Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:58 AM

At the Gate - Thursday

We are just a couple of days away from the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs and we have a wide open betting affair with a full field of 20 heading to the post.

Omaha Beach was installed as the 4-1 morning line favorite but I think his price is going to drift up to 9-2 or 5-1, and if he does indeed go off as the favorite he will be seeking to become the seventh straight public choice to win the Run for the Roses.

Standing in his way is a trio of runners sent out by Bob Baffert—Game Winner, Roadster and Improbable.

Equally wide open is Friday’s Kentucky Oaks (G1), which drew a full field of 14 with a pair of also-eligibles. Bellafina is the 2-1 morning line favorite but she certainly is no lock.

The Simon Callaghan trainee is perfect in three starts this year, winning by a combined total of 18 ½ lengths. However, she only had to beat a combined 11 foes in those three starts.

The three-year-old filly division has already seen plenty of upsets this year. Out for a Spin won the Ashland (G1) at Keeneland at 52-1. Jeltrin won the Davona Dale (G2) at Gulfstream Park at 51-1.

In addition, Street Band won the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) at 11-1 and Lady Apple won the Fantasy (G3) at Oaklawn Park at 10-1.

We may have to deal with Mother Nature as well. Friday does not look bad. There is a and a 60% chance of rain late Thursday night and a 50% chance of rain Friday morning and afternoon. Saturday is not looking good. Right now, there is a 100% chance of rain and some thunder is possible.

Friday’s Kentucky Oaks Day Report is now available. I will have Saturday’s Kentucky Derby Day Report posted by Thursday evening. Depending on how the weather forecast is looking, I may wait a few extra hours, so don’t panic if it is not up yet. There are four grass races on Saturday and I certainly hope the forecast is wrong.

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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 Cambria 5-2
#4 Aurelia Garland 7-5
#3 Sweet Melania 9-5
#5 Talk You Out of It 8-1

Analysis: Cambria along with my second choice are both sent out by Ward so, yeah, we won't see much of a price. The barn has won with 9 of 15 juvenile first timers the past couple of months. Our top pick is by Speightstown out of the stakes winner Teen Pauline ($464,860), who ash dropped one runner, 0 for 1 Principled. Good works and Davis has won with 5 of 9 mounts (with a +ROI) for the barn.

Aurelia Garland was a $185,000 purchase, by Constitution out of a Dixie Union mare that has dropped three foals to race, all winners. She has been working quickly at Keeneland for her unveiling and likely gets bet down off those fast works in Lexington.

WIN: #2 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 2 / 3,4
TRI: no play

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

BEL Race 8 OClm $100,000C (5:18 ET)
#7 Awesome Saturday 7-2
#4 Bon Raison 8-5
#2 Sir Ballentine 5-2
#3 California Night 6-1

Analysis: Awesome Saturday makes his third start off the layoff and is back on the main track here. He was a good third off the bench and then was only beaten two lengths when fourth in the Dangerous Hero last out going a mile on turf at Aqueduct. His career best speed fig came at seven furlongs on the main track in the Commonwealth (G3) last April. The Kimmel barn is just 1 of his last 16 moving runners from turf to dirt but he sports a couple of quick works on dirt since his last effort and looks primed for a top effort here.

Bon Raison is coming off a sharp win versus Alw-2 optional claimers last out. The colt was last early and came with a good six wide run and drew off late to win by 3 1/4 lengths. He won the Peeping Tom two back as the chalk and comes in here very sharp. He owns a solid pace profile throughout but did take advantage of a racing strip that was kind to off the pace types last out and his price may end up on the light side.

WIN: #7 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 4,7 / 2,3,4,7
TRI: 4,7 / 2,3,4,7 / 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
R1: #5 Talk You Out of It 8-1
R2: #1 Willing to Speed 15-1
R3: #3 Seeyouatthebreakers 8-1
R3: #5 Classy Sadie 15-1
R5: #1 Bee’snbee’s 10-1
R6: #9 Block and Plank 15-1
R7: #1 Moondance Joy 10-1
R9: #2 Itsakeyper 8-1

Good luck today!

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