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At the Gate - Thursday
With no racing in New York on Tuesday or Wednesday, I took some time to do a little early handicapping for the Breeders’ Cup, which is now only two weeks away.
The $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic is setting up to be an intriguing betting race as Game On Dude is going to be the betting favorite, but came up short last year as the beaten favorite in a seventh place finish.
A victory would likely lock up Horse of the Year honors, and he is coming into the Classic undefeated in five starts this year, but what price is fair on the Bob Baffert trainee? has early betting odds for the Classic and the gelding is currently listed at +200 or 2-1. Will Take Charge and Fort Larned are co-second choices at +500 or 5-1.
It sure does not look as if Game On Dude is going to offer any real value in the Classic.
Will Take Charge was beaten a combined 45 lengths in the Triple Crown races, but has risen to the top of the three-year-old division after wins in the Travers (G1) and Pennsylvania Derby (G2) in his last two starts.
Fort Larned is the defending champion of the Classic. The five-year-old pulled off the upset last year as my top pick, returning $20.80.
While Game On Dude is going to be the favorite there is not much that separates the rest of the field. In addition to Will Take Charge and Fort Larned, Mucho Macho Man, Flat Out or Palace Malice could end up as the second choice.
In addition, Paynter and Ron the Greek figure to take some betting action as well. Paynter ran second to Mucho Macho Man in the Awesome Again (G1) and Ron the Greek was the upset winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), the Bill Mott trainee paying $44.00 to win.
We still have a couple of weeks to come up with the winner, but at least at this point, I do not think my top pick is going to be Game On Dude or Fort Larned.
We have a good weekend of betting action coming up including New York Showcase Day at Belmont Park. The best New York breds will be in action in seven stakes with purses that total $1.25 million.
The marquee event is the $250,000 Empire Classic, and I will have my selections and analysis for the race in Saturday’s column.
Breeders’ Cup Classic Future Odds from
Game On Dude   +200
Will Take Charge   +500
Fort Larned   +500
Mucho Macho Man +600
Flat Out   +700
Palace Malice   +800
Declaration Of War   +1000
Paynter   +1200
Graydar   +1200
Ron the Greek   +1200
Cigar Street   +1500
Kettle Corn   +1600
Orb   +2000
Successful Dan   +2000
Moreno   +3000
Hear The Ghost    +4000
Flashback   +5000
Clubhouse Ride   +6500
Camelot   +7500
Out Of Bounds   +8000
Purchase my Monthly Package and receive an entire month of Belmont Park action, Keeneland and Best Plays on the weekends and my two-day Breeders’ Cup Report for just $99.95.
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 (12:50 ET)
6 Fujiana   2-1
4 Brandini   8-5
3 La Java   4-1
1 Prize Taker   6-1
Analysis: Fujiana was bumped coming out of the gate, stalked the early pace and finished evenly last out in a third place finish here last out in her first start off a nine month layoff. She comes back here with blinkers added and figures to be tighter second off the bench. She is out of a stakes placed Housebuster mare that has dropped seven winners including one stakes winner, top earner Josh's Madelyn ($480,309).
Brandini exits the same race as our top pick and coming off a good effort in a runner up finish last out in her first go off a 3 1/2 month break. She was sent off as the betting favorite and while she was no match for the winner in the stretch, she was 3 1/2 lengths clear of our top pick. She owns the top last out speed fig and is the logical one to beat but hoping our top pick offers a bit more value for the top spot.
WIN: #6 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 4,6 / 1,3,4,6
TRI: 4,6 / 1,3,4,6 / 1,3,4,5,6
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 8 The Bowl Game (4:34 ET)
10 Imagining   5-2
8 Atigun   6-1
7 Exclusive Strike   4-1
6 Quick Casablanca   5-1
Analysis: Imagining tracked the early pace, brushed with a rival a couple of times at the top of the stretch and did not have enough punch left late in a sixth place finish in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) at 1 1/2 miles. He drops into a better spot here and the cut back to 1 1/4 miles suits. He won the restricted Idle Rich in gate to wire fashion two back at the Spa going 1 3/16 miles. He has won three of his six starts over the turf here.
Atigun lands with the James Jerkens barn after a troubled trip in the stretch last out in a 10th place finish in the Laurel Turf Cup. The colt makes his third start of his current form cycle and while he has only won one of six trips on turf, he did run well in a runner up finish in the Louisville Handicap (G3) at Churchill Downs back in May. The cut back in distance will help this guy and he figures to bounce back here with a better trip and may end up getting overlooked on the tote.
WIN: #10 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 8,10 / 6,7,8,10
TRI: 8,10 / 6,7,8,10 / 2,6,7,8,10
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
R3: #5 See See See   15-1
R4: #5 Quintile   10-1
R6: #9 Edie   10-1
R6: #4 Rock On Baby   10-1
R9: #4 Media Kid   10-1
Good luck today!

Dempsey: At the Gate - Friday
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Baffert thinks Justify has right stuff
Track, fatigue to test Justify at Belmont
Justify wins Preakness Stakes
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Preakness may ultimately land at Laurel
Justify hopes to shine at wet Preakness
Mike Dempsey 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.
The 2015 Triple Crown saw Mike correctly predict American Pharoah to win both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Mike nailed the Exacta and Trifecta in the Belmont Stakes.

Mike had a solid 2014 Triple Crown race season, 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 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.

No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track!

Mike's Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card.

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Jerry Sessa Jerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to 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.

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