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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:04 PM

At the Gate - Thursday

The countdown is on to the Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 9 with Justify seeking to become the 13th Triple Crown winner and second for trainer Bob Baffert in just three years.

We have another two weeks to digest what happened in the fog and slop at Pimlico in the Preakness Stakes (G1) which Justify won by a diminishing half length that in some eyes made him go from invincible to vulnerable in the third jewel of the Triple Crown.

Much has been made of his Beyer Speed Figure of 97, a career low after starting off his career with four consecutive triple digit figures.

Some think the colt has done too much too soon and is heading in the wrong direction form wise. Some think his battle with Good Magic in the first six furlongs of the Preakness may have taken some of the starch out of him in deep stretch.

Jockey Mike Smith said once he put away Good Magic he did not see Bravazo coming and there actually was more in the tank. The colt did gallop out well after the race.

Or perhaps Justify just did not care for the sloppy going at Pimlico. Not all off tracks are made the same.

I have some ideas of where I am heading going into the Big Apple, but I will reserve judgement until I see how Justify bounces out of the race and who is going to show up at Belmont Park to try and end his Triple Crown bid.

There is still no word on Florida Derby (G1) winner and Kentucky Derby third place finisher Audible. The colt would likely be the second choice in the betting, but with common ownership with Justify and I am thinking they might bypass the race to give Justify every opportunity to make history.

It should be a fun run up to the race, and do not forget the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival covers three days and there are 18 stakes over the three days of action including three Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In races.

To purchase my Belmont Park Report for Thursday click here .

Here is the opening race from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:

BEL Race 1 Clm $25,000N2L (1:30 ET)
#4 Tale of Mist 3-1
#5 Stronger 2-1
#3 Crea's Bklyn Law 7-2
#1 Maimo 5-2

Analysis: Tale of Mist caught a sloppy track last out and tracked the early pace and made a mild late bid to finish in the runner up spot at this level, beaten 2 1/4 lengths while winning the place spot in a photo. She was on turf two back and ran a good second three back over the main track at the Big A against $40,000 non-winners of two. He is 1 for 21 with 12 seconds and thirds, not the type I like to back. But he catches a pretty modest group of four foe she looks capable of beating here.

Stronger faded to finish seventh last out against $35,000 starter optional claimers going a mile at Gulfstream Park and catches a softer spot here. Two back in his first go off the claim he set the early fractions and weakened to finish third. He was taken for $50,000 three back and fits here dropping in for a $25,000 tag and facing non-winners of two.

Wagering
WIN: #4 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 4 / 3,5
TRI: no play

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:

BEL Race 7 Md $30,000 (4:46 ET)
#3 Flipped 4-1
#4 O Shea Can U See 2-1
#8 Antley's Courage 7-2
#6 Cantakeitanymore 10-1

Analysis: Flipped is back on the main track after stumbled coming out of the gate and making up some ground late in a fifth-place finish against $40,000 state breds. Two back in his first start off the claim by the Diodoro barn the gelding tracked the early pace and finished gamely in a runner up finish, beaten a half-length for the top spot. The barn is 24% winners moving runners from turf to dirt. He is out of a Storm Cat mare that has dropped five winners. The surface switch should get him back on track and he races as a gelding here.

O Shea Can U See just missed by a nose last out at this level back in March at the Big A. He was cutting back from a mile two back against $50,000 state breds where he checked in fourth. A repeat of his last looks good enough to get the job done here for the sharp Servis barn that has started off this meeting going 3 for 6.

Wagering
WIN: #3 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 3,4 / 3,4,6,8
TRI: 3,4 / 3,4,6,8 / 3,4,5,6,8

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
R4: #7 Dynatail 8-1
R6: #4 Zefiro 15-1
R7: #6 Cantakeitanymore 10-1
R8: #1 Jaunt 8-1
R8: #8 Momentiempo 8-1
R9: #2 Heza Kitten 8-1
R9: #5 Can Do Anything 8-1

Good luck today!

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