Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:02 AM
At the Gate - Saturday
We have six Breeders’ Cup Challenge races on tap today as we hit the last major weekend of key prep races for racing’s championship two-day event coming up at Churchill Downs on Nov.2-3.
Two of those races are also Road to the Kentucky Derby points races—the $500,000 Champagne (G1) at Belmont Park and the $500,000 Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland.
It is never too early to think about the Run for the Roses, we are just 209 days away from the first Saturday of May.
The Champagne drew a field of 10 led by the Chad Brown trained Complexity, who took the field gate to wire to break his maiden in his debut at Saratoga going six furlongs. Only two in the field have been a mile.
Kiaran McLaughlin sends out Endorsed, also a maiden winner in his debut and he raced against the track bias that day and gets the call.
The Breeders’ Futurity is a real crapshoot, drawing a full field of 14 runners. Hopeful (G1) winner Mind Control is the 7-2 morning line favorite for trainer Greg Sacco.
Browns sends out Standard Deviation, a smart looking maiden winner in his debut. He gets my call despite a tough post drawing the 14.
We are right back at it on Sunday with six more Breeders’ Cup Challenge races including the $500,00 Flower Bowl (G1) at Belmont Park and the $500,000 Spinster (G1) at Keeneland.
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My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my 12 strongest plays from Belmont Park and Keeneland as well as the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1).
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Here is the opener from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BEL Race 1 Alw $66,000N1X (12:30 ET)
#6 Out of Orbit 8-5
#5 Simona 10-1
#2 Starlet Mission 6-5
#1 Miss Sizzle 4-1
Analysis: Out of Orbit was bumped coming out of the gate, prompted the early pace and came up two lengths short in a third-place finish at this level, beaten 1 1/2 lengths for the runner up spot by our third choice in here. Two back she battled on gamely to miss by just a neck and she also finished ahead of our third choice three back. She owns solid early and mid pace numbers and looks capable of turning the tables back in her favorite in this spot.
Simona appears to the best shot of breaking up a chalky exacta. The filly made a good late rally to finish second against $40,000 non-winners of two in her second start off the claim by the Ryerson barn. She is back with state breds for the first time since breaking her maiden for a $50,000 tag back in February at the Big A. Her recent numbers are coming up light and she is going to need to move forward, but worth tossing in the mix here if she goes off near her 10-1 morning line.
WIN: #6 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 5,6 / 2,5,6
TRI: no play
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 10 The Champagne G1 (5:35 ET)
#1 Endorsed 7-2
#4 Complexity 5-2
#2 Trophy Chaser 10-1
#5 Call Paul 4-1
Analysis: Endorsed stalked the early pace while saving ground after breaking a beat slow, angled out and finished well while drifting out to win by a neck in his debut over a wet track at the Spa going six furlongs. The racing strip was kind to speed that day. The fourth-place finisher Borracho came back to graduate in his next outing on Sept. 15 at Churchill Downs. The colt has plenty of pedigree to handle the stretch out to a mile. he is by Medaglia d'Oro out of the stakes winner Dance Card ($502,200). McLaughlin is off to a good start at the meeting and this colt will only get better with more ground.
Complexity took the field gate to wire to break his maiden in his debut for the Chad Brown barn. The third-place finisher King for a Day came back to break his maiden in his next start on Oct. 4 here with a 93 Beyer. This colt was a $375,000 Keeneland purchase, out of a Yes It's True mare that has dropped three other foals to race, all winners, top earner stakes winner Valadorna ($657,920). The barn hits at a 30% clip moving runners from sprint to route. The colt should get a good trip sitting just off the pace here or he is quick enough to be sent.
Trophy Chaser ran huge at Gulfstream Park in his second start, earning the top last out speed fig in his maiden score in his second career start. The effort did come in the slop where he was 4-5 and drew away to win by 15 3/4 lengths. Two have come out of that race to graduate next out including the runner up Cafe Du Monde, who broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park on Sept. 23 with a 73 Beyer. He steps into much deeper waters here but worth tossing in the mix if he goes off near his 10-1 morning line. He does seem likely to see some action at the windows.
WIN: #1 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 1,4 / 1,2,4,5
TRI: 1,4 / 1,2,4,5 / 1,2,4,6,9
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Keeneland:
KEE Race 9 The Breeders' Futurity G1 (5:14 ET)
#14 Standard Deviation 10-1
#10 Mr. Akeny 12-1
#2 Sombeyay 5-1
#13 Mind Control 7-2
Analysis: Standard Deviation draws a tough post here but willing to overlook hat fact. The colt tracked the early pace and drew clear late to a good looking maiden score at the Spa going seven furlongs in a race taken off the turf. He was well beaten in a short field of six. This guy is bred to go long, by Curlin out of a A.P. Indy mare that has dropped three other winners. The barn is 30% winners moving runners from sprint to route.
Mr. Akeny is one of three in here sent out by the Romans barn that has won this race in three of the last seven years including last year with Free Drop Billy. The colt broke his maiden last out by a neck in his third career start going seven furlongs at Ellis Park. The third and fourth place finishers came out of that race to graduate next out. The $350,000 Keeneland purchase is by Into Mischief out of a Smart Strike mare that has dropped one other winner. The barn is 22% winners moving runners from sprint to route.
WIN: #14 to win at 6-1 or better.
EX: 10,14 / 2,10,13,14
TRI: 10,14 / 2,10,13,14 / 2,8,10,13,14
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” #5 Simona 10-1
R2: #9 Tintoretto 12-1
R2: #4 War Treaty 8-1
R2: #11 Throw Down 10-1
R5: #6 Bluegrass Jamboree 8-1
R6: #1 Tiple 8-1
R8: #2 Teresa Z 10-1
R9: #1 Have At It 8-1
R9: #4 Cullum Road 10-1
R10: 3 Trophy Chaser 10-1
R11: #3 Wantaugh Queen 10-1
Good luck today!