Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:57 AM

At the Gate - Thursday

The marquee race at Parx Racing on Saturday is the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G1), but with the scratch of Maximum Security, reducing the field to six, the $1 million Cotillion (G1) is the more attractive betting race.

I spent some time yesterday looking this race over and it a deep and competitive field of 11 three-year-old fillies that will go 1 1/16 miles on the main track. The winner earns a fee-expenses paid trip to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.

The undefeated Guarana is the 9-5 morning line favorite. After breaking her maiden by 14 ¾ lengths at Keeneland in the slop in April she has won the Acorn (G1) and Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) in her last two starts.

The Chad Brown trainee looks as if she still has some upside but is going to be a light price and there are several other very talented fillies in the field.

Among them is Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Serengeti Empress (7-2) who drew the rail and is going to be the likely pacesetter. She is 0 for 2 since winning the Oaks, landing second in the Acorn and Test (G1).

Jaywalk (6-1) won last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) but has won just once in her five starts since. She won the Delaware Oaks (G3) but came up short as the beaten favorite in a runner up finish in the Monmouth Oaks (G3) in her last outing.

Bellafina (6-1) won two Grade 1 races as a juvenile, taking the Del Mar Debutante and the Chandelier, and she won the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) this year.

Street Band (8-1) won the Indiana Oaks (G3) in July and came up short in a third-place finish in the Alabama (G1) last out, beaten 2 ¾ lengths while her jockey Sophie Doyle has trouble getting her to settle in the race.

I will have my final selections and analysis for the Cotillion in Saturday’s column.

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 second race (the opener is a steeplechase) from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:

BEL Race 2 Md $25,000 (3:32 ET)
#3 Fortune Smiles 6-1
#5 Later Cat 3-5
#7 Kazmandude 6-1
#1 Our Honor 9-2

Analysis: Fortune Smiles dueled for the early lead and weakened to finish sixth last out for this tag at the Spa, catching a racing strip that was playing to outside stalkers and close that day. Two back when dropping in for this tag here he tracked the early pace and came with a wide bid, finishing up well for third. He is listed as a gelding for the first time here for the capable Handal barn. Looks as if he has the best shot of knocking off the chalk.

Later Cat finds a weak spot here dropping in for a tag for the first time in his fourth career start. His numbers are going in the wrong direction, beaten less than a length when fifth in his debut behind a repeat winner, but checking in sixth second out and last out weakening to finish seventh. Still his last out speed fig fits against this sow group but tough to get excited about backing him at less than even money.

WIN: #3 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 3,5 / 1,3,5,7
TRI: 3,5 / 1,3,5,7 / 1,3,5,6,7

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

BEL Race 6 OClm $40,000N2X (5:37 ET)
#5 Three to Thirteen 8-1
#6 Carthon 5-2
#1 Control Group / 1a I Love Jaxson 8-5
#7 Durkin's Call 6-1

Analysis: Three to Thirteen prompted the early pace and weakened in the stretch to finish fourth last out at Monmouth Park against Alw-1 optional claimers going a mile and 70 yards, The winner Guns of Steel came back to beat Alw-1 foes in his next start on Aug. 18 at Monmouth Park. This guy has a win over the main track here, breaking his maiden in '16 and ran a decent third here two back against state bred Alw-2 optional claimers. He returns here off a short break for the Breen barn that is 20% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180-day break. The gelding owns solid early and mid pace numbers and the 8-1 morning line looks fair enough to give him a good look in this spot as he returns to the state bred ranks.

Carthon was a game second at this level last out and now is back off a 5 1/2-month layoff here for the Sciacca barn that is 6% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff. He earned solid numbers in his last three starts before going on the bench, each at this condition He broke his maiden over the main track here last May in the mud. The work tab is light but this guy fits if he is tight enough as he is quick and may be the one to catch here.

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

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
R1: #3 Surprising Soul 8-1
R3: #4 Boooby Trap 12-1
R5: #8 Myfirstexwife 8-1
R6: #5 Three to Thirteen 8-1
R7: #3 Bluegrass Parkway 8-1
R7: #6 Carom 2-1

Good luck today!

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