At the Gate - Thursday
September 26, 2013
By Mike Dempsey
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After a first glance at the “Super Saturday” card at Belmont Park, I can attest it does appear the card is going to be super. We have six Breeders' Cup Challenge races on the 11-race card, with each winner earning an all-expenses paid trip to the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 1-2.
I will have my full card analysis and selections for the entire card available by Friday afternoon along with my Best Plays Report, which will include the five Breeders' Cup Challenge races from Santa Anita.
Here is a quick look at the Super Saturday stakes action:
The Beldame Invitational (G1): A prep for the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1), it will be an intriguing match up between two-time Ladies' Classic (first the Distaff, then Ladies' Classic, and now called the Distaff again if you are scoring at home) winner Royal Delta and the talented three-year-old filly Princess of Sylmar.
Royal Delta is coming into the race as sharp as ever, winning the Delaware Handicap (G1) and Personal Ensign (G1) in her last two starts. Princess of Sylmar faces older for the first time and has won her last three starts, all Grade 1's.
The Kelso Handicap (G2): A prep for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1), a field of seven will line up led by the Todd Pletcher trained Graydar, who has won four of his five career starts but has been on the bench since winning the New Orleans Handicap (G2) in March.
Jackson Bend looks back on track after a game effort in a runner up finish in the Forego (G1) last out in the slop at Saratoga.
The Vosburgh Invitational (G1): The Lumber Guy is back to defend his title in the Vosburgh, but he has lost four in a row since the win and is 8-1 on the morning line despite winning the race last year as the betting favorite. The Mike Hushion trainee is making just his third start of the year. Last out he was second in the state bred Chowder's First off a six-month layoff.
Forego (G1) winner Strapping Groom (5-1) has won three of his last four starts and Justin Phillip (3-1) won the A.G. Vanderbilt (G1) two back for his first Grade 1 win and was third in the Forego in his last start.
The Flower Bowl Invitational (G1): A field of eight fillies and mares will go 1 ¼ miles on turf with the winner earning a ticket to the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).
This is not the deepest field we have seen in this race in recent years. The one to beat appears to be the Alan Goldberg trained Laughing, who has won three in a row, last out taking the Ballston Spa (G2) at Saratoga.
The Joe Hirsch Turf Classic invitational (G1): A field of ten turf males will line up including the Chad Brown trained Big Blue Kitten (8-5) who is coming off wins in the United Nations (G1) and Sword Dancer (G1) in his last two starts.
Little Mike, who won the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) last year has not made it back to the winner's circle in four starts since and is listed at 10-1 on the morning line.
The Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1): Flat Out (3-1) goes for his third consecutive win in this race but will face a tough group that includes Cross Traffic (5-2), who took the field gate to wire to win the Whitney Handicap (G1) at Saratoga in his last outing.
It is also time to see just how good the three-year-old division is. Both Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Orb (9-2) and Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Palace Malice (4-1) will be facing older for the first time.
Click here to purchase my full card report for Belmont Park for Thursday.
Here is today’s opening race from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BEL Race 1 Md $75,000 (1:05 ET)
3 Long Island Lee 3-1
2 Winekeeper 6-5
6 Go West Marie 6-1
4 Beleiveinfaith 4-1
Analysis: Long Island is a $17,000 Keeneland purchase making her debut for the Violette barn that is 13% winners with first time starters. The filly is by Grade 1 sprint winner Midnight Lute (8% winners with debut runners) out of a Monarchos mare, her first foal to race. She has a solid enough looking work tab and barn does good work with two year olds.
Winekeeper showed good early speed in her debut, dueling for the early lead and finishing gamely to come up just a neck shy of the top spot. She was 4 1/4 lengths clear of third place finisher Friends Pro, who came back to graduate in her next start for a $30,000 tag at at Churchill Downs on Sept. 22. She looks like the one to beat but her speed fig did come up on the light side and her price is going to be on the light side as well.
WIN: #3 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 2,3 / 2,3,6
TRI: no play
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 8 Md Sp Wt (4:45 ET)
7 Miss Lech 3-1
5 Walk Close 7-2
8 Ballad 6-1
3 Illapa 5-1
Analysis: Miss Lech makes her second career start here for the Chad Brown barn that is 29% winners with second out maidens. The filly tracked the early pace and weakened to finish third in her debut behind the talented Sweet Reason, who came back to win the Spinaway (G1) in her next outing on Sept. 1. She should move forward with a race under her belt and is bred to handle turf. She has three sibs that are winners including one turf winner, top earner dirt stakes winner Guilt Trip ($270,567).
Walk Close is a $180,000 Keeneland purchase making her debut for the Clement barn that is 21% winners (with a +ROI) with first timers. The filly is by Tapit out of the stakes winner Spring Awakening ($258,178) who has dropped just one other foal to race, 0 for 1 Oxford Babes. She has a couple of god looking works o the morning tab and we have good luck backing this barn's firsters, particularly on turf.
WIN: #7 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 5,7 / 3,5,7,8
TRI: 5,7 / 3,5,7,8 / 3,5,7,8,10
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: #5 Doyouseeme 15-1
R9: #4 Dreaming of Joey 15-1
R10: #2 Sassy Salsa 12-1
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.
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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