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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:04 PM

At the Gate - Friday

You can sleep in today and get ready for Happy Hour as first post at Belmont Park this afternoon is 3:05 ET. We have a solid nine race card and we have a couple of 12-1 longshots that will be in the mix in the early Pick 5.

We have a long day ahead of us on Saturday with first post at Belmont Park at 1:30 ET and the finale at Churchill Downs coming at 11:10 ET.

The feature at Belmont Park on Saturday is the $125,000 Dancing Renee for state bred fillies and mares going six furlongs on the main track. Holiday Disguise is the 6-5 morning line favorite.

The filly has won six of her nine career starts and won the state bred Critical Eye by a nose in her last outing on May 28. She won the Distaff Handicap (G3) back in April at Aqueduct.

Saturday night we have five graded stakes at Churchill Downs on the Downs After Dark program including a pair of Breeders’ Cup Challenge Win and You’re In races as I discussed yesterday.

The $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) winner stamps a ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and the winner of the $200,000 Fleur De Lis Handicap (G1) earn a starting spot in the gate for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).

Both races will be nationally televised on the NBC Sports Network during a 90-minute telecast that gets underway at 8:30 ET. All of the stakes will be in my Best Plays Report for Saturday.

To purchase my Belmont Park Report for Friday click here.

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

BEL Race 1 Clm $32,000 (3:05 ET)

2 Michael Wonderful 8-5

1 Espresso Caliente 3-1

7 Double Deep 5-2

4 My Pirate 12-1

Analysis: Michael Wonderful came off a five month break last out and made a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot against $40,000 claimers here over good ground in his first start against winners. He graduated last November for a $50,000 tag in his third career start and second on turf. The RRod trainee should be tighter second off the bench here. He is out of a Green Dancer mare that has dropped two other turf winners.

Espresso Caliente exits the same race as our top pick. The colt pressed the early pace, took over the lead heading for home and ran out of gas, weakening to finish fourth, beaten 4 1/4 lengths for the top spot. This guy is the lone two-time turf winner in this field. he beat $35,000 claimers at Gulfstream Park last December. He is 0 for 4 since Gullo claimed him out of a runner up finish for $35,000 and he looks like a good fit here dropping in for $32,000.

WIN: #2 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 1,2 / 1,2,7
TRI: no play

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

BEL Race 7 Alw $77,000N1X (6:18 ET)

9 Battle Station 3-1

1 Ambassador Jim 7-2

8 Yummy Bear 5-2

3 The Crocheron Kid 10-1

Analysis: Battle Station is back on turf for the first time since his debut where he took the field gate to wire at the Spa last summer at 5-1. He won the state bred Bongard in a race washed off the turf in his next start and Ward just kept him on dirt, also winning the state bred Rego Park two back. Last out on the main track here at this level he set the early fractions and weakened to finish third at 6-5. He owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers and Ward, who is having a strong meeting hitting at a 38% clip is 24% winners overall in turf sprints. He returns to turf for his second start off nearly a three-month break and could prove tough to catch.

Ambassador Jim exits stakes company where the colt was fourth last out int eh Paradise Creek going seven furlongs. Two back off a 5 1/2 month break he was sent off as the favorite in the Bridgetown and came with a six-wide run to rally to finish a close up fourth, beaten just 3/4 of a length for the top spot. He looks ready for a top effort here third off the bench for the Clement barn.

WIN: #9 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,9 / 1,3,8,9
TRI: 1,9 / 1,3,8,9 / 1,3,6,8,9

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: #4 My Pirate 12-1
R3: #5 Bon Heir 12-1
R5: #4 Catharsis 12-1
R7: #3 The Crocheron Kid 10-1

Good luck today!

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