It is looking more and more as if Kentucky Derby (G1) runner up Good Magic will be shipped to Baltimore on Monday for the Preakness Stakes (G1).
What once looked like a smallish field with a 1-5 chalk in Justify is starting to look more like it may still be a decent betting race and we could see a field of nine or 10 runners.
Bolt d’Oro is still possible along with Arkansas Derby (G1) runner up Quip, meaning that Justify will have a test although he still figures to be a short price in his quest for the Triple Crown.
In the meantime, we have a really good card at Belmont Park on Saturday that features five stakes including the $350,000 Peter Pan (G3) which is a prep race for the Belmont Stakes (G1). We also have a good field that will line up in the $700,000 Man o’ War (G1), a 1 3/8 mile turf race which drew a field of 10.
The supporting features on the card include the $200,000 Beaugay (G3), $150,000 Runhappy and the $200,000 Vagrancy Handicap (G3).
The Man o’ War is a competitive race with the Todd Pletcher trained Hi Happy the 5-2 morning line favorite. The six-year-old won the Pan American (G2) at Gulfstream Park last out and he took advantage of a turf course that seemed to be kind to speed.
I think Bigger Picture could get his picture taken at a nice price. The Mike Maker trainee is 12-1 on the morning line and has landed in the exacta in six of his seven trips over the Belmont Park turf in his career.
My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my nine strongest plays from Belmont Park and Pimlico.
To purchase my Belmont Park and Best Plays Reports for Saturday click here.
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Here is the opening race from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BEL Race 1 Alw $75,000N1X (1:30 ET)
#1 H Man 7-2
#1 A True Giant 6-5
#4 Proletariat 3-1
#6 Prophet's Cat 5-1
Analysis: H Man pressed the early pace and hung on gamely until late in a close up fourth last out at this level going 6 1/2 furlongs, beaten just 3/4 of a length for the top spot. Two back this guy tracked the early pace and just missed by a head as the beaten favorite and was second three back as the favorite as well. He owns a solid pace profile throughout and for the rail figures to be prompting the pace in this spot. If fits well here if he runs back to his effort two back.
A True Giant took the field gate to wire to break his maiden in his debut for the RRod barn. The colt did catch a racing strip that was kind to runners on or near the lead that day. He looks to have as much upside as any of these and this is not a real tough looking spot for his first start against winners, but his price is going to end up on the light side.
WIN: #1 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,2 / 1,2,4
TRI: no play
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Pimlico:
PIM Race 8 OClm $32,000N3X (4:26 ET)
#4 Lift Up 5-1
#10 Arraign 9-2
#1 Full of Zip / 1a Point System 7-2
#7 Giovanna Blues 3-1
Analysis: Lift Up is one of two in here sent out by the Mad Genius who has started just five runners this year with no winners. The filly was third last out on the Tapeta in stakes company at Woodbine. Her three previous starts were on turf, all wins. She has a nice pedigree, out of the stakes winner Dynamic Cat ($134,490) who has dropped six other winners including four turf winners and three are stakes winners, top earner Appealing Cat ($266,453). She beat Alw0-1 foes off the shelf and Dickinson will have her ready to go here.
Arraign makes her first start since September for the Matz barn. The mare beat Alw-2 foes at Delaware Park three back and then was seventh and fourth in a couple of stakes on turf before hitting the sidelines. She wintered at Palm Meadows and has a couple of drills at Fair Hill since returning. Matz cane have them ready to go fresh and has always been an underrated solid turf barn.
WIN: #4 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 4,10 / 1,4,7,10
TRI: 4,10 / 1,4,7,10 / 1,4,6,7,10
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 10 The Peter Pan G3 (6:18 ET)
#3 Just Whistle 5-1
#4 Blended Citizen 6-1
#1 Core Beliefs 2-1
#6 High North 4-1
Analysis: Just Whistle was a good looking maiden winner last out in his third career start. Two back at Gulfstream Park in his first route he made a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot behind Hofburg, who came back to run second in the Florida Derby (G1) and seventh in the Kentucky Derby (G1) in his next two starts. The Matz trainee has enough pedigree to handle nine furlongs, by Pioneerof the Nile out of a stakes placed Street Cry mare, this her first foal to race. The colt still appears to have some upside and we should catch a decent enough price.
Blended Citizen was an also-eligible for the Kentucky Derby but did not get in. The colt won the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) on poly at Turfway Park and then was fifth in the Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland last out with some trouble. The colt was u unhurried early, came with a six wide bid, had to steady and alter course inside the final furlong and finished up well. He has won on turf and the fake stuff but is 0 for 4 on dirt but willing to give him another look here if we catch most of his 6-1 morning line.
Core Beliefs was third in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) last out, no match for Justify and Bolt d'Oro. That effort was his first against winners, breaking his maiden two back in his first trip around two turns. His past pair of speed figs fit well here but his price may end up on the light side here with Justify coming back to win the Kentucky Derby (G1).
WIN: #3 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 3,4 / 1,3,4,6
TRI: 3,4 / 1,3,4,6 / 1,2,3,4,6
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.
Mike DempseyMike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year-round as well as covering the biggest events including the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup. A professional handicapper and horseplayers for more than three decades, no handicapper in the industry works harder and been more successful in bringing horseplayers analysis that produces profits at the track! ike has owned racehorses and knows the racetrack from the backstretch to the finish line. Mike is in his second decade of producing great results for the readers of Vegas Insider. Among his scores in the Kentucky Derby include winning with his top pick Animal Kingdom who paid $43.80 in 2011 and Super Saver at $18.00 in 2010. While favorites have dominated the Run for the Roses in recent years, Mike’s full card analysis for every race on each card is always looking for value for horseplayers looking to pad their wagering bankroll. Mike's Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card each day. Check out Mike’s daily column At the Gate where he offers up free selections and live longshots. Join Mike daily with top picks from Aqueduct or grab winners in the Weekend Best Plays Report in the horse racing Multi-Track package. Want more action? Sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
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Jerry SessaJerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to VegasInsider.com. When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins. Jerry opened the 2016 Triple Crown season by hitting his Derby Day best bet, Nyquist. He also nailed the Derby exacta for a $30.60 payout. On 4/16/16 at Keeneland, Jerry hit an $819 exacta that led to a $38k Trifecta & a $300k Super.
In the 2015 Belmont Stakes Jerry dominated races 8-11 by hitting a $4,400 Pick 4, 3 Daily Doubles, 2 Pick 3's and calling American Pharoah as the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years. Jerry is always looking to repeat his 2012 Triple Crown success, when he selected the winning horses for The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes. Jerry looks forward to working with everyone and making money for anyone who invests in his picks on a daily basis. Join Jerry daily with picks from
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