Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:04 AM

At the Gate - Saturday

The better half asked me what we were going to do on “Date Night” on Saturday night. My response was, “Have you ever heard of Downs After Dark?”

I got nothing but a blank stare.

Churchill Downs kicks off their Saturday night at 6:00 ET and features an 11-race card with five graded stakes and they are all included in today’s Best Plays Report. Among the races are a pair of Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races.

Earlier in the day she asked my why I was watching soccer. I attempted to explain it was the World Cup and her response was, “Soccer? You never watch soccer; do you even know any of the teams?”

I explained to her it was “countries” although the U.S. did not qualify. Her response was,” Who cares, don’t they have it every year? Who are you even rooting for?”

I blurted out “It’s every four years” and “Brazil” and told her date night would be Sunday evening.

It looks like I can pull a double today, although I don’t think she is speaking to me now. First post at Belmont Park is 1:30 ET and post for the 11th and finale at Churchill Downs is 11:10 ET.

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

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

BEL Race 1 Clm $12,500 (1:30 ET)
#3 Timely Tradition 7-2
#1 Patriotic Endeavor 4-1
#2 Arewehavingfunyet 2-1
#5 Rotzy Lass 5-2

Analysis: Timely Tradition stalked the early pace and finished evenly in a third-place finish last out in the slop in a race taken off the turf. The filly was making her first start off a five-month layoff for the Clement barn. She has only been on a fast dirt surface once in her career, both of her wins coming in the mud. She beat state bred Alw-1 optional claimers in her first go against winners last March. The barn is 23% winners with runners making their second start off a +180-day layoff.

Patriotic Endeavor tracked the early pace, came with a wide run and could not make up any ground in the stretch in a fourth-place finish last out against $20,000 foes in her second start off the clam by Rice. She beat $25,000 starter optional claimers three back for Ritchey at Laurel Park. The Sis City two back was her first go off a three-month break. She drops into a softer spot here and fits with her best.

WIN: #3 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,3 / 1,2,3,5
TRI: 1,3 / 1,2,3,5 / 1,2,3,5,7

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

BEL Race 9 The Dancing Renee (5:50 ET)
#2 Cozzy Spring 5-1
#5 Holiday Disguise 6-5
#7 Absatootly 3-1
#4 Still There 4-1

Analysis: Cozzy Spring makes her second start off the bench here for the Baker barn. Last out the filly set the early fractions and battled on gamely in the stretch to get beaten just a head against Alw-2 optional claimers in her first go off a 6 1/2-month break. Her lone stakes try was two back in the state bred Iroquois where she set the early fractions and weakened to finish third. She figures to be tighter second off the bench and has done some of her best running over the main track here, landing in the exacta in five of seven trips. She appears to have the best shot of beating the chalk here.

Holiday Disguise has won six of her nine starts including the Distaff Handicap (G3) three back. Last out at a mile she stalked the early pace and finished gamely to get her nose in front to win the state bred Critical Eye over a racing strip that was kind to outside stalkers and closers. Rice is 25% winners moving runners from route to sprint. The cut back to six furlongs and the short price are the main concerns. She needs pace and I have a hunch she may not get it.

WIN: #2 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 2,5 / 2,4,5,7
TRI: 2,5 / 2,4,5,7 / 2,3,4,5,7

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Churchill Downs:

CD Race 8 The Stephen Foster Hcp G1 (9:39 ET)
#8 Irish War Cry 5-1
#6 Backyard Heaven 6-5
#9 Pavel 5-1
#1 Honorable Duty 6-1

Analysis: Irish War Cry took the field gate to wire in the slop to win the Pimlico Special (G3) last out in a good-looking effort. The colt bounced back after a dull sixth in the Hardacre Mile (G2) at Gulfstream Park. When this guy is good he is very good but tosses in clunkers like his 10th in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and his seventh in the Fountain of Youth (G2) last year. He seems to run better when forwardly placed and there is not much early zip signed up to go here. Maybe he can finally put back to back triple digit Beyers together and is going to offer more value for the top spot than our second choice.

Backyard Heaven has won three in a row without really getting tested. He made his stakes debut over the main track here last out in the Alysheba (G2) where he dueled for the early lead and drew clear smartly to win by 4 ½ lengths with a 105 Beyer. He came back off a three-month break two back and beat Alw-1 foes with a 108 Beyer. There is no telling just how good this guy might be. This is just his second start around two turns and his first at nine furlongs. He has enough pedigree, by Tizway out of a Grand Slam mare. His only real knock is his puny price.

Pavel ran a really good third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) last fall at Belmont Park against older in just his fourth career start. But he has not been able to run back to that effort although in his defense he has been in some tough spots. He was fourth in the Dubai World Cup (G1) two back and ran into a sharp Accelerate when fourth in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) in his last outing. These are not as tough as he has been facing in his last five losses.

WIN: #8 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 6,8 / 1,6,8,9
TRI: 6,8 / 1,6,8,9 / 1,4,6,8,9

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
R3: #6 Frosted Mint Chip 8-1
R4: #4 Lion in Wait 8-1
R5: #2 Letterman 12-1
R6: #6 Breeze Burner 15-1
R7: #6 tale of E Dubai 10-1
R7: #5 Too Fast to Pass 12-1
R8: #5 Max Velocity 8-1
R10: #7 Moses Supposes 8-1

Good luck today!

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