Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:04 AM

At the Gate - Sunday

Well, at last we no longer have to talk about the Apollo Curse.
Justify put that curse to bed with an impressive score in the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1) yesterday, making it six straight favorites winning the Run for the Roses.
We were having a mediocre day but after Justify was sent up to press a sharp early pace, just as I envisioned, I could not believe what a good trip our top pick Good Magic was getting.
Jockey Jose Ortiz got the colt out quick and in a good tracking position sitting just off the sharp pace. After looking up and seeing the fractions at 22.24 and 45.77 I thought there was little chance Justify would be able to have enough energy left to finish.
The Bob Baffert trainee put away pacesetter Promises Fulfilled and as they turned for home Good Magic was traveling nicely. I saw Audible was making a move and it looked as if the exacta and trifecta was as good as gold.
However, Justify kicked into another gear and pulled away in the slop to win by 2 ½ lengths under jockey Mike Smith.
The colt returned $7.80 and exacta came back a solid $69.60 and the $1 trifecta with Audible paid $141.40.
To purchase my Belmont Park and Best Plays Reports for Sunday click here .
Here is the opening race from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BEL Race 1 Clm $14,000N3L (1:30 ET)
#6 Asian's Way   7-2
#2 Lipstickonmycollar   2-1
#4 Lady Rullah   5-1
#5 Spinyatta   9-2
Analysis: Asian's Way tracked the early pace, had to wait for some running room nearing the quarterpole, got some room when the foe in front moved over and she finished up ell for a game second, beaten 3/4 of a length for the top spot. The mare looks headed in the right direction form wise and she owns a solid pace profile throughout. A clean trip makes her the one to beat in this spot.
Lipstickonmycollar chased the early pace from the rail and weakened to finish fourth last out against $25,000 starter allowance foes over a wet track at Philly. Englehart claimed this gal for $8,000 out of a win versus non-winners of two. She is 0 for 3 for the new barn two of her three figs fit here as she drops in for a tag.
WIN: #6 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 2,6 / 2,4,5,6
TRI: 2,6 / 2,4,5,6 / 2,4,5,6,7
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 8 The Ruffian G2 (5:18 ET)
#6 Unchained Melody   9-5
#1 Faypien   5-2
#2 Holiday Disguise   3-1
#4 Pacific Wind   4-1
Analysis: Unchained Melody won the Mother Goose (G2) in gate to wire fashion and the pressed the early pace and was pulled up and vanned off in the Alabama (G1). her trainer said nothing was discovered and she was given a three-month break and has been busy in the mornings since. Blinkers go on for Lynch who is 14% winners (with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. I think she is going to come back running.
Faypien won the Harry Henson last out at Sunland Park in a sharp effort in her first go off a three-month break for Baffert. She showed plenty of ability last year winning the Summer Oaks (G2) and running second in the Test (G1). The stretch back out to a mile seems to have suited her and a one turn mile should be right up her alley.
WIN: #6 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 1,6 / 1,2,6
TRI: no play
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Lone Star Park:
LS Race 9 The Steve Sexton Mile G3 (7:06 CT)
#2 Shotgun Kowboy   10-1
#6 Bee Jersey   9-5
#5 Girvin   2-1
#4 Os So Regal   7-2
Analysis: Shotgun Kowboy dueled for the early lead and drew clear in the stretch to a smart looking win against $80,000 optional claimers at Oaklawn Park. The runner up in the race was Rate R Superstar, who came back to win the Bel Ali (G3) at Keeneland in his next outing on April 14. The gelding ran fourth in this race last year but comes in here in better form particularly if you put a line through his outings two and four back on off tracks. he owns solid early and mid pace numbers and horses on or close to the lead have a real advantage over the racing strip the at this distance.
Bee Jersey will also be right up front, last out wiring a field of Alw-2 optional claimers going a mile at Keeneland. He earned a higher number two back beating Alw-1 company at Oaklawn Park. Since coming to the U.S. and landing with Asmussen he has won three of his four starts. He was second in the UAE 2000 Guineas (G3) at Meydan in February of '17.
Girvin makes his first start since last September where he was fifth in the Oklahoma Derby (G3) at Remington Park. He won the Louisiana Derby (G2) and Haskell Invitational (G1) last year both with good late rallies. That might not work here unless the pace is fast and the potential is the of that to happen here. Sharp hits at a 26% clip (with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a +180 day layoff. He likely takes a bit too much attention on the tote here.
WIN: #2 to win at 6-1 or better.
EX: 2,6 / 2,4,5,6
TRI: 2,6 / 2,4,5,6 / 2,4,5,6,7
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: #1 Dynamic War   15-1
R4: #3 Old Upstart   8-1
R10: #4 Crater Rim   12-1
R10: #12 Celtic Serenade   8-1
Good luck today!

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