Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:58 AM

At the Gate - Thursday

The Preakness Stakes (G1) is in the books, and the expiration date of resting on my laurels of selecting War of Will ($14.20) as my top pick is today as we are back in action at Belmont Park this afternoon.

The field for the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 8 is starting to take shape, and it appears War of Will is headed to the Big Apple and likely will face the runner up and third place finishers in the Preakness in Everfast and Owendale.

The early betting favorite is Tacitus at +250. The Bill Mott trainee crossed the fourth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and placed third after the disqualification of Maximum Security.

The colt skipped the Preakness and appears to be coming into the final jewel of the Triple Crown in good shape. Mott won the 2010 Belmont with Drosselmeyer.

War of Will is the second choice in early betting at +375 while the Bob Baffert trained Game Winner is the third choice at +550.

Baffert has not committed to sending Game Winner to New York just yet. The colt was sixth across the wire and placed fifth in the Kentucky Derby. Baffert has won the Belmont three times, first with Point Given in 2001 and then completing the Triple Crown with American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018.

I am thinking Baffert will send the colt to the race and right now the +550 looks like a decent price.

Early Belmont Stakes Betting Odds:
Tacitus +250
War of Will +375
Game Winner +550
Owendale +700
Everfast +1200
Master Fencer +1200
Global Campaign +1400
Intrepid Heart +1400
Sir Winston +1600
Plus Que Parfait +1800
Spinoff +2500
Tax +2500

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 Belmont Stakes Day Report.

To purchase my Belmont Park Report for Thursday click here .

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

BEL Race 1 Md Sp Wt (3:05 ET)
#8 Main Squeeze 5-2
#2 Kiawah Sunset 7-5
#4 Days of Spring 4-1
#6 Lady Fatima 9-2

Analysis: Main Squeeze along with our second choice are both sent out by the Ward barn that has won with 15 of his last 28 juvenile first timers going back three months. Our top pick is by Country Day out of a Not For Love mare that has dropped three foals to race, all winners on dirt. The stablemate has the more attractive turf pedigree but I'm leaning with this gal who has Johnny V. aboard.

Kiawah Sunset was a $300,000 purchase by Uncle Mo out of a Storm Cat mare that has dropped three foals to race with a pair of turf winners, top earner stakes winner Uncle Benny ($274,100). Decent looking works at Keeneland for her debut and she is the logical one to beat but is going to be a very light price.

WIN: #8 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 2,8 / 2,4,8
TRI: no play

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

BEL Race 7 Md Sp Wt (6:14 ET)
#1 Monhegan 12-1
#5 Dyna Passer 3-1
#8 Morelikelythannot 4-1
#9 Beau Belle 6-1

Analysis: Monhegan stalked the early pace and finished up well in a third-place finish last out off a two-month break going nine furlongs at Gulfstream Park. The winner Stefanie On Fleek returned to beat$50,000 starter allowance foes in her next outing on April 10 at Keeneland. Now she returns off a 2 1/2 month break here for the Matz barn that is 17% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff. This gal is out of a Kris S. mare that has dropped four winners and two have won on turf, top earner stakes winner Coal Play ($528,068). Another move forward and she can be in the mix here at a generous price. She has enough pedigree to handle the added ground.

Dyna Passer tracked the early pace and finished gamely but came out and bumped a foe and was DQ'd from second to third. She ran well two back in her first trip on turf in a runner up finish at nine furlongs. A repeat of her last effort and keeping a straight course makes her a player here. She is bred to run all day. She is out of a Dynaformer mare that has dropped four other runners, three winners, all having won on turf led by multiple Grade 1 stakes winner Sadler's Joy ($2.1 million).

WIN: #1 to win at 8-1 or better.
EX: 1,5 / 1,5,8,9
TRI: 1,5 / 1,5,8,9 / 1,2,5,8,9

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
R4: #7 Yamano Maker 8-1
R5: #1 Grassetto 20-1
R6: #9 All Go 8-1
R7: #1 Monhegan 12-1
R9: #4 The Crosheron Kid 8-1

Good luck today!

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