At the Gate - Wednesday
June 3, 2014
By Mike Dempsey
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Entries and post positions will be drawn this morning for the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, with a field of 11 or 12 likely.
Kid Cruz, who was eighth in the Preakness Stakes will bypass the race and look for an easier spot according to his trainer Linda Rice. The only other question mark is with Social Inclusion, who is “70-30” heading toward the $500,000 Woody Stephens (G2) at seven furlongs according to his owner Ron Sanchez.
California Chrome has been taken care of by trainer Art Sherman’s son Alan in New York the past couple of weeks, but Art was on hand for the first time Tuesday morning and liked what he saw during a morning gallop.
"I thought he looked better now than he did after the Preakness," Sherman told the NYRA Media Department. "I couldn't believe how much weight he put on. He really looks good right now. Going on the Triple Crown trail, it's kind of rough. He's an amazing horse."
It’s been over two weeks since California Chrome added the Preakness to his win in the Kentucky Derby, and I have been looking for some type of chink in his armor.
The colt’s last work was impressive and he does not look as if he has lost any of his energy despite making five starts this year. Sherman has not weighed the colt but think he has actually put on a few pounds since his win in Baltimore.
We are going to be faced with even money or less on Saturday, and I sure would like to find some value. I keep repeating the names of Big Brown, Smarty Jones, Real Quiet, Sunday Silence, Alysheba, Pleasant Colony and Spectacular Bid repeatedly.
What do those seven horses have in common? They were all beaten in the Belmont Stakes at odds of 4/5 or lower.
While we are all rooting to witness a Triple Crown on Saturday, the first one in 36 years, are we going to be willing to settle for backing the chalk at 4/5?
Well, I have another day or so to find California Chrome’s weakness. It will not be easy.
Latest Belmont Stakes wagering odds at Sportsbook.ag:
California Chrome even
Ride On Curlin +500
Commanding Curve +800
Wicked Strong +800
Medal Count +1500
General A Rod +2000
Social Inclusion +3500
Kid Cruz +5000 (Declared out of race)
To purchase my full card report for Wednesday for Belmont Park click here.
Here is today’s opening from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BEL Race 1 Clm $32,000N3L (1:20 ET)
5 Handy Stan 5-2
1 Make a Fortune 8-5
3 Boss of Me 6-1
2 Mystic Strike 4-1
Analysis: Handy Stan tracked the early pace, made a good middle move while in between foes and weakened late to finish third last out against state bred Alw-1 foes. The winner Captain Serious came back to win the state bred Mike Lee last Saturday in impressive fashion. Two back our top pick was a sharp winner versus $25,000 non-winners of two in his firs to against winners. The gelding owns a solid pace profile throughout and looks like a good fit in this spot.
Make a Fortune pressed the early pace, took over the lead and could not hold off the winner in deep stretch, settling for the runner up spot at this level in the slop. He was making his first start since getting claimed back by the Jacobson barn. He owns the top last out speed fig and a repeat of his last effort makes him tough in this spot. Hoping our top pick is going to be a slightly better price.
WIN: #5 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 1,5 / 1,3,5
TRI: no play
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 6 Clm $25,000 (3:55 ET)
2 Le Deluge 3-1
1 Horvat Clan 6-1
3 Precious Metal 4-1
5 Sleepless Knight 2-1
Analysis: Le Deluge stalked the early pace, altered course to the outside nearing the eighth pole and did not have enough punch left late in a third place finish for this tag, beaten two lengths for the top spot. The Chad Brown barn claimed this guy for $35,000 last summer and has not been able to get this guy to the winner's circle in six tries. He comes back fresh here off an eight-week break and the barn has been hot at the meeting, hitting at a 32% clip. He may be able to turn the tables on our third choice who beat him last out.
Horvat Clan makes his first start since last summer for the Fisher barn that usually has them ready to go off works at his base at Fair Hill, hitting at a 24% clip with runners coming back off a +180 day layoff. In his last start at the Spa last summer he beat $20,000 non-winners of three or three-year-olds and four runners he beat that day came back to win next out. The gelding has landed in the money in nine of his 15 career starts on turf and this is not a real tough spot for his return.
WIN: #2 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,2 / 1,2,3,5
TRI: 1,2 / 1,2,3,5 / 1,2,3,5,7
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: #9 Electric Currency 8-1
R3: #6 Ice Wagon 8-1
R4: #7 Ride of Your Life 10-1
R4: #4 Mineral Water 8-1
R5: #6 Get Busted 8-1
R7: #1 Ducks Dock 15-1
R7: #10 Dendrite 12-1
R8: #3 Sense of Peace 10-1
R9: #5 Thatza Wrap 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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