Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:58 AM

At the Gate - Friday

It is Black Eyed Susan Day at Pimlico, and we have a 14-race card on tap, mostly large fields and great betting races. The weather looks perfect both in Baltimore and in New York where Belmont Park hosts a nine-race card.

We have seven stakes on the Friday card at Pimlico which has an early post, the first race of 14 going off at 11:30 ET.

The marquee race this afternoon at Old Hilltop is the $250,000 Black Eyed Susan (G2) for three-year-old fillies going nine furlongs on the main track. A field of nine will head to the gate.

The George Weaver trained Point of Honor is the 5-2 morning line favorite. The filly was fourth in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) I her last outing.

Trainer Todd Pletcher sends out two runners and Always Shopping is worth a look at her 4-1 morning line odds. She raced against the track bias in her last two starts and still won. She took the Gazelle (G2) last out and in her stakes debut won the Busanda, both at nine furlongs.

The featured race below is the $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3), which will be run at 1 ¼ miles, an increase over previous years when it was run at the Preakness distance of 1 3/16 miles.

The race is one of the toughest on the card to get a handle on. Pletcher sends out Rally Cry, a lukewarm 9-2 morning line favorite. He makes his second start off the layoff and looks like he could be sitting on a good one.

The $100,000 Hilltop drew a field of 14 while the $150,000 Miss Preakness (G3) at six furlongs drew a full field of 12.

My Best Plays for Friday includes my nine strongest plays from Belmont Park and Pimlico.

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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 $75,000 (1:30 ET)
#2 Teachable Moment 9-2
#3 Spindletop 8-1
#8 Strategic Outlook 5-1
#4 Dillon Rocks 8-1

Analysis: Teachable Moment makes his first start since last September where the gelding tracked the early pace and weakened to finish fifth beaten 10 lengths as the favorite going a mile here over good. ground. The winner Current came back to win the Bourbon (G3) in his next start while the runner up A Thread of Blue came back to graduate in his next outing and has won the Dania Beach and Palm Beach (G3). The Brown trainee drops in for a tag and adds lasix. The barn is 29% winners with runners coming back off a +180 day layoff.

Spindletop returns off a three month break here after fading to finish 10th last out going a mile at Gulfstream Park. His best effort was two back where he made a mild late rally to finish third. The runner up Sea of Hope exited that race to graduate next out on April 6 at Gulfstream Park. The barn is 18% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff. He faces a bit easier here than he did in his last two trips in Florida.

WIN: #2 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 2,3 / 2,3,4,8
TRI: 2,3 / 2,3,4,8 / 2,3,4,6,8

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

BEL Race 8 OClm $80,000N1X (5:12 ET)
#3 Honey Won't 8-1
#7 Front Run the Fed 8-5
#2 Neverland Rock 12-1
#1 Jerome Avenue 8-1

Analysis: Honey Won't faces winners here after a smart looking maiden win last out at Gulfstream Park for a $75,000 tag in his fifth career start. He was fourth two back in his first go for a tag in a highly graded race in which four exited the race to win next out including the winner Forever Mo, who beat $50,000 starter optional claimers and then ran second in a couple of stakes. The colt returns off a two month break here for the Mott barn while cutting back to seven furlongs. The colt has shown enough tactical speed the cut back shod not pose a problem.

Front Run the Fed graduated last out going six furlongs over good ground in his first start off a four-month layoff. He ran well going 7 1/2 furlongs at Gulfstream Park two back in a third-place finish. Brown is 26% winners with runners making their second start off a 45-180-day layoff. This guy still appears to have some upside.

WIN: #3 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 3,7 / 1,2,3,7
TRI: 3,7 / 1,2,3,7 / 1,2,3,4,7

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Pimlico:

PIM Race 10 The Pimlico Special G3 (4:14 ET)
#2 Rally Cry 9-2
#8 Tenfold 6-1
#13 You're to Blame 5-1
#1 War Story 6-1

Analysis: Rally Cry tracked the early pace and weakened to finish fourth last out in the Charles Town Classic (G2) a tough spot for him to return off the layoff. The Pletcher trainee has run some big ones including popping a 110 Beyer wining the restricted Alydar in the summer of '17. He has made just five starts since, but wheels back in less than a month looks like a good sign for this six-year-old. He sports a couple of good works since his last start and should move forward off his last outing.

Tenfold stalked the early pace and tired to finish seventh last out in the Oaklawn 'Cap (G2). Two back off a 6 1/2 month break he was a close up fourth at Fair Grounds in optional claiming company. The winner of that race was Exclamation Point, who came back to beat $75,000 optional claimers and then run a good second in the Oaklawn Mile in his last effort. This guy won the Jim Dandy (G2) last summer at the Spa going nine furlongs. The Asmussen trainee should be ready for a top effort third off the bench and the price on this guy should be fair.

WIN: #2 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 2,8 / 1,2,8,13
TRI: 2,8 / 1,2,8,13 / 1,2,8,12,13

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: #3 Spindletpo 8-1
R1: #4 Dillon Rocks 8-1
R4: #9 Elenzee 10-1
R5: #1 Giuseppe the Great 12-1
R6: #10 Outrageoous Bet 10-1
R6: #4 Fear 10-1
R7: #6 Holloween Horror 10-1
R8: #3 Honey Won’t 8-1
R8: #2 Neverland Rock 12-1
R9: #1 Capt. Courageous 10-1

Good luck today!

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