point (G2) three back. She was the pacesetter in five straight starts until last out with Julian Leparoux took over. She gets Garrett Gomez here and there is some other early speed in here and she likely will get a good trip sitting just off the pace.
WIN: #6 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 1,6 / 1,2,4,6
TRI: 1,6 / 1,2,4,6 / 1,2,3,4,6,10
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Churchill Downs:
CD Race 9 The Open Mind (4:59 ET)
6 Burban   8-5
3 Devious Intent   5-1
1 Vuitton   4-1
4 Ms Anna Destiny   4-1
Analysis: Burban prompted a sharp early pace and weakened to finish fifth last out in the Honorable Miss 'Cap (G2) at Saratoga. The winner Dance to Bristol came back to win the Ballerina (G1) in her next outing on Aug. 23. Two back over the main track here our top pick earned a career top taking the field gate to wire in the Roxelana at today's six furlong distance. This mare has landed in the exacta in six of her seven trips over the main track here. She figures to bounce back with a better effort in this easier spot.
Devious Intent cuts back from a mile where last out she was the game winner of the gardenia (G3) at Ellis Park. The third place finisher in that race was Groupie Doll, who was coming off a long layoff and then turned around and won the Presque Isle Masters (G2) in her next outing on Sept. 9. She is 0 for 4 at today's six furlong distance but ran a  good second two back in the Saylorvile and earned a career top speed fig in that effort.
WIN: #6 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 3,6 / 1,3,6
TRI: no play
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
R2: #4 Howie’s Tiz   8-1
R3: #2 Prometheus Crown   10-1
R4: #10 Treblemaker   10-1
R7: #2 Weave   10-1
R9: #6 Summer of Fun   8-1
R10: #9 Many Goodtimes   8-1
R10: #10 Hot Sand   20-1
Good luck today!

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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.

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.

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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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