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At the Gate - Friday
The rains did not come on Thursday despite a weather forecast that originally called for morning showers followed by a steady rain in the afternoon.
I handicapped the Thursday card for an off track and off the turf, but we still managed to have a good day.
I know I have complained about how bad weathermen perform, but I am going to do it again. If I was as bad at handicapping the ponies as these guys are at predicting weather, I’d be working the drive-thru window at Wendy’s.
It is frustrating handicapping the card a day in advance and seeing the weather the exact opposite than forecast just 12 hours later. And we may have to deal with it again on Friday.
The forecast again calls for rain, with an 80% chance of afternoon rain. I again am leaning toward seeing a wet track and the races taken off the turf.
We have a pair of graded stakes on the turf on Saturday, so any rain may force the switch to keep the turf course intact for Saturday’s afternoon’s action.
A field of 10 will line up in the $200,000 Knickerbocker (G3) and the Shug McGaughey trained Boisterous will go for a third consecutive win in the race and is going to be tough to beat.
The $200,000 Athenia (G3) drew a field of seven fillies and mares that will go 1 1/6 miles on the turf. The Chad Brown trained Samitar is the 7-5 morning line favorite. The filly is perfect in two trips over the Belmont Park turf and is coming off a win at Saratoga in the restricted Speed Boat. She can handle turf less than firm and is a legit favorite.
Pianist, who is also sent out by Brown, looks to be the biggest threat. She was beaten just a neck in the Ballston Spa (G2 at Saratoga in August. The winner of that race was Laughing, who came back to win the Flower Bowl Invitational (G1) in her next outing.
I will have selections for the stakes action in Saturday’s Multi-Track Report.
Purchase my Monthly Package and receive an entire month of Belmont Park action, Keeneland and Best Plays on the weekends, and my two-day Breeders’ Cup Report for just $99.95.
To purchase my full card report for Belmont Park for Friday click here.
Here is today’s opening from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BEL Race 1 OClm $16,000SAL (12:50 ET)
5 Point Taken   3-1
1 Take Down Two / 1a Kingsford Drive   5-2
2 Frazil   3-1
6 Quick Money   5-1
Analysis: Point Taken set the early fractions and held on gamely to win by a neck but was DQ'd for bumping a foe inside the final furlong and was placed second. The gelding owns solid early and mid pace numbers and has done his best running over wet tracks, winning three of seven starts. The gelding has landed in the exacta in eight of a dozen starts this year and looks capable of beating this group.
Take Down Two faded to finish seventh last out at the Spa versus open $35,000 foes. He was claimed out of the race by the Bruce Brown barn. He loves the main track here and also has run well on wet tracks, landing in the exacta in nine of 13 trips over off going. Entrymate Kingsford Drive also has Lezcano listed to ride so only one will go. The gelding earned a career top speed fig last out winning at this level but did take advantage of a racing strip that was kind to inside speed.
WIN: #5 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 1,5 / 1,2,5,6
TRI: 1,5 / 1,2,5,6 / 1,2,4,5,6
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 8 OClm $35,000N2X (4:34 ET)
7 Keep Bustin   3-1
3 Kelli Got Frosty   5-2
10 Make the Moment   15-1
5 La Bella Valeria   6-1
Analysis: Keep Bustin is coming off a good effort in a runner up finish last out at the Spa going seven furlongs. The filly tracked the early pace and finished up well behind a gate to wire winner over a racing strip that was kind to inside speed. The fifth place finisher Princess Mara exited the race to beat state bred Alw-1 optional claimers in her next outing on Oct. 9 here. Our top pick has landed in the exacta in eight of her 10 career starts and is bred to like a wet track.
Kelli Got Frosty goes turf to dirt after the filly was not much of a threat in a fifth place finish in the state bred Eventail. She was in the mix in her four previous stakes tries on dirt including a runner up finish to Princess of Sylmar in the Busher back in February. The filly has won two of her three trips over wet tracks in her career and the switch back to the main track should suit this filly.
WIN: #7 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 3,7 / 3,5,7,10
TRI: 3,7 / 3,5,7,10 / 1,3,5,7,10
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: #8 Theresas Candyrose   10-1
R3: #3 Beer Is Good   8-1
R4: #2 Invading Humor   12-1
R5: #6 Flamingo   Lane   8-1
R7: #6 Madaket Millie   8-1
R8: #10 Make the Moment   15-1
R9: #7 J Rose Gal   8-1
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.

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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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