May 26, 2018
At the Gate - Sunday
The Belmont Stakes (G1) field seems to be growing and the latest addition may be Gronkowski, who put in a good work for trainer Chad Brown and could end up in the field although the trainer will wait to commit until he sees another morning drill.
The colt won the European Road to the Derby but spiked a fever and did not make it to Louisville. He was previously trained by Jeremy Noseda and has been transferred to Brown.
He won his last four starts overseas, taking the Burradon Stakes at Newcastle on the all-weather surface in his last outing.
New England tight end Rob Gronkowski bought an interest in the colt before the Derby and there was some buzz in the mainstream media which would have led to the colt being an underlay on Derby Day, just what us horseplayers wanted to see.
It did not happen, but it could in the Belmont. Aside from Justify the rest of the field is rather unremarkable, and if the mainstream media spends Belmont Stakes week interviewing Gronkowski (the athlete, not the horse), the colt could end up getting too much attention in the betting, helping the prices of the other horses.
Does he have a shot of upsetting the Derby and Preakness winner?
I rather doubt it, but Brown is calling the shots. The $75,000 Keeneland purchase is by Lonhro out of a Lookin At Lucky mare. Lookin At Lucky won the 2010 Preakness (G1).
I doubt Gronkowski ends up on my tickets, but I’ll reserve judgement until I see how he works next week. But I hope he runs and gets plenty of attention leading up to the race.
My Best Plays Report for Sunday includes my eight strongest plays from Belmont Park and Santa Anita.
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Here is the opening race from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BEL Race 1 OClm $40,000N2X (1:30 ET)
5 Blue Atlas 5-1
2 Eloweasel 8-5
4 Purrageous Dyna 5-2
3 Same Kinda Crazy 7-2
Analysis: Blue Atlas dueled for the early lead and faded to finish seventh last out over good ground in her first start off a 5 1/2 month layoff. She is back with state breds here and she broke her maiden and then beat allowance foes in her first start against winners while in the NY bred ranks. Looking for her to show more second off the bench and we should catch a fair pace.
Eloweasel prompted the early pace and battled on until late in a fourth-place finish behind a couple of foes she runs into again today. She was only beaten 1 3/4 lengths for the top spot. She makes her second start off the bench for the Donk barn. She has had a lot of tries at this level and our top pick hopefully is going to offer a bit more value for the top spot.
WIN: #5 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 2,5 / 2,4,5
TRI: no play
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 8 Alw $77,000N1X (5:18 ET)
1 War Chest 12-1
2 Attribute 7-2
4 Compagno 6-1
5 Red Knight 5-2
Analysis: War Chest came off a 3 1/2 month break and checked in third last out against Alw-1 optional claimers. The runner up and fourth place finisher both came back to win next out. The colt graduated in his debut last fall over the turf here and was seventh in the Awad and at this level in his first two starts against winners but was beaten less than three lengths in those starts. He was a $500,000 Keeneland purchase, out of the stakes winner Wine Princess ($461,561), her first foal to race. He needs to pick it up speed figure wise but this guy should move forward second off the bench for Shug and is going to be a decent price.
Attribute set the early fractions and could not hold off the winner late in a runner up finish at this level at the Big A. He is 0 for 7 at this condition, landing second in three of his last four trips and earning solid numbers. He figures to be sent by Carmouche and there is not a ton of early zip signed up to go here.
WIN: #1 to win at 8-1 or better.
EX: 1,2 / 1,2,4,5
TRI: 1,2 / 1,2,4,5 / 1,2,4,5,8
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Santa Anita Park:
SA Race 7 The Black Pearl Stakes (3:46 PT)
6 Factorofone 5-1
7 Special Purpose 2-1
2 Ahimsa 5-2
1 Navajo Dreamer 6-1
Analysis: Factorofone was bumped coming out of the gate raced in mid pack and did not have enough punch in the stretch in a fifth-place finish against Alw-1 optional claimers last out. Two back she earned a career top with a good late rally to finish a close up third, beaten a half-length for the top spot. The winner of that race was Out of the Flames, who returned to win the Mizdirection at Aqueduct on April 15 in her next start. She is out of a stakes placed Pulpit mare that has dropped two other turf winners. She makes her third start of her current form cycle and among the top three here in here she is going to offer the most value for the top spot.
Special Purpose makes her U.S. debut and her first start since a 10th place finish at Newmarket in Group 3 company. Two back at Salisbury in the Dick Poole Stakes (G3) she was beaten just a neck and a nose in a third place finish. The Callaghan barn is 19% winners with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff.
WIN: #6 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 6,7 / 1,2,6,7
TRI: 6,7 / 1,2,6,7 / 1,2,4,6,7
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: #2 U.S.A. Sweetie 8-1
R3: #6 Red Rifle 8-1
R4: #7 Inconvenient Facts 8-1
R4: #8 Raven’s Rabbit 8-1
R6: #10 Orchid Party 8-1
R7: #3 You’re Killin Me 12-1
R7: #4 Change of Venue 8-1
R8: #1 War Chant 12-1
R9: #10 Raging Fire 12-1
Good luck today!