Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:57 AM

At the Gate - Thursday

We are inside of two months until the Breeders’ Cup coming up at Santa Anita on Nov. 1-2, and while we are still about seven months away from the first Saturday in May, the Road to the Kentucky Derby officially starts on Saturday.

The $200,000 Iroquois (G3) at Churchill Downs is the first official points race toward entry into the 2020 Kentucky Derby (G1).

The race is the first of 35 that will determine the 20 starters for the first jewel of the Triple Crown and a field of 10 will line up at 5:26 ET. The race is one of four stakes on Saturday’s card at Churchill Downs.

The colt to watch is the Dale Romans trained Dennis’ Moment. The colt clipped heels and lost the jockey in his debut at Churchill Downs on June 23.

Despite that outing he was sent off as the 4-5 favorite in his second start at Ellis Park and he took the field gate to wire and won by 19 ¼ lengths and earned a lofty 97 Beyer Speed Figure for his effort.

The $400,000 purchase has plenty of pedigree to handle his first trip around two turns, by Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) champion Tiznow out of an Elusive Quality mare.

Among his foes will be Ellis Park Juvenile winner Rowdy Yates, Saratoga Special (G2) runner up Scabbard and Lebda, who beat first level optional claimers by 11 lengths in his last outing.

I will have the graded stakes action from Churchill Downs in my Best Plays Report for Saturday. In addition, we will take a trip north of the border for the $1 million Woodbine Mile (G1) at Woodbine, which drew a field of 11 lead by the filly Get Stormy, who will take on the boys and is the 8-5 morning line favorite.

Now is the perfect time to purchase my Monthly Package. It gives you a month of Belmont Park Reports daily and my Best Plays Report each Saturday and Sunday.

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 Clm $25,000 (3:00 ET)
#4 Glam 6-1
#3 Bareeqa 3-5
#5 Pure Praise 3-1
#2 Vip Nation 4-1

Analysis: Glam was last early and came with a good late rally to get up late and beat $25,000 starter optional claimers last out at Laurel Park. She bounced back after an eighth-place finish two back at Monmouth Park against Alw-1 foes. She came off a three month break three back to rally to beat $30,000 non-winners of two over the turf here. She needs to be closer to the pace here as there is not much early zip signed up, but she showed she could be forwardly placed in back to back races at Tampa Bay Downs in the maiden ranks. She looks like the best option to the chalk and the 6-1 morning line looks fair enough.

Bareeqa was fourth last out against state bred Alw-2 optional claimers at the Spa and finds a softer spot here for the Gargan barn. Her last win came against $16,000 claimers at Gulfstream Park back in January. The mare has racked up a 0 for 10 mark over the Belmont Park turf in her career and while she looks tough here tough to back her at less than even money for the top spot.

WIN: #4 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 3,4 / 3,4,5
TRI: no play

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

BEL Race 6 Clm $62,500 (5:40 ET)
#2 Go Poke the Bear 4-1
#5 Spinning Kitten 5-1
#3 Baffin Bay 5-1
#8 Ian Glass 7-2

Analysis: Go Poke the Bear was third behind a couple of these he faces again today, beaten just a neck and a nose in a three-way photo. The gelding bumped a foe and was forced out wide in upper stretch and bumped with the runner up in deep stretch. He was claimed out of the outing by the Cox barn that is 23% winners first off the claim. The barn lost him for $50,000 three back and dipped back to take him last out for $10,000 less. Maragh pick up the calla and this guy can turn the tables here.

Spinning Kitten exits the same race as our top pick where he was beaten just a neck. He graduated oi his debut for a $20,000 tag after a fifth in his first start against winners here he has run good seconds in his last two starts. With just four starts under his belt he appears to have more upside than most of these. He is in a sharp barn with Gargan and fits here with his best. Decent value if he goes off near his 5-1 morning line.

WIN: #2 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 2,5 / 2,3,5,8
TRI: 2,5 / 2,3,5,8 / 1,2,3,5,8

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
R3: #5 Absentee 8-1
R5: #5 H Man 8-1
R8: #8 Handle With Care 10-1

Good luck today!

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