At the Gate – Friday

We were off the turf again at Belmont Park on Thursday and while the weather is on the improve heading into the weekend it seems likely we will be off the grass on Friday.

We will take a trip north of the border on Saturday as it is Canadian International Day at Woodbine and we have four graded stakes on tap.

Leading the way is the $800,000 Canadian International (G1) at 1 ½ miles on turf with a field of 11 heading to the gate in a competitive affair.

The European invader Thundering Bear is the 2-1 morning line favorite and is coming off a win in Sweden in Group 3 company. In his previous start he was a solid third behind a highly regarded pair of runners in Roaring Lion and Poet’s Word in the Juddmonte International Stakes (G1).

The $500,000 E.P. Taylor (G1) is the co-feature. A field of nine fillies and mares will go 1 ¼ miles on turf. Trainer Chad Brown sends out a trio of runners including the 5-2 morning line favorite Santa Monica, who was second in the Glen Falls (G2) at Saratoga in her last outing.

Also on the card are the $250,000 Nearctic (G2) and the $125,000 Ontario Derby (G3).

At Keeneland on Saturday we have the final Grade 1 race of the fall meeting. A field of eight three-year-old fillies head to the gate in the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1).

The Brown trained Rushing Fall is the 7-5 morning line favorite. She has won five of her six career starts and is not pointing toward the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1). She has won both of her starts at Keeneland and looks tough, but I have a filly that has a good shot of pulling off the upset.

All of the stakes action will be in Saturday’s Best Play Report.

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

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 Md Sp Wt (1:30 ET)
#6 Propagate 9-2
#2 Sargeant Drive / 2b Hierarchy 6-5
#1 Argonne / 1a Zealous 2-1
#5 Strategic Outlook 6-1

: With rain in the forecast throughout the afternoon and overnight I am assuming we are off the turf again today. Propagate makes his debut for the Brown barn that is 20% winners with first timers. The gelding was a $75,000 Keeneland purchase by Lemon Drop Kid out of a Unbridled's Song mare that has dropped two foals to race with one dirt winner. Solid works on the morning tab and this guy likely would not mind if the track is still wet today.

Sargeant Drive prompted the early pace and weakened to finish fourth last out going 1 1/2 miles on turf. The colt was beaten double digit lengths in both of his maiden track tires but those came in his first two career outings. He was a good third and placed second two back over the turf her at 1 1/4 miles. Entrymate Hierarchy made a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot last out over good turf at a mile in his third career start. Two back he rallied to finish third behind a pair of next out winners. Blinkers go on for the Shug barn and this guy has worked well over the main track here.

WIN: #6 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 2,6 / 1,2,6
TRI: no play

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

BEL Race 8 Alw $50,000s (5:18 ET)
#7 Singapore Trader 9-2
#8 Consensus Thinking 5-2
#1 Potomac 12-1
#4 Trustworthy 6-1

Analysis: Singapore Trader
tracked the early pace while saving ground, angled out three wide and weakened late to finish third in the state bred Albany behind a loose on the lead gate to wire winner over a racing strip that was kind to speed. The gelding graduated two back for a $40,000 tag against state breds over a wet tack going seven furlongs, drawing away to win by 13 3/4 lengths. The cut back to seven furlongs will suit his guy and he has shown he can handle moisture in the track. Pletcher is 21% winners moving runners from route to sprint. Looks like this guy may still have some upside although the barn has been in a bit of a funk the past few months and is hitting at just a 13% clip here to date.

Consensus Thinking tracked the early pace from the inside and finished strongly to graduate last out going 6 1/2 furlongs at the Spa in his first start off the claim by the RRod barn. The three-year-old earned the top last out speed fig in the effort. He makes his third start of his current form cycle and has shown improvement in each outing. He has a solid off track pedigree if we have a wet track today.

WIN: #7 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 7,8 / 1,4,7,8
TRI: 7,8 / 1,4,7,8 / 1,4,5,7,8

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
R2: #9 Theresa’s Boy 12-1
R7: #1 Compagno / 1a Single Gem 12-1
R8: #1 Potomac 12-1

Good luck today!