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At the Gate - Friday

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As of 8:30 a.m. this morning, races 5 and 10 are off the turf at Belmont Park this afternoon, and the other races remain on the turf including the $150,000 Forbidden Apple and $100,000 Perfect Sting. First post is 3:00pm (ET)
 
The turf course was yielding on Thursday, and there is more rain in the forecast for this afternoon, so we might still see the other turf races come off. I handicapped the races to be shifted to the main track after the earlier forecast called for 100% chance of rain throughout the day.
 
The two stakes are carded for the outer turf and Saturday’s key stakes are on the inner turf, so I am sure the NYRA would like to keep the races on the turf this afternoon.
 
The good news is the rain will move out this evening and it will be sunny on Saturday for Stars & Stripes Day, which includes a couple of rich turf races.
 
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The $1.25 million Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) and the $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) both drew stellar fields that each includes four overseas invaders.
 
The morning line favorite for the Belmont Derby is Toast of New York, who won the UAE Derby (G2) over Tapeta at Meydan in his last start and will be making his first start on turf since running fifth in his debut. The question will be how he will be able to handle ground less than firm.
 
The Aiden O’Brien trained Adelaide (7-2) is coming off a runner up finish in the King Edward VII Stakes (G2) and two back won the Gallimule Stakes (G3) over ground labeled as heavy. The Chad Brown trained Bobby’s Kitten (6-1) won the Penn Mile over ground labeled as good and may have the best shot among the U.S. hopefuls.
 
The Belmont Oaks drew 11 and again the Euros may hold the edge. The 5-2 morning line favorite is Xcellence, who is proven over ground with some give to it, as is Flying Jib (5-1), who ships in for trainer Dermont Weld.
 
I will have Saturday’s Belmont Park report available later this evening as I am going to wait until later today to check out the turf conditions before finalizing my selections for the turf stakes.
 
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 Md Sp Wt (3:00 ET)
6 Antrim Colleen   3-1
3 Queen's Parade   7-2
4 Dynesque   6-1
1 High Heel Kitten   5-2
 
Analysis: Antrim Colleen was beaten just a neck last out in a game effort at 1 1/4 miles on turf and this would be her first go on the main track if this race comes off the turf as expected. The $150,000 Keeneland purchase has a decent enough turf pedigree, by Giant's Causeway out of a Fu Peg mare. She figures to move forward in her second start off an 8 1/2 month layoff. The McLaughlin barn is 26% winners with runners making their second start off a +180 day layoff.
 
Queen's Parade made a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot last out on turf here off a 2 1/2 month break. The winner Cat's Claw came back to beat Alw-1 foes in her next outing on June 22. The Shug filly is bred to like a wet track.
 
Wagering
WIN: #6 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 3,6 / 3,4,6
TRI: no play
 
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
 
BEL Race 8 Alw $20,000s (6:37 ET)
3 Bug Juice   4-1
2 Denzel   8-1
6 Apex   7-2
7 Bet the Power   3-1
 
Analysis: Bug Juice stalked the early pace, came with a four wide move and ran out of gas in the stretch in a sixth pale finish last out against Alw-2 optional claimers. The gelding was claimed out of the race by the Klesaris barn that is 24% winners first off the claim. He is back on the main track here and has run well on wet tracks, winning two of four. The gelding is a stakes winner against state breds and Rosario takes the call here. Looking for him to bounce back with a much better effort here.
 
Denzel was beaten just a head last out at Philly against $16,000 starter allowance foes. The colt was parked out very wide much of the trip and finished up well over the sloppy surface. He has landed in the bottom half of the exacta in five of his last six starts, and has been the beaten favorite in four straight starts. The barn has been a bit on the chilly side at the meeting recently but worth tossing this guy in the mix here if he goes off near his 8-1 morning line.
 
Wagering
WIN: #3 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 2,3 / 2,3,6,7
TRI: 2,3 / 2,3,6,7 / 1,2,3,6,7
 
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: #4 Quit Smokin   8-1
R2: #2 Mary’s in Utopia   12-1
R3: #6 Bobby V.   8-1
R4: #2 Treasure Devil   10-1
R4: #1 Arc Above / 1a Cheyenne Nation   8-1
R5: #1 Lady Luciano   12-1
R7: #8 Sayaad   8-1
R8: #2 Denzel   8-1
 
Good luck today!

  
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