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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:58 PM

At the Gate - Saturday

Belmont Stakes Day is here and while we have no Triple Crown to root for, we have been there and done that in two of the past four years.

We have an intriguing matchup of Preakness (G1) winner War of Will and Kentucky Derby (G1) third place finisher Tacitus and I am not sure which one will end up going off favored.

Leading up to the third jewel of the Triple Crown we have seven Garde 1 races. Things could get off to a chalky start however. We have Rushing Fall (4-5) in the $700,000 Just a Game, Come Dancing (6-5) in the $700,000 Ogden Phipps and World of Trouble (1-1) in the $400,000 Jaipur. They all look pretty legit.

However, that only gets us through halfway through the day and the remainder of the card is outstanding including an amazing field in the $1.2 million Met Mile (G1).

A field of nine go to the post in the Met Mile and they have combined to win 32 Graded or Group races and have combined to tally $25 million in earnings.

Much of that was earned by Thunder Snow (5-1), winner of the last two editions of the Dubai World Cup (G1). He has amassed over $16 million in purses himself. He is cutting back from 1 ¼ miles.

Mitole (3-1) is stretching out to a mile for the first time and is coming off a good looking score in the Churchill Downs (G1).

McKinzie won the Alysheba (G2) at Churchill Downs in his last effort for trainer Bob Baffert who has fared quite well on Belmont Stakes Day over the past four years.

Firenze Fire (4-1) won the Runhappy last out, while Coal Front (6-1) won the Godolphin Mile (G2) in his last start.

The following race is the $1 million Manhattan (G1) who drew a field of 10 including four that will be sent out by the Chad Brown barn. If one of these can jump up and beat the Brown quartet it might be Qurbaan, who was a good second in the Old Forrester (G1) at Churchill Downs last out.

After all that action we will have the Belmont Stakes to figure out. On paper it looks like a two-horse race between War of Will and Tacitus, but with the exception of perhaps Joevia (30-1) it would not be a huge stretch to say the rest of the field has a shot of pulling off the upset.

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

BEL Race 1 Alw $92,000N1X (11:35 ET)
#3 Sea Foam 7-2
#5 Principled 2-1
#6 Potomac 7-5
#1 Mo Gotcha 5-1

Analysis: Sea Foam came off a 5 1/2-month layoff with a fifth last out at this level going a mile at the Big A. The inner Expert came back to beat Alw-2 optional claimers in his next start and then ran a good second against Alw-3 optional claimers. Last year this Clement trainee won the state bred Albany at the Spa in gate to wire fashion. He also won the state bred Notebook back in '17. He should be tighter second off the shelf here and this is not the deepest field of Alw-1 foes he could be running into.

Principled pressed the early pace, opened up heading for home and held on to break his maiden in his second career start. He checked in third in his debut last summer at the Spa over a wet track. The $320,000 Keeneland purchase has a nice pedigree, by Medaglia d'Oro out of the stakes winner Teen Pauline ($464,860). This guy has more upside than any in this group.

WIN: #3 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 3,5 / 3,5,6
TRI: no play

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

BEL Race 9 The Metropolitan Handicap G1 (4:46 ET)
#3 Mitole 3-1
#2 McKinzie 5-2
#7 Firenze Fir e 4-1
#4 Thunder Snow 5-1

Analysis: Mitole stretches out to a mile for the first time in his career. Last out this guy could not have been more impressive. he prompted the early pace and drew off smartly to win the Churchill Downs (G1) going seven furlongs, his seventh win in 10 career starts. The Asmussen trainee has not really been tested during his six-race win streak but will today as this is one tough field. He owns sol early and mid pace numbers and looks quick enough to clear but if someone else wants the lead a tracking trip should suit him as well. The barn is 19% winners moving runners from sprint to route.

McKinzie earned a career top speed fig winning the Alysheba (G2) last out at Churchill Downs over a wet track going 1 1/6 miles. He was beaten a tough nose two back in the Santa Anita 'Cap (G1) by Gift Box. His last trip going one turn was four back in the Malibu (G1) where he drew clear to win by 4 3/4 lengths. He owns a solid pace pile throughout and comes in here very sharp.

Firenze Fire tracked the early pace and drew clear to win the Runhappy last out at Belmont Park going six furlongs. His last trip at a one turn mile came in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1) where he was a disappointing fourth, beaten 11 1/4 lengths. Last summer at a mile here he won the Dwyer (G3) by nine lengths with a career top speed fig. He is perfect in his three trips over the main track here. He makes his third start off the bench and should get a good trip mid pack and should see some pace in front of him.

WIN: #3 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 2,3 / 2,3,4,7
TRI: 2,3 / 2,3,4,7 / 1,2,3,4,7

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

SA Race 6 OClm $40,000N1X (2:35 PT)
#4 Great Return 7-2
#2 G Q Covernight 5-2
#3 Tizanillusion 4-1
#7 Fiery Lady 6-1

Analysis: Great Return makes her first start since last September for the Mandella barn that is 16% winners with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. The filly rallied from the back of the pack to graduate in her debut at Del Mar going five furlongs. She returned to finish a good third in her first start at this level as the beaten favorite. She is out of a Prized mare that has dropped eight other winners including three other turf winners and a pair of stakes winners.

G Q Covernight chased the early pace and could not get past the winner in the stretch in a runner up finish last out here off a 10-month layoff. The mare won at this condition going 6 1/2 on the downhill last May and then came up short in two starts against Alw-2 optional claimers. The D'Amato barn is 18% winners (with a +ROI) with runners making their second start off a +180-day layoff.

WIN: #4 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 2,4 / 2,3,4,7
TRI: 2,4 / 2,3,4,7 / 2,3,4,5,7

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
R2: #1 Still Dreaming 8-1
R5: #3 Pacific Wind 12-1
R6: #3 Dirty 12-1
R7: #8 Queen of Beas 12-1
R8: #1 Wendell Fong 10-1
R8: #5 Landeskog 12-1
R10: #4 Qurbaan 8-1
R11: #6 Spinoff 15-1
R11: #8 Intrepid Heart 10-1

Good luck today!

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