At the Gate - Thursday
June 4, 2014
By Mike Dempsey
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The post position draw for the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes was uneventful, with California Chrome drawing the two-post and installed as the 3-5 morning line favorite.
The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner will face 10 foes in his attempt to become the 12th Triple Crown winner. By comparison, Big Brown and Smarty Jones each faced eight foes, while Funny Cide faced just five.
Wicked Strong, who was fourth in the Derby, is the second choice on the morning line at 6-1, while Peter Pan Stakes (G2) winner Tonalist, who drew the outside 11-post is the third choice on the morning line at odds of 8-1.
With perfect weather, there could be a record crowd on hand to witness history. For us degenerate gamblers, there is plenty of other excitement on Saturday.
There are 10 stakes on the 13-race card, and we have a couple of Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races.
The $1 million Ogden Phipps (G1) winner will earn an automatic starting spot in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). The race drew just six, but what a powerful field. Last year’s Distaff winner Beholder takes on last year’s Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Princess of Sylmar and three-time Grade 1 winner Close Hatches.
The $1 million Metropolitan Handicap (G1) was moved from Memorial Day, and the winner stamps a ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), although the winner is just as likely to show up in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) this fall.
A field of 13 will line up including Palace Malice, who is perfect in three starts this year and appears to be coming into this race as sharp as ever. The Todd Pletcher trainee is the 8-5 morning line favorite.
I will have my full card report for Belmont Stakes Day up by Friday afternoon. We started the week good with four winners on top on the Wednesday card.
Belmont Stakes Field with Morning Line Odds
1. Medal Count, R. Albarado, 20-1
2. California Chrome, V. Espinoza, 3-5
3. Matterhorn, J. Bravo, 30-1
4. Commanding Curve, S. Bridgmohan, 15-1
5. Ride On Curlin, J. Velazquez, 12-1
6. Matuszak, M. Smith, 30-1
7. Samraat, J. Ortiz, 20-1
8. Commissioner, J. Castellano, 20-1
9. Wicked Strong, R. Maragh, 6-1
10. General a Rod, R. Napravnik, 20-1
11. Tonalist, J. Rosario, 8-1
For the latest odds and prop bets visit Sportsbook.ag.
To purchase my full card report for Thursday 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 $16,000N2L (1:20 ET)
3 Gold Potion 8-1
2 Please No Emails 5-1
7 Lemon and Honey 7-5
1 Jen's Miracle 3-1
Analysis: Gold Potion set the early fractions and could not hold off the winner late in a runner up finish at this level in her first start against winners. The winner Bounty Pink returned to beat $20,000 non-winners of three in her next outing on May 29 here. Our top pick broke her maiden two back against state bred $16,000 foes. She owns solid early and mid pace numbers and has shown she can handle a wet track with a couple of seconds in three trips. She gets a jock upgrade from the bug to Junior and the 8-1 morning line looks more than fair.
Please No Emails prompted the early pace while in between foes and did not have enough left late, weakening to finish third while beaten two lengths for the top spot against straight three-year-old fillies for a $16,000 tag. She broke her maiden over a wet track on the inner track back in February and she gets a jock upgrade to Rosario. She looks capable of moving forward enough off her last effort to put her in the mix in this spot.
WIN: #3 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 2,3 / 1,2,3,7
TRI: 2,3 / 1,2,3,7 / 1,2,3,4,7
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 7 Alw $62,000N1X (4:26 ET)
2 Station Chief 4-1
1 Doctor Dempsey 8-5
4 Sidearm 8-1
10 Ogermeister 5-1
Analysis: Station Chief is back on the main track after trying turf last out where the colt dueled for the early lead and faded to finish a well-beaten 12th. The colt broke his maiden two back on the main track at the Big A and pedigree wise is better suited for dirt and is bred to handle a wet track. He is by the ultra-quick Disco Rico out of a Victory Gallop mare. He figures to bounce back with a better effort here.
Doctor Dempsey has a great name and was a good-looking maiden winner in his debut at Santa Anita for the Baffert barn. He did not beat a real tough group, one coming out of the race to win next out for a $40,000 tag. He does go from an open claimer in with state breds here. He should like a wet track, he is by Harlan's Holiday out of an Unbridled mare.
WIN: #2 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 1,2 / 1,2,4,10
TRI: 1,2 / 1,2,4,10 / 1,2,4,5,10
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.
R1: #3 Gold Potion 8-1
R2: #9 Rockaway 10-1
R4: #6 Gallant Lady 8-1
R6: #7 Fidelius 12-1
R7: #4 Sidearm 8-1
R9: 32 Countess Twice 12-1
R9: #3 Aviendra 8-1
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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