Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:58 AM

At the Gate - Friday

It’s a good thing I did not get a few bets in on whether the Breeders’ Cup would be moved away from Santa Anita this fall because I was pretty sure it was headed elsewhere.
A spate of equine deaths at Sant Anita this year has put Santa Anita in the media spotlight, and not in a good way.
The track has been inspected, new reforms have been put into place, and even a Hall of Fame trainer in Jerry Hollendorfer was told he is no longer welcome at Santa Anita or Golden Gate Fields after his stable suffered four breakdowns.
I thought for sure the Breeders’ Cup would move to Churchill Downs, in the heart of breeding country where the industry has a much better foothold.
However, the Breeders’ Cup announced yesterday they are sticking to Santa Anita for this year’s event, which is coming up on Nov. 1-2.
“Foremost among the core values of the Breeders’ Cup are the safety and integrity of the competition and we hold ourselves, our host sites and our competitors, to the highest standards of both. It is clear that meaningful and effective reforms and best practices have been implemented in recent months at Santa Anita through the collective efforts of The Stronach Group, the Thoroughbred Owners of California, the California Thoroughbred Trainers, and the California Horse Racing Board,” said Craig Fravel, President and CEO of the Breeders’ Cup.
“We fully embrace those reforms and will devote our time and energy in the coming months to further advance those efforts. We look forward to showing the world the best in Thoroughbred racing at one of its finest venues.”
The problem the way I see it is that the meeting at Santa Anita starts on Sept. 26. That means there will be more than an entire month of racing before the Breeders’ Cup.
If there are more breakdowns in October weeks before the event, the heat will be turned up to a level that has never been seen in horse racing.
The media has already picked up on the breakdowns, and PETA has been putting pressure on Santa Anita management.
Stories on equine breakdowns make for good headlines and plenty of clicks on websites, and there are some media sites drooling at the prospect of the next breakdown.
If there happens to be an injury on one of the two Breeders’ Cup days, racing in California could be in real trouble.
Moving the event to Kentucky or even New York would have been the best move.
Now is the perfect time to purchase my Monthly Package for just $99.95. It gives you a month of Belmont Park/Saratoga daily and my Best Plays Report each Saturday and Sunday.
To purchase my Belmont Park Report for Friday click here.
Here is the opening race from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BEL Race 1 Clm $35,000N3L (1:30 ET)
#5 Codrington   8-5
#1 Theaterintheround   7-2
#2 Ladrona   4-1
#3 Puffery   5-2
Analysis: Codrington cuts back to seven furlongs after tracking the early pace while saving ground and making a mild late run to finish in the runner up spot, no match for a five-length winner. She is back with Maker here and makes her third start off a four month break here. Her last win came over the grass here for a $32,000 tag last June going long. She looks as if she should be able to get a good tracking trip on the cut back.
Theaterintheround stalked the early pace and faded to fish eighth last out against state bred Alw-1 foes over good ground in her first start off a seven-month layoff. Both of her wins have come going long on turf but she looks tactical enough she should be able to handle the cut back to seven panels. She gets a jock upgrade to Rosario and in a sharp underrated barn with Handal.
WIN: #5 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 1,5 / 1,2,5
TRI: no play
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 6 OClm $25,000N1X (4:12 ET)
#5 Militiaman   5-2
#4 Rapt   4-1
#6 Hierarchy   3-1
#1 Extraordinary Jerry   3-1
Analysis: Militiaman made a good late rally to get up late and break his maiden in his second career start as the 9-5 betting favorite and at today's 1 1/4-mile distance. The $400,000 son of Broken Vow is out of a Smart Strike mare that has dropped six other winners including three stakes winners, top earner Handsome Mike ($1 million). The Brown trainee still appears to have plenty of upside as he takes on winners for the first time.
Rapt makes his second start off a six-month layoff here for the Rimbaud barn. Last out off the bench the gelding raced last early and did not have enough punch left late in a fifth-place finish in the state bred Kingston. The winner Gucci Factor came back to win the Poker (G3) in his next outing on June 16. This guy has run third in each of his last three tries at this condition. He figures to move forward second off the layoff here and picks up Ortiz. He just has a habit of landing for minor shares and it could be more of the same here.
WIN: #5 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 4,5 / 1,4,5,6
TRI: 4,5 / 1,4,5,6 / 1,3,4,5,6
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: #6 Smidge   12-1
R3: #3 Rucksack   8-1
R7: #8 Rossellini   2-1
R8: #4 Tibr   10-1
R9: #9 Dive Shoot   8-1
R9: #3 Lorri’s Candy   8-1
Good luck today!

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