At the Gate - Saturday
September 21, 2013
By Mike Dempsey
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Other than the Breeders' Cup, no track in the U.S. offers up two $1 million races on the same day other than Parx Racing, who will feature the $1 million Cotillion (G1) and Pennsylvania Derby (G2) this afternoon.
The Cotillion is for three-year-old fillies and drew 10, but Flash Forward will scratch reducing the field to nine. It is a talented group led by the Bill Mott trained Close Hatches.
The filly has not been seen since winning the Mother Goose (G1) at Belmont Park back in June. The filly missed the major stakes at Saratoga this summer after spiking a fever, and will be making her first start off a three month break as the 5-2 morning line favorite.
As you can see below in my featured play of the day from Parx I am looking for a price with Carnival Court (8-1), a speedy filly from the Kiaran McLaughlin barn that raced against the track bias when third in the Alabama (G1) in her last outing.
The Pennsylvania Derby matches up the top two finishers from the Travers (G1) at Saratoga last month. The pacesetter Moreno set the early fractions but could not hold off Will Take Charge late, the duo separated by just a nose at the wire.
Recently Moreno's trainer Eric Guillot accused Will Take Charge jockey Luis Saez of using an electrical device to shock his mount in the Travers. The New York Gaming Commission and the New York State Police are reportedly still investigating the incident.
The two will vie for favoritism, with Java's War (4-1), Speak Logistics (5-1) and Fury Kapcori (6-1) next in line.
The $300,000 Gallant Bob (G3) starts off the graded stakes action on the Parx card. The race drew 14 with Distinctiv Passion and Purple Egg reportedly going to scratch, leaving a wide open field of 12.
Rainbow Heir is the 3-1 morning line favorite and is looking to bounce back after tasting defeat for the first time last out in a sixth place finish in the Amsterdam (G2) at Saratoga. The colt won his first four starts including the Jersey Shore (G3) at Monmouth Park.
Click here to purchase my full card report for Belmont Park for Saturday.
Saturday's Best Plays Report includes my seven strongest plays from Belmont Park and Parx.
Here is today's opening race from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BEL Race 1 Clm $15,000B (1:05 ET)
4 The Sixties 6-1
1 Roman's Avenue / 1a Town Hall 5-2
9 King Henny 3-1
2 Derby Watch 6-1
Analysis: The Sixties was bumped coming out of the gate, tracked the early pace and finished evenly in a third place finish as the beaten favorite at the Spa for a $20,000 tag. The gelding was claimed out of the race by the Galluscio barn that is 19% winners (with a +ROI) first off the claim. Two back at Churchill Downs this guy beat $10,000 non-winners of two off a 2 1/2 month break. If he runs back to his effort two back he fits here and the 6-1 morning line looks fair enough.
Roman's Avenue did not have a clean trip last out when dropping out of grade stakes company, bobbling at the break and getting bumped at the half mile pole. He was claimed out of the race by the Jacobson barn that is 26% winners (with a +ROI) first off the claim. He makes his second start off a nine month layoff and is jammed in here for $15,000, a move the barn is not afraid to make.
Entrymate Town Hall set the pace and could not hold off the winner in a runner up finish trying to get nine furlongs. He caught a racing strip that was playing to outside stalkers and closers. He also was claimed out of the race by Jacobson and with Castellano listed on both only one will go.
WIN: #4 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 1,4 / 1,2,4,9
TRI: 1,4 / 1,2,4,9 / 1,2,4,8,9
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 9 The Gallant Bloom Hcp G2 (5:17 ET)
3 Holiday Soiree 4-1
2 Cluster of Stars 3-1
8 Dance to Bristol 2-1
1 Villanesca / 1a Dance Card 7-2
Analysis: Holiday Soiree was a good looking winner of the restricted Shine Again last out in her first start for the Todd Pletcher barn, earning a career top speed fig in the effort. She has been competitive in graded stakes, running a good third in the Humana Distaff (G1) at Keeneland over poly back in May. She owns a solid pace profile throughout and among the top three in here this gal may end up offering the best value for the top spot.
Cluster of Stars makes her first start since winning the Distaff 'Cap (G2) over the main track at the Big A in April. She has won all five starts including four on the inner track. She owns solid early and mid pace numbers and with the rail draw she is going to be sent early. The Asmussen barn is 22% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180 day layoff. The works are on the slow side but that is usually the case with this barn.
Dance to Bristol has won seven in a row, last out taking the Ballerina (G1) by a head over Book Review for her first Grade 1 win. Three of her seven wins during the streak have come in photos. She has only missed landing in the exacta once in 18 career starts. She has a win over the surface, taking the Bed of Roses (G3) here three back. She is going to be tough, but except for the big fig she earned at Chuck Town winning the Sugar Maple, who is not much better than our top two and is going to be a lighter price.
WIN: #3 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 2,3 / 1,2,3,8
TRI: 2,3 / 1,2,3,8 / 1,2,3,5,8
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Parx Racing:
PRX Race 10 The Cotillion G1 (5:10 ET)
2 Carnival Court 8-1
9 Close Hatches 5-2
6 My Happy Face 9-2
7 Sweet Lulu 7-2
Analysis: Carnival Court set the early fractions while down along the inside and weakened to finish third last out in the Alabama (G1) going 1 1/4 miles at the Spa. The filly caught a racing strip that was playing to outside stalkers and closers that day. I like the cut back to 1 1/16 miles here and this racing strip has been kind to horses on or near the lad at this distance. This filly is bred to be a good one, out of the stakes winner Delta Princess ($740,918) who also has dropped $4.6 million earner Royal Delta. There is some other early zip signed up to go here but this filly looks capable of sitting just off the pace if needed and in just her fifth career start still appears to have a ton of upside.
Close Hatches makes her first start since winning the Mother Goose (G1) by 7 1/4 lengths at Belmont Park. She missed some time after spiking a fever , but has posted three bullet drills for the Bill Mott barn that is 21% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180 day layoff. In her two losses the winners were Midnight Lucky and Princess of Sylmar and if she gets to running back to her last effort she will be the one to beat.
WIN: #2 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 2,9 / 2,6,7,9
TRI: 2,9 / 2,6,7,9 / 2,5,6,7,9
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.
R2: #8 Away Game 10-1
R4: #7 Chasinintheblues 8-1
R6: #7 Nowhere to Run 12-1
R6: #5 Great Minds 10-1
R8: #9 Nine O Wonderful 10-1
R8: #6 Bad Debt 8-1
R10: #2 Ocala Jim 20-1
Good luck today!
HORSE RACING EXPERT
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.
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