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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:58 PM

At the Gate - Saturday

The field size for the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) next Saturday increased by one on Friday as the connections of Bourbon War announced they will head to New York for the third jewel of the Triple Crown.

Bourbon War is trained by Mark Hennig and was a disappointing eighth in the Preakness Stakes (G1) in his last outing at just under 6-1, the second choice in the race.

His best effort this year came in the Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park where he ran second. He then as fourth in the Florida Derby (G1), a race won by Maximum Security, who crossed the wire first in the Kentucky Derby (G1) but was disqualified for interference.

The colt will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith.

There were no odds on the colt posted as of Friday afternoon He likely will go off as the third or fourth choice in the race.

Currently Tacitus is the early betting favorite at +150 while Preakness winner War of Will is the second choice at +200.

The feature today at Belmont Park is the $200,000 Pennine Ridge (G3) for three-year-odls going 1 1/8 miles on the inner turf course.

The Chad Brown trained Value Proposition is the 5-2 morning line favorite. The colt was an impressive maiden winner in his debut over yielding ground.

His stablemate Demarchelier (9-2) may end up offering better value. The colt broke his maiden in his debut and then beat first level allowance foes at Keeneland in his most recent outing.

Trainer Todd Pletcher also sends out a pair of runners. Clint Maroon (3-1) took the field gate to wire to win the Woodhaven in his last outing. His stablemate Social Paranoia (7-2) has run third in a pair of Grade 3 races, the Pilgrim last fall and the American Turf at Churchill Downs in his last outing.

My Best Plays for Saturday includes my eight strongest plays from Belmont Park and Santa Anita.

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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)
#4 Real Money 3-1
#9 Readyforprimetime 2-1
#8 Lonhtwist 5-1
#7 Whiskey Victor 7-2

Analysis: Real Money makes his second start off the bench here for the Casse barn. Last out off the bench at seven furlongs over good ground he dueled for the early lead, got clear and then was run down, beaten 2 1/2 lengths. He cuts back to six panels here which should suit him. He is out of a Mineshaft mare that has dropped three other foals to race including a pair of turf winners and two stakes winners, top earner Adorable Miss ($162,590). The colt should be tighter second off the sidelines.

Readyforprimetime stalked the early pace and made a good late rally to finish third in his debut and then rallied to finish in the runner up spot last out going 7 1/2 furlongs. Now he lands with the Rice barn that is 28% winners with newcomers to the barn. He has enough tactical speed he should be able to handle the cut back to six furlongs. The colt has dropped one other runner, a winner on turf.

WIN: #4 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 4,9 / 4,7,8,9
TRI: 4,9 / 4,7,8,9 / 1,4,7,8,9

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

BEL Race 8 The Pennine Ride G3 (5:18 ET)
#3 Demarchelier 9-2
#4 Social Paranoia 7-2
#1 Value Proposition 5-2
#5 Clint Maroon 3-1

Analysis: Demarchelier is one of two sent out by Brown, this gelding is perfect in two starts. He made a good late rally to get up late and break his maiden by a nose in his debut at Aqueduct. He returned off a 5 ½ month layoff and came with a good late rally to beat Alw-1 foes at Keeneland over good ground. The runner up and sixth place finishers both came back to beat Alw-1 company in their next starts. The colt has enough pedigree and the right running style to handle the extra ground. He is by Dubawi out of a Sadler’s Well mare that has dropped one other winner. This guy took action in both of his starts and the 9-2 morning line here looks a bit generous.

Social Paranoia tracked the early pace and came up ¾ of a length short in a third-place finish in the American Turf (G2) last out at Churchill Downs. He lost the place spot in a photo. He trounced maidens two back at Gulfstream Park to earn his diploma. Three back Pletcher thought enough of this guy after four in the money finishes in the maiden ranks to try him in the Pilgrim (G3) here last September and he ran well in a third-place finish over yielding ground. The son of Street Boss makes his third start off the bench here and looks primed for a top effort. He is out of a Deputy Minister mare that has dropped two other turf winners.

Value Proposition is the 5-2 morning line favorite. He was hammered in the betting in his debut in a seven-horse field and did not disappoint. He stalked the early pace, took over the lead handily and held on despite racing greenly and bobbling in deep stretch. He earned a solid number over the yielding turf and still appear to have a ton of upside. He is by Dansili out of the stakes winner Dash To The Front ($38,476) who has dropped six other winners and they have all won on turf including stakes winner Speedy Boarding ($746,200). He completes a strong one-two punch from Brown, but he may end up a light price.

WIN: #3 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 3,4 / 1,3,4,5
TRI: 3,4 / 1,3,4,5 / 1,3,4,5,7

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Santa Anita:

SA Race 7 The Honeymoon G3 (4:03 PT)
#6 Maxim Rate 9-5
#1 Lady Prancealot 3-1
#8 Hostess 5-1
#7 Said It 10-1

Analysis: Maxim Rate is a nose away from being undefeated. She broke her maiden in her debut at 29-1, then was beaten just a nose in the Provendencia (G3). She then came back to win the Senorita (G3) last out on the cut back to a mile. She stretches back out to nine furlongs and she has the pedigree to handle the extra ground. She showed she can be in the mix early or come from off the pace. Her versatile running style will suit her here and she looks tough as the favorite.

Lady Prancealot ran second behind our top pick last out in the Senorita, beaten a half-length. Two back she was just a nose behind our top pick in a third-place finish in the race won by Hostess. She makes her third start of her current form cycle and she will need some pace in front of her, which is in doubt here as there is not a ton of early zip signed up.

WIN: #6 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 1,6 / 1,6,7,8
TRI: 1,6 / 1,6,7,8 / 1,2,6,7,8

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
R4: #4 Tough Times 8-1
R9: #10 Mama Mary 8-1

Good luck today!

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