Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:04 AM

At the Gate - Friday

We have a great dress rehearsal for Belmont Stakes Day on Friday with an outstanding 11-race card that features five stakes.

All systems are go for Saturday as Justify has made quite the impression since landing in New York and he looks ready to become the 13th Triple Crown winner. The question horseplayers must ask is, “Is it worth backing the undefeated colt at 4-5?”

We will worry about that tomorrow as we have to build our bankroll today after Thursday was on the mediocre side of things.

The stakes action on Friday starts with the $250,000 Bed o’ Roses (G3) which drew eight, but several will scratch to run in Saturday’s Ogden Phipps (G1).

American Gal is the 9-5 morning line favorite, but I think Lewis Bay may end up offering more value for the top spot.

The $150,000 Tremont is for two-year-olds going 5 ½ furlongs on the main track and trainer Todd Pletcher will saddle three of the seven runners. But it is the Wesley Ward trained Mae Never No and the Steve Asmussen trainee Sir Truebador that will take most of the betting action.

The $250,000 True North (G2) drew eight but Limousine Liberal will likely scratch to go on Saturday. Bobby Abu Dhabi is the likely favorite while Imperial Hint, Whitmore and Recruiting Ready all have a shot.

Jenny Wiley (G1) winner Sistercharlie is the headliner in the New York (G2) and she faces a tough group. Among her foes are Holy Helena, last year’s Queen’s Plate winner and Daddys Lil Darling, who won last year’s American Oaks (G1).

The Belmont Gold Cup (G2) is a two-mile marathon on the grass that drew a field of 10 including three Euro invaders. The overseas invaders dominated last year but the home team has a good shot this year.

Call to Mind ships here for Her Majesty the Queen and a contender at a price worth a look is Postulation, who won the 1 11/16 mile American St. Leger (G3) last summer at Arlington Park.

My full card report for Belmont Stakes Day is now posted!

To purchase my Belmont Park Reports for Friday and Saturday click here .

Now is the perfect time to purchase my Monthly Package, which will give you a full month of reports from Belmont Park, my Best Plays Report each weekend, and the Belmont Stakes Festival from Belmont Park.

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

BEL Race 1 OClm $100,000C (12:50 ET)

5 Aquaphobia 9-2

8 Almanaar 9-5

6 Ticonderoga 5-2

7 King Kreesa 5-1

Analysis: Aquaphobia returns from a good trip to the west coast where he won two of three starts including taking the Super Bowl at nine furlongs. Last out at this level the Falcone trainee stalked the early pace while in behind foes, had to remain on hold from upper stretch until the 1/8 pole and finished up well when finally clear to finish third. The barn claimed this guy for $25,000 here last September out of an Alw-1 optional claimers and he has run consistent numbers for the new connections. A clean trip makes him a threat here.

Almanaar makes his first start since winning the Gulfstream Park 'Cap (G1) in February of '17. He lost his first two starts here after landing in the U.S. with Brown, then came back off a three-month freshening with back to back 104 Beyers, a neck loss in the Ft. Lauderdale two back. The barn is 30% winners (with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a +180 day layoff. It is a long break and the price may end up on the light side.

WIN: #5 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 5,8 / 5,6,7,8
TRI: 5,8 / 5,6,7,8 / 4,5,6,7,8

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

BEL Race 10 The Belmont Gold Cup Inv. G2 (5:46 ET)

8 Postulation 10-1

1 Call to Mind 7-2

5 Canessar 6-1

4 Funny Kid 5-1

Analysis: Postulation exits the Man 'O War (G1) where the gelding saved ground early, came with a five wide bid and finished evenly in a sixth-place finish, beaten 3 3/4 lengths at 34-1. He was beaten just a head four back in the Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) at Kentucky Downs going 1 1/2 miles and he won the American St. Leger (G3) at Arlington Park before that going 1 11/16 miles. He makes his third start off the bench here and he gets a jock upgrade here to Geroux. By Harlan's Holiday out of a Dansili mare, he looks as if he can handle the stretch out to two miles here.

Call to Mind appears the best of the three Euro shippers and the ran one through four in this race last year. This guy is owned by Her Majesty the Queen and was third last out in the Yorkshire Cup (G2) going 1 3/4 miles in his last outing. Two back off the bench he was fourth in the Finest Surprise Stakes (G3) at Newbury going a 1 1/2 miles behind repeat winner Defoe who won the Dunaden Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Newmarket in his next start and then was third in the Tattersalls Gold Cup (G1) at the Curragh in his most recent outing. The Haggas trainee picks up Castellano and looks primed for a top effort in his third start off the bench here. He is by Galileo out of the stakes winner memory and looks as good as any of these to get the distance.

Canessar made a mild late rally to finish sixth in the Elkhorn (G2) last out at Keeneland off the bench, beaten 2 3/4 lengths. The third-place finisher Itsinthepost came back to win the Charlie Whittingham (G2) in his next start. He won the Laurel Turf Cup in his U.S. debut. He has won at 1 3/4 and 1 7/8 miles overseas.

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

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
R3: #8 Highway Star 8-1
R5: #1 Our Braintrust 12-1
R6: #2 Barahin 8-1
R7: #12 Have At It 12-1
R7: #3 Penalty 12-1
R8: #1 Recruiting Ready 8-1
R10: #8 Postulation 10-1
R11: #10 Hampton Point 15-1

Good luck today!

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