Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:04 AM

At the Gate - Saturday

We have a Triple Crown bid on the line on Saturday afternoon with the undefeated Justify looking to become just the 13th horse in history to sweep the three spring classics.

Post time for the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) is 6:46 ET and will be televised on NBC. However, before we get to the main attraction, we have an outstanding card on tap featuring nine supporting stakes.

Among those are five Grade 1 races, and three races on the card are Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races. Today’s card may be the best card we see until we get to the Breeders’ Cup this fall at Churchill Downs.

The first Grade 1 on the card is the $750,000 Ogden Phipps and this race for fillies and mares is a Win and You’re In for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). Last year’s Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Abel Tasman makes her second start of the year. She was fourth in the La Troien (G1) at Churchill Downs on Oaks Day.

The $700,000 Acorn (G1) is for three-year-old fillies and this race is one of the most anticipated races on the card. It features a showdown of last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) champ Caledonia Road and this year’s Kentucky Oaks winner Monomoy Girl. Also, in the field is two-time Grade 1 winner Moonshine Memories, who was the beaten favorite in the Juvenile Fillies.

The $700,000 Just a Game (G1) brings together some of the best distaff turf runners and it is a wide-open field of eight. A Raving Beauty, who won the Beaugay (G3) in her U.S. debut for trainer Chad Brown is the 5-2 morning line favorite.

There are plenty of familiar names in the $1.2 million Metropolitan (G1) including Bolt d’Oro who faces older rumens after coming up short in his 12th place finish in the Kentucky Derby. He faces a tough test going up against the likes of Mind Your Biscuits, Good Samaritan and Bee Jersey.

The race before the Belmont is the $1 million Manhattan (G1) for older male turf runners. Beach Patrol, who won last year’s Arlington Million (G1) and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) is the 5-2 morning line favorite.

He faces a solid group that includes Ft. Marcy (G3) winner Robert Bruce and Elkhorn (G2) winner Hi Happy as well as the late running Grade 1 winner Sadler’s Joy.

And then we come to Justify’s date with destiny. Some are talking about his career low 97 Beyer Speed Figure in the Preakness. However, that is still the top last out number.

He has the tactical advantage as he looks capable of grabbing an uncontested lead much like American Pharoah did three years ago.

The question we must ask as horseplayers is whether he is going to offer much betting value at odds of 4-5 or perhaps even less.

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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 (11:35 ET)
#9 Table for Six 8-1
#1 La Moneda 3-1
#3 Out of Trouble 4-1
#6 War Canoe 2-1

Analysis: Table for Six stalked the early pace while saving ground, was bumped approaching the 5/16's and weakened to finish sixth in the state bred Mt. Vernon last out in his first start off a five-month layoff. Two back when shipped to Florida this mare was outrun early and came with a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot against open Alw-1 foes, beaten just 3/4 of a length for the top spot. She was fourth at this condition three back in her first try after taking her time passing her first state bred condition, taking 11 tries. She should be tighter second off the bench for Nicks and drops into a better spot here. Decent value if she goes off near her 8-1 morning line.

La Moneda set the early fractions and weakened to finish fifth last out at this level in the slop in a race taken off the turf and her first go off a 5 1/2 month layoff. The mare broke her maiden over the turf here in her second career start last fall and came right back to beat state bred Alw-1 company in her first start against winners. The switch back to turf will suit her and she figures to rebound off her last outing second off the sidelines.

WIN: #9 to win at 5-1 or better.
EX: 1,9 / 1,3,6,9
TRI: 1,9 / 1,3,6,9 / 1,2,3,6,9

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

BEL Race 10 The Manhattan G1 (5:40 ET)
#10 Beach Patrol 5-2
#8 Sadler's Joy 8-1
#3 Hi Happy 7-2
#1 Robert Bruce 3-1

Analysis: Beach Patrol was a game second last out in the Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) on yielding footing on Derby Day in his first start off a six month layoff, beaten 3/4 of a length for the top spot by the Mott trained Yoshida. Our top pick had a strong '17 campaign winning the Arlington Million (G1) and the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) and then running a game second in the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1), beaten just a half-length by Talismatic. The Brown trainee has been a bit better on firmer footing which it looks as if he should get today. He should get a good tracking trip sitting just off the pace and the 1/4 miles may be his best distance.

Sadler's Joy made a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot ion the Man o' War (G1) last out over good ground here at 1 3/8 miles. He was beaten a half-length by Hi Happy while 4 1/2 lengths clear of the rest of the field, He was third in this race last year and won the Sword Dancer (G1). He needs pace which it looks as if he is going to get today. He gets a jock switch here to Castellano who last rode him in a close up third in the Bowling Green (G2) last summer at the Spa.

Hi Happy was the '15 Triple Crown winner in Argentina and after losing his first four starts in the U.S. landed with Pletcher. He was a good third behind repeat winner Heart to Heart in the Gulfstream Park Turf (G1) in his first start for the barn and then won the Pan American (G2) and Man o' War (G1) here in his last outing. The switch to Pletcher and Saez has suited this guy and it looks as if the cut back to 1 1/4 miles fits him.

WIN: #10 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 8,10 / 1,3,8,10
TRI: 8,10 / 1,3,8,10 / 1,3,8,10,11

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Santa Anita:

SA Race 8 The Honeymoon G2 (4:20 PT)
#4 Ms Peintour 4-1
#8 Paved 3-1
#6 Miss Sienna 4-1
#5 Fatale Bere 5-2

Analysis: Ms Peintour makes her stakes debut here after a sharp win versus Alw-1 optional claimers in her third try at the condition. Her last was flattered when the runner up and fourth place finisher both came back to win their next starts. She is out of the stakes winner Dyna's Destiny ($124,695) and the Koriner trainee appears to still have some upside.

Paved was the beaten chalk last out in the Provendencia (G3) last out where she prompted the early pace and weakened late to finish third behind Fatale Bere. She beat the boys two back taking the El Camino Real over the fake stuff in her first start against winners. She broke her maiden over the grass here at nine furlongs and picks up Stevens. McCarthy is overdue for some luck at the meeting after starting going 0 for 18 with eight landing in the money.

WIN: #4 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 4,8 / 4,5,6,8
TRI: 4,8 / 4,5,6,8 / 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
R1: #9 Table for Six 8-1
R3: #2 Ivy Bell 12-1
R4: #7 Talk Veuve to Me 8-1
R5: #8 Outplay 8-1
R7: #1 Madison’s Luna 8-1
R8: #8 La Coronel 10-1
R9: #4 McCracken 12-1
R9: #5 Good Samaritan 10-1
R10: #8 Sadler’s Joy 8-1
R11: #8 Vino Rosso 8-1
R11: #9 Noble Indy 30-1
R12: #11 Patrick’s Day 10-1
R12: #6 Compass Zone 8-1
R13: #11 Hammerin Aamer 15-1

Good luck today!

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