At the Gate – Sunday

McKinzie came off the bench with a sharp effort to win the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) yesterday at Philly, returning $6.00 for the win and it looks as if he will be headed to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

My top pick Hofburg was far back early and mustered a mild late bid to finish fourth. McKinzie was my second choice and along with my third choice Axelrod, who was ignored in the betting at 10-1 we caught a nice recommended exacta that paid $50.50.

The other featured race of the day was the Kelso Handicap (G2) at Belmont Park. My top pick Patternrecognition took the field gate to wire and returned $13.20 with the recommended exacta paying $62.00 and trifecta that returned $164.24 for a buck.

We even lucked out with my top pick Midnight Bisou in the Cotillion (G1). The filly got a less than stellar ride from Mike Smith but the chalk Monomoy Girl drifted all over the track, getting to the wire first by a neck but she was disqualified for interference and placed second. Our top pick paid $10.40.

We have a good card at Belmont Park on Sunday that features three stakes. There is a really good 12 race card at Laurel Park today but eight of the races are carded for the turf and rain is in the forecast.

I was going to head out to Churchill Downs but there is rain in forecast there as well, so I settled on the main track races at Laurel Park and there is a likeyhood there will be an off track.

Now is the perfect time to purchase my Monthly Package for just $99.95. It gives you a month of Belmont Park daily and my Best Plays Report each Saturday and Sunday.

My Best Plays Report for Sunday includes my eight strongest plays from Belmont Park and Laurel Park.

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

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

BEL Race 1 Clm $16,000N2L (1:30 ET)
#6 Desert Lights 9-2
#1 Playwright / 1a Blurred Line 1-1
#5 D'yer Mak'er 5-1
#7 Rockin Jo 5-1

Analysis: Desert Lights
stalked the early pace, came with a six wide bid and finished up well while no match for the winner in a runner up finish last out at this level. The winner Potomac came back to $35,000 non-winners of three in his next outing on Sept. 18 here. The ridgling was claimed out of his last outing by the Kantarmaci barn that is 17% winners first off, the claim. His last was his first start over a fast main track, his first the starts coming in a pair of turf timers and the slop. The barn is capable, and this guy should be a fair price in this spot.

Playwright bobbled coming out of the gate, stalked the early pace and finished evenly in a fourth-place finish at this level last out going nine furlongs at the Spa. Entrymate Blurred Line was fifth last out against $50,000 starter allowance foes and drops into a softer spot here. Gargan claimed this guy for $50,000 back in March and he graduated in his first go for the barn. The class drop make shim tough in this spot.

WIN: #6 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 1,6 / 1,5,6,7
TRI: 1,6 / 1,5,6,7 / 1,2,5,6,7

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

BEL Race 8 The Gallant Bloom Hcp G2 (5:18 ET)
#3 Lewis Bay 9-5
#1 Still There 5-2
#4 Highway Star 10-1
#5 Holiday Disguise 8-1

Analysis: Lewis Bay
pressed the early pace and weakened late to finish third last out in the Ballerina (G1) at the Spa going seven furlongs. The mare cuts back to 6 1/2 and has run really well over the main track here, landing in the exacta in all five trips including winning the Bed of Roses (G3) two back here by 5 1/2 lengths with a career top speed fig. She owns a solid pace profile throughout and looking for her to bounce back with a better effort here on the switch back to Belmont Park.

Still There stumbled coming out of the gate, stalked the early pace and made a mild late run to finish in the runner up spot last out in the ballerina, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of our top pick. She won the Twixt two back at Laurel Park on the switch from turf to dirt. That turf outing was her lone subpar effort and with just five starts under her belt this gal may still have some upside.

WIN: #3 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 1,3 / 1,3,4,5
TRI: 1,3 / 1,3,4,5 / 1,3,4,5,7

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

LRL Race 8 Alw $35,000C (4:00 ET)
#3 Odds On 7-2
#6 Rol Again Question 10-1
#7 Big City Blues 6-1
#4 Magician'scalendar 8-1

Analysis: Odds On
took the field gate to wire to beat Alw-1 optional claimers last out at Delaware Park. This guy owns solid early and mid pace numbers and he has not run a bad one yet. He has not been on an off track but has a solid off track pedigree if the rains come as forecast.

Rol Again Question broke a beat slow, was set up to vie for the early lead, took command and drew clear to beat $10,000 non-winners of three last out at Monmouth Park. This guy has won three in a row and steps into a tougher spot here but looks up to it in his third start off the bench. He has a solid off track pedigree.

WIN: #3 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 3,6 / 3,4,6,7
TRI: 3,6 / 3,4,6,7 / 2,3,4,6,7

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: #8 Epic Dreamer 12-1
R4: #9 Letterman 12-1
R4: #11 Kandinsky 15-1
R7: #4 Munchkin Money 15-1
R7: #7 War Canoe 8-1
R8: #4 Highway Star 10-1
R8: #5 Holiday Disguises 8-1
R10: #5 Quietude 15-1
R10: #4 Middle Out 8-1

Good luck today!