At the Gate - Friday
May 9, 2014
By Mike Dempsey
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California Chrome picked up another foe for next Saturday’s Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico as trainer Mike Maker announced that General a Rod would wheel back after his 11 th place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1).
The colt was not off cleanly in the Derby, and he is a runner that usually is up close to the pace. In his previous start the colt prompted the early pace in the Florida Derby (G1) and weakened late to finish third, beaten 1 1/2 lengths for the top spot.
In the Fountain of Youth (G2) he was beaten just a head by Wildcat Red, and he started off the year by winning the Gulfstream Park Derby where he beat Wildcat Red by a head.
It looks as if we are going to have a field of 10 or 11 for the second jewel of the Triple Crown, with California Chrome likely to be around 7-5 on the morning line, perhaps even less if we have a couple of defections.
We received some rain in New York, but we are still on the turf for Friday. The turf course is listed as good as of this morning and the seventh race will be moved to the inner turf course. The main tack listed as sloppy.
To purchase my full card report for Belmont Park for Friday or my monthly package click here.
Here is today’s opening from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BEL Race 1 Md $50,000 (1:20 ET)
7 Quality Legend 3-1
6 Will Do 5-2
1 Magsamelia 2-1
3 Bird Rockette 8-1
Analysis: Quality Legend makes her debut here for the Trombetta barn that is 7% winners with first timers. The filly has a decent pedigree, by Elusive Quality (15% winners with debut runners) out of the stakes winner Binalegend ($288,245) who has dropped four winners including stakes winner Simon' Legend ($150,784). She should be fit and ready off works at Fair Hill. She is bred to like a wet track.
Will Do tracked the early pace while down along the inside and was no match for a seven length winner last out, missing the runner up spot in a photo. She was dropping in for a tag for the first time. Two back she was fourth at Philly in a highly graded race that produced a couple of next out winners. She gets a decent upgrade in jocks from the bug to Lezcano.
WIN: #7 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 6,7 / 1,3,6,7
TRI: 6,7 / 1,3,6,7 / 1,3,5,6,7
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 7 Alw $77,000N1X (4:26 ET)
4 Balashkova 2-1
6 Wholelottashakin 5-2
1a Tokyo Time 3-1
9 Fizzy Pink 6-1
Analysis: Balashkova makes her U.S. debut here for the Chad Brown barn that is 25% winners (with a +ROI) with runners making their North American debuts. The filly made her last start in France where she ran second in allowance company. She was fourth in a couple of small stakes including one at Longchamp last June. She debuts here with lasix added she has a couple of decent looking works on the morning tab. She has handled ground with plenty of give to it and if we are on the turf today we figure to be less than firm.
Wholelottashakin returns off a 2 1/2 month break here after checking in fifth last out behind repeat winner Ready Signal in the Ten Palms. The winner came back to Powder Break at Gulfstream Park and then ran a decent fourth in the Distaff Turf Mile (G2) on Derby Day. Two back this Bush trainee was beaten just a neck in the Endeavour (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs behind another repeat winner Cloud Scapes, who won the Hillsborough (G3) in her next outing. The mare will appreciate the return to Belmont Park as all three of her career wins have come over the weeds here.
WIN: #4 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 4,6 / 1,4,6,9
TRI: 4,6 / 1,4,6,9 / 1,4,6,7,9
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.
R1: #3 Bird Rockette 8-1
R3: #4 The Brothers War 12-1
R4: #7 Navajo Ca Lo 8-1
R6: #7 Samuels Blond Lady 15-1
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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