We were off the turf again at Belmont Park on Thursday and while the weather is on the improve heading into the weekend it seems likely we will be off the grass on Friday.
We will take a trip north of the border on Saturday as it is Canadian International Day at Woodbine and we have four graded stakes on tap.
Leading the way is the $800,000 Canadian International (G1) at 1 ½ miles on turf with a field of 11 heading to the gate in a competitive affair.
The European invader Thundering Bear is the 2-1 morning line favorite and is coming off a win in Sweden in Group 3 company. In his previous start he was a solid third behind a highly regarded pair of runners in Roaring Lion and Poet’s Word in the Juddmonte International Stakes (G1).
The $500,000 E.P. Taylor (G1) is the co-feature. A field of nine fillies and mares will go 1 ¼ miles on turf. Trainer Chad Brown sends out a trio of runners including the 5-2 morning line favorite Santa Monica, who was second in the Glen Falls (G2) at Saratoga in her last outing.
Also on the card are the $250,000 Nearctic (G2) and the $125,000 Ontario Derby (G3).
At Keeneland on Saturday we have the final Grade 1 race of the fall meeting. A field of eight three-year-old fillies head to the gate in the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1).
The Brown trained Rushing Fall is the 7-5 morning line favorite. She has won five of her six career starts and is not pointing toward the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1). She has won both of her starts at Keeneland and looks tough, but I have a filly that has a good shot of pulling off the upset.
All of the stakes action will be in Saturday’s Best Play Report.
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Here is the opener from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
Analysis: With rain in the forecast throughout the afternoon and overnight I am assuming we are off the turf again today. Propagate makes his debut for the Brown barn that is 20% winners with first timers. The gelding was a $75,000 Keeneland purchase by Lemon Drop Kid out of a Unbridled's Song mare that has dropped two foals to race with one dirt winner. Solid works on the morning tab and this guy likely would not mind if the track is still wet today.
Sargeant Drive prompted the early pace and weakened to finish fourth last out going 1 1/2 miles on turf. The colt was beaten double digit lengths in both of his maiden track tires but those came in his first two career outings. He was a good third and placed second two back over the turf her at 1 1/4 miles. Entrymate Hierarchy made a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot last out over good turf at a mile in his third career start. Two back he rallied to finish third behind a pair of next out winners. Blinkers go on for the Shug barn and this guy has worked well over the main track here.
WIN: #6 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 2,6 / 1,2,6
TRI: no play
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
Analysis: Singapore Trader tracked the early pace while saving ground, angled out three wide and weakened late to finish third in the state bred Albany behind a loose on the lead gate to wire winner over a racing strip that was kind to speed. The gelding graduated two back for a $40,000 tag against state breds over a wet tack going seven furlongs, drawing away to win by 13 3/4 lengths. The cut back to seven furlongs will suit his guy and he has shown he can handle moisture in the track. Pletcher is 21% winners moving runners from route to sprint. Looks like this guy may still have some upside although the barn has been in a bit of a funk the past few months and is hitting at just a 13% clip here to date.
Consensus Thinking tracked the early pace from the inside and finished strongly to graduate last out going 6 1/2 furlongs at the Spa in his first start off the claim by the RRod barn. The three-year-old earned the top last out speed fig in the effort. He makes his third start of his current form cycle and has shown improvement in each outing. He has a solid off track pedigree if we have a wet track today.
WIN: #7 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 7,8 / 1,4,7,8
TRI: 7,8 / 1,4,7,8 / 1,4,5,7,8
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 Theresa’s Boy 12-1
R7: #1 Compagno / 1a Single Gem 12-1
R8: #1 Potomac 12-1
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! Mike 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 Belmont Park and Churchill Downs 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.
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