Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:02 AM

At the Gate - Friday

Rain is in the forecast throughout Friday in New York and we will very likely will be off the turf again this afternoon. We have two major Breeders’ Cup prep races on turf to be decided on Saturday, and the forecast will be on the improve.

The $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) drew a field of eight with the winner stamping a free ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).

The Chad Brown trained Robert Bruce, winner of the Arlington Million (G) and an eight-time winner in nine career starts is the 2-1 morning line favorite. His main foes will be Sadler’s Joy (G1), who is better than his sixth-place finish in the Sword Dancer (G1) and Channel Marker (9-2) who was the runner up in eth Sword Dancer in his last outing.

The $200,000 Pilgrim (G3) is for two-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on turf, and while it is not a “Win and You’re In” race it is sure to produce a few starters for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1).

The Todd Pletcher trained Opry is the 9-5 morning line favorite and comes into the race off a victory in the With Anticipation (G3).

It is quite a day of racing come up tomorrow with a total of seven Breeders’ Cup Challenge races, three at Belmont Park and four at Santa Anita, and I will have selections and analysis for each one in tomorrow’s Best Plays Report.

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.

To purchase my Belmont Park Report for Friday click here.

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

BEL Race 1 Clm $14,000N3L (1:30 ET)
#1 Beautiful Buzz 9-5
#5 Letthemooseloose 5-2
#7 Sheplaysthefield 7-2
#3 She'sgothebeat 6-1

Analysis: Beautiful Buzz pressed the early pace and faded to finish eighth last out against straight three-year-olds fillies for a $32,000 tag in her first go off the claim by the Gargan barn. She was claimed two back against $25,000 non-winners of two versus older. The barn finds a good spot here jamming her in for a $14,000 and facing non-winners of three. She owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers and may prove tough to catch here on the bounce back.

Letthemooseloose tracked the early pace and came with a good late rally to finish a close up third last out at Finger Lakes against Alw-3L foes off a 4 1/2-month break. She was a game winner two back at Philly against $25,000 non-winners of two. The barn is 22% winners with runners making their second start off a 45-180-day layoff. She has run well on wet tracks in four trips. Her debut effort was over a wet track and she broke her maiden and we may see a wet track today.

WIN: #1 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 1,5 / 1,3,5,7
TRI: 1,5 / 1,3,5,7 / 1,3,4,5,7

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

BEL Race 8 OClm $40,000N2X (5:18 ET)
#1 Sword Fighter 12-1
#3 Stoney Bennett 5-2
#4 Fleet Irish 8-1
#5 Dezzer 3-1

Analysis: Sword Fighter is back on the main track here and both of his wins have come on dirt. Last out on turf he stalked the early pace and the jock got hit by a clod of turf and fell off. Two back he was fifth but only beaten 1 1/2 lengths over good ground. His last win came in the mud at Oaklawn Park and he is graded stakes placed, running third at Del Mar in the '16 Cecil B. DeMille. The RRod barn is 23% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from turf to dirt.

Stoney Bennett took the field gate to wire to beat $50,000 claimers last out at the Spa as the chalk. It was his first foray outside of the state bred ranks. He rolled over state bred Alw-1 foes two back by 8 3/4 lengths. The Rice trainee makes his third start off the bench here and looks tough in this spot here and won't mind of the track has some moisture in it.

WIN: #1 to win at 6-1 or better.
EX: 1,3 / 1,3,4,5
TRI: 1,3 / 1,3,4,5 / 1,3,4,5,8

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
R5: #4 Mrs. Orb 8-1
R7: #5 Matty’s Magnum 15-1
R8: #1 Sword Fighter 12-1
R9: #6 Spectacular Plum 20-1

Good luck today!

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