Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:03 PM
At the Gate - Saturday
It is the next to last weekend at Belmont Park before we head off to Saratoga fort six weeks and we have a great betting card on tap today with 11 races and five graded stakes.
The highlight is the $1.2 million Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) and there is a 90-minute telecast on NBC today starting at 4:30 ET and then a one hour telecast on Fox Sports 2 that kicks off at 6:00 ET.
The other stakes on today’s Belmont Park card are the $1 million Belmont Oaks (G1), $700,000 Suburban (G2), $350,000 Belmont Sprint Championship (G2) and the $300,000 Dwyer (G3).
We also will head out to Arlington Park where there are four graded stakes, preps for the biggest day of their meeting, the Arlington Million Day card on Saturday, August 11.
One of the most intriguing races on today’s card is the Dwyer which features three Kentucky Derby (G1) also rans including Mendelssohn, who was sent off as the third choice in the Run for the Roses but ended up getting eased.
His final prep was an 18 ½ length tour de force in the UAE Derby (G2) at Meydan and the fact that his trainer Aiden O’Brien ships him back to the U.S. for a dirt campaign instead of looking for a turf spot at home bodes well this guy is going to fire.
Among his foes are Rugbyman who just missed in the Easy Goer by a neck in his stakes debut and Noble Indy and Firenze Fire who were 17th and 11th in the Derby.
The 2017 Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Tapwrit is back in action in the Suburban where he will face Hoppertunity and Dr. Dorr from the Bob Baffert barn and War Story who will be saddled by Jorge Navarro.
The Belmont Oaks drew a competitive field of 10 and I am not sure who will be favored. The top three from the Wonder Again (G3) won by La Signare return and Athena and Capla Temptress invade from overseas.
The Belmont Sprint Championship serves as a Win and You’re In race for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) and drew a solid field of six led by Whitmore, who was beaten a neck in the True North (G2) in his last start and Limousine Liberal, who cuts back to seven furlongs after a third in the Met Mile (G1).
Saturday’s Best Plays Report includes my 10 strongest plays from Belmont Park and Arlington Park including all of the graded stakes action.
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 Md Sp Wt (1:30 ET)
#2 Dillon Rocks 4-1
#4 Social Paranoia 6-5
#6 Meade 3-1
#7 Unionizer 12-1
Analysis: Dillon Rocks may end up a decent enough price with Pletcher sending out a pair in here. The $140,000 Ocala purchase is sent out by the Barbara barn that is choosing a 0 for 4 mark with firsters. Dating back five year the trainer is 1 for 15, the winner coming in '15. Quick works on this guy, who is by Paynter out of a Street Cry mare, her first foal to race.
Social Paranoia ran well over a wet track at Gulfstream Park in his debut, sent off at 9-5 in a field of seven. The colt was 6 3/4 lengths clear of the rest of the field in the effort. The colt was a $75,000 purchase, out of a Deputy Minster mare that has dropped three winners, each an earner of $100,000+. Pletcher is 34% winners with second out maidens. He looks tough but is going to be a short price.
WIN: #2 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 2,4 / 2,4,6,7
TRI: 2,4 / 2,4,6,7 / 2,3,4,6,7
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Arlington Park:
AP Race 8 The Stars and Stripes G3 (5:23 CT)
#9 Canessar 4-1
#4 Arklow 5-2
#5 Nessy 9-2
#2 Catcho En Die 5-1
Analysis: Canessar is cutting back from two miles where the gelding stalked the early pace and made a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot, beaten just a length in the Belmont Gold Cup (G2). He won the Laurel Turf Cup in his U.S. debut going 1 1/2 miles. His Elkhorn (G2) sixth two back was not bad considering he was coming back off a six-month layoff and he was only beaten 2 3/4 lengths. He looks primed for a good effort here for a sharp outfit.
Arklow raced near the back of the pack and finished evenly in a fourth-place finish in the Old Forrester (G1) on yielding turf at Churchill Downs. The Cox trainee was a good second to Synchrony two back in the Muniz, that runner my top pick in today's ninth race. He looks as if he wants more ground and has a pedigree to get it, by Arch out of an Empire Maker mare.
WIN: #9 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 4,9 / 2,4,5,9
TRI: 4,9 / 2,4,5,9 / 2,4,5,7,9
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 10 The Belmont Derby Inv. G1 (6:50 ET)
#4 Hunting Horn 7-2
#3 Analyze It 5-2
#7 Catholic Boy 4-1
#6 Kingstar 12-1
Analysis: Hunting Horn was an impressive winner at Royal Ascot in the Hampton Court Stakes (G3) going 1 1/4 miles, drawing off late to win by 4 1/2 lengths over 15 foes. The colt broke his maiden over heavy ground but showed last out he can handle good to firm footing which should be the case there. He adds lasix to the mix and Moore is over to ride this guy. O'Brien won this race in 2016 with Deauville.
Analyze It tracked the early pace, took over the lead and looked on his way to victory in the Pennine Ridge (G3) until Catholic Boy kicked it in again and got to him late to win by a neck. The Brown trainee won his first three starts, taking the Transylvanian (G3) at Keeneland two back. Was it the added ground or did he just idle late after grabbing the lead. It looked like the latter to me. Looking for him to bounce back and turn the tables today on our third choice in here.
Catholic Boy went down the Kentucky Derby trail, coming up short in the Florida Derby (G1) and the switch back to turf suited him last out. He also won the With Anticipation (G3) at the Spa last summer in his first go against winners. His lone loss on turf fin four starts was his fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) where he was only beaten 1 1/2 lengths and he had some traffic in that trip.
WIN: #4 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 3,4 / 3,4,6,7
TRI: 3,4 / 3,4,6,7 / 3,4,6,7,8
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.
R1: #7 Unionizer 12-1
R2: #4 Gold for the King 8-1
R2: #3 Daddy D T 12-1
R3: #1 Sun Lover 15-1
R4: #8 Holiday Bonus 8-1
R5: #3 Harangue 15-1
R8: #8 Thewayiam 10-1
R10: #6 Kingstar 12-1
R11: #10 Wild William 10-1
R11: #4 Ghost Giant 8-1
Good luck today!