Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:03 AM

At the Gate - Friday

It took three days, but trainer Wesley Ward finally got home a winner at the Royal Ascot meeting, with Shang Shang Shang taking the field gate to wire to win the Norfolk Stakes (G2), stamping a ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, the newest addition to the year end championship event.

On Friday Ward sends out Stillwater Cove in the opener, the Albany Stakes (G3) for two-year-old fillies going six furlongs. The daughter of Quality Road broke her maiden in her debut at Keeneland going 4 ½ furlongs on the main track.

There are two Group 1 races on today’s card at Royal Ascot—the Commonwealth Cup at six furlongs which drew a field of 22 and the Coronation Stakes for three-year-old fillies with 13 going to the post in the one-mile event.

The NBC Sports Network has been broadcasting the races live each morning, and there are some very tough races to handicap, with several fields having 30+ runners.

I have been treading water the first three days of the meeting, but it only takes one or two scores to come out of the five-day meeting with a profit.

Today’s Belmont Park card kicks off at 3:05 ET this afternoon.

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 Md Sp Wt (3:05 ET)
#4 Bronx Bomber 5-2
#5 La Fuerza 6-5
#1 Lumberer 10-1
#2 Semper Paratus 6-1

Analysis: Bronx Bomber debuts for the Kimmel barn that has won with just one of his last 20 firsters, but this colt is working as if he has some ability. He is by Take Charge Indy (12% winners with debut runners) out of a Forest Wildcat mare that has dropped eight foals to race, seven winners and two are stakes winners, top earner Sean Avery ($398,640).

La Fuerza debuts for the Pletcher barn that is 27% winners with firsters. The colt is by Flatter (11% winners with debut runners) and the first foal to race out of a Proud Citizen mare. Solid works on the morning tab and it is not a real tough looking spot but his price is going to be light.

WIN: #4 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 4,5 / 1,4,5
TRI: no play

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

BEL Race 7 OClm $40,000N2X (6:18 ET)
#3 March X Press 8-5
#1 Blue Atlas 10-1
#11 Held Accountable 12-1
#10 Swayed 8-1

Analysis: March X Press is back with state breds for the first time since her debut last summer at the Spa going 5 1/2 furlongs on turf. She won the Bolten landing in her first go against winners and was a game third in the Mizdirection two back, beaten a half-length. She weakened to finish fourth in the off the turf Soaring Softly (G3) in the slop. She will be tough dropping back into the NY bred ranks here for Pletcher.

Blue Atlas is also sent out by Pletcher. The filly cuts back from a route against Alw-1 optional claimers she set the early fractions and faded to finish ninth in her first go off a 5 1/2-month layoff. She won back to back races over the turf here at six furlongs last year and the cut back should suit her here as will the return to face state breds. The 10-1 looks generous but her stablemate looks tough.

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

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: #1 Lumberer 10-1
R4: #2 Lil Commissioner 12-1
R5: #7 Rock Doc 8-1
R6: #6 Karen’s Gem 10-1
R7: 31 Blue Atlas 10-1
R7: #11 Held Accountable 12-1
R7: #10 Swayed 8-1
R8: #2 Life in Shambles 12-1
R9: #11 Lady Camille 8-1
R9: #4 Lila Ruth 8-1

Good luck today!

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