Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:58 AM
At the Gate - Saturday
We have the equivalent of a day-night doubleheader today with first post at Belmont Park coming at 1:30 p.m. ET and the final stakes race on the Churchill Down card tonight set for 10:19 p.m. ET.
The feature at Belmont Park is then $100,000 Dancing Renee for fillies and mares going six furlongs on the main track. The Linda Rice barn sends out a pair of runners and they are related.
Holiday Disguise and Midnight Disguise don’t only have similar names, they are half-sisters, both out of the mare Thin Disguise.
Holiday Disguise was sired by Harlan’s Holiday while Midnight Disguise ‘s sire is, you guessed it, Midnight Lute.
We have five graded stakes on tap at Churchill Downs this evening and I included all of them in my Best Plays Report. The feature is the $600,000 Stephen Foster (G2) which drew a full field of 12.
Among the main contenders are Grade 1 winners Yoshida, Seeking the Soul and Gift Box. The winner stamps a free ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
The $250,000 Fleur De Lis Handicap (G2) is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). A field of six will line up led by multiple Grade 1 winner Elate.
She faces off with Blue Prize who was my top pick in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff but had to settle for fourth at 8-1.
She’s a Julie is coming off a victory in the La Troine (G1) over the Churchill Downs main track and adds some depth to the short field.
I am going to give Blue Prize one more shot and she likely is going to be the third choice in the field so we may end up with a fair price.
My Best Plays for Saturday includes my nine strongest plays from Belmont Park and Churchill Downs.
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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)
#4 What's to Blame 7-5
#2 Digital Footprint 6-5
#1 Deft 6-1
#3 Highway Flyer 5-1
Analysis: What's to Blame stalked the early pace, had to wait for running room down along the inside from the 3/8's to the 5/16's and finished up well when getting some running room in a third-place finish. He showed some promise with a fourth beaten three lengths in his debut behind repeat winner Everyonelovesjames, who beat state bred Alw-1 foes in his next outing by 6 1/4 lengths. This guy still appears to have some upside and is in good hands with the Clement barn. he is out of the stakes winner Lenatareese ($223,406) who has dropped six winners and three have won on turf and two are stakes winners, top earner Big Bend ($343,726).
Digital Footprint make his first start since last summer where he was a game second in his debut, then checked in fifth in his second career outing. IN that second start he was beaten 5 1?2 lengths by repeat winner Forty Under, who won the Pilgrim (G3) in his next outing. He returns with blinkers added and as a gelding. The Brown barn is 28% winners with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff.
WIN: #4 to win at 7-5 or better.
EX: 2,4 / 1,2,4
TRI: no play
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 9 The Dancing Renee (5:51 ET)
#2 Holiday Disguise
#5 Midnight Disguise 5-2
#6 Pauseforthecause 7-2
#4 Leah's Dream 9-2
Analysis: Holiday Disguise will appreciate the return to the state bred ranks here after fifth place finishes in the Distaff 'Cap (G3) and Vagrancy ' Cap (G3) in her last two starts. She was a smart winner of the Broadway three back at Aqueduct in her last start against New York breds. She owns a solid pace profile throughout and she has won three times over the main track here in eight trips. She looks primed for a top effort here in her third start of her current form cycle and with the class drop.
Midnight Disguise is out of the same mare as our top pick and the sibs face off for the first time here. This gal is a year younger and has landed in the exacta in 8 of her 11 career starts. She cuts back from a mile where she was no match for Kathryn the Wise in the state bred Critical Eye. her last two sprints came in the seven-furlong Bouwerie and six furlongs against $50,000 starter allowance foes and she won them both. The Rice barn is 26% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from route to sprint.
WIN: #2 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 2,5 / 2,5,6
TRI: no play
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Churchill Downs:
CD Race 8 The Stephen Foster G2 (9:47 ET)
#4 Seeking the Soul 4-1
#6 Gift Box 3-1
#12 Yoshida 7-2
#9 Tom's d'Etat 5-1
Analysis: Seeking the Soul is coming into the race with a third in the Alysheba (G2) last out over wet track here. The six-year-old saved ground early while racing next to last, angled out seven wide and made a mild late bid while unable to get to the top pair. He was eighth in the Dubai World Cup (G1) a month earlier. This guy has done some of his best running at Churchill Downs, winning the 2017 Clark Handicap (G1) and the 2018 Ack Ack (G3) last fall before running a good second to City of Light in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). He seems to jump up when you least expect it and he has worked sharply since his last outing. He looks capable of moving forward off his last outing and should get some pace in front of him here.
Gift Box got run down by Vino Rosso in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) last out, beaten ¾ of a length for the top spot as the beaten chalk. He was better than five lengths clear of the rest of the field. The John Sadler trainee has landed in the exacta in eight straight starts and has earned his top three Beyers since going from the Chad Brown barn to Sadler. He won the San Antonio (G2) and Santa Anita Handicap (G1) in his first two starts for the barn. The Big Cap win two back was off a 3 ½ month break and he looks ready to fire another good one in his third start of the year. The main knock is his price may drift below his 3-1 morning line.
Yoshida makes his first start since a sixth in the Dubai World Cup. This guy is a Grade 1 winner on turf and dirt, last year taking the Old Forrester Turf Classic here and winning the Woodward on the main track at Saratoga. He was our top pick in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at 14-1 and came with a good late run and it looked like he might get there but did not have quite enough punch inside the final furlong, beaten 1 ¾ lengths. He caught yielding footing in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) in his first start this year where he was sixth as the beaten favorite. He draws an outside post and needs some pace, but his best puts him in the mix here.
WIN: #4 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 4,6 / 4,6,9,12
TRI: 4,6 / 4,6,9,12 / 4,6,9,10,12
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.
R4: #3 Rock Jo 12-1
R5: #1 Go Poke the Bear 8-1
R7: #1 Opry 8-1
R8: #9 Dakota’s Dude 8-1
R10: #10 Sporting Art 8-1
Good luck today!