At the Gate - Thursday
July 10, 2014
By Mike Dempsey
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Entries for Saturday’s stakes came out yesterday and we have several competitive races including Million Preview Day at Arlington Park with four graded stakes that serve as preps for Arlington Million Day, which is Saturday, Aug. 16.
At Belmont Park on Saturday, we have the $200,000 Bowling Green Handicap (G2), a race that could produce a couple of starters for this fall’s Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). Last year’s third place finisher Boisterous is in the field, while Grandeur may end up the betting favorite.
Grandeur came to the U.S. back in the spring and ran third in the Man O’ War (G1) and then was fourth in the Manhattan (G1).
The $750,000 Delaware Handicap (G1) is the marquee event of the summer meeting at Delaware Park. The race drew a small field of six this year including Princess of Sylmar, who was installed as the even money favorite.
The Todd Pletcher trainee was beaten a head by the game Close Hatches in the Ogden Phipps (G1) at Belmont Park on June 7. The filly won four straight Grade 1 races last year and had her winning streak snapped when she failed to fire in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (G1) where she was a well-beaten sixth.
After facing Close Hatches and Beholder last out, the company she faces on Saturday looks much easier. Her biggest threats figure to be the one-two finishers of the Fleur de Lis (G2) at Churchill Downs, Molly Morgan, who won by four lengths and runner up Flashy American.
I will have more on the weekend stakes action on Saturday.
To purchase my full card report for Belmont Park for Thursday 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 (1:20 ET)
7 Isabella Sings 3-1
3 Cool Comfort 4-1
1 Heartofthetemple 7-2
2 Eskenformoney 5-2
Analysis: Isabella Sings is one of two in here sent out by Pletcher and with Johnny V. on her stablemate maybe we will get a fair price. Our top pick is by Eskendereya out of a stakes placed Lamitas mare that has dropped a couple of winners, both turf winners including stakes winner Alaura Michele ($205,679). She debuts with lasix and Rosario gets the call.
Cool Comfort is one of two sent out by the Ward barn that is 22% winners with first timers. The $115,000 Ocala purchase is by Big Brown out of a Coronado's Quest mare that has dropped a couple of dirt winners. The barn usually has them cranked and ready to go early and hits at a 24% clip overall in turf sprints.
WIN: #7 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 3,7 / 1,2,3,7
TRI: 3,7 / 1,2,3,7 / 1,2,3,4,7
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 8 Alw $77,000N1X (4:57 ET)
2 Box Office 4-1
5 Scarly Charly 8-5
4 Roman Approval 8-1
3 Bernardo 7-2
Analysis: Box Office set the early fractions and could not hold off the winner late in a runner up finish last out against Alw-1 optional claimers at Monmouth Park. The gelding has landed in the bottom half of the exacta in three straight start, but the cut back to a one-turn mile should suit this guy. He owns a solid pace profile throughout and he broke his maiden in his lone trip over the surface here.
Scarly Charly made his local debut and first start against winners in a strange spot, checking in seventh in the Met Mile (G1) at 66-1. He earned the top last out speed fig in the effort after breaking his maiden two back at Santa Anita going 6 1/2 furlongs. He fits here but hate to take too short a price on him.
WIN: #2 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 2,5 / 2,3,4,5
TRI: 2,5 / 2,3,4,5 / 1,2,3,4,5
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: #7 Alexndeed 8-1
R2: #6 Peanutsnpopcorn 10-1
R6: #1 Chief Scout 10-1
R7: #9 Cool Cat Tale 8-1
R8: #4 Roman Approval 8-1
R9: #4 Passing Pfast 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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