At the Gate – Wednesday

The big news coming out yesterday is that the likely Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) favorite McKinzie will have a new jockey for the first time.

Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith has ridden the Bob Baffert trainee in all 13 of his career starts including a runner up finish in the Awesome Again (G1) at Santa Anita last Saturday.

The Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman reported yesterday that Baffert will seek out a new rider, giving Smith a chance to pick up another mount.

This is pretty shocking news considering that Smith practically owns the Breeders’ Cup. He is the all-time leading rider in wins with 26 and earnings, with nearly $36 million.

Smith has won the Classic four times, the most recent coming with Arrogate in 2016, who was trained by Baffert.

This week is the final big week of Breeders’ Cup preps, with two “Win and You’re In” races on Friday, eight on Saturday and seven more on Sunday.

I will include all of the key preps in my Best Plays Report over the weekend.

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 and Best Plays Reports for Wednesday click here.

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

BEL Race 1 Clm $12,500 (1:15 ET)
#5 Moondance Joy 7-5
#1 Princess Victoria 6-5
#4 Letmetakethiscall 6-1
#3 Miss Loyalty 8-1

Analysis: Moondance Joy
caught a sloppy track last out against state bred $25,000 claimers where the mare stalked the early pace while saving ground and did not have enough punch left late in a fifth-place finish. The winner and third place finisher came out of that race to win next out. She makes her third start off the claim by the Noda barn and she has run well over the main track here.

Princess Victoria cuts back to a route and on the main track after a fifth last out going long on turf. He won over the slop two back against restricted $20,000 foes. He drops into a softer spot here tagged for $12,500 for the RRod barn.

WIN: #5 to win at 7-5 or better.
EX: 1,5 / 1,4,5
TRI: no play

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

BEL Race 7 Alw $40,000s (4:40 ET)
#2 Sentry 9-2
#5 Lemonist 8-5
#1 Siding Spring 7-2
#7 Scholar Athlete 5-1

Analysis: Sentry
was outrun early and came up the inside with a good late rally to get up and beat Alw-2 optional claimers last out at Colonial Downs going a mile. The Shug trainee was a game second at this level two back at Saratoga going nine furlongs. The winner of that race was Dontblamerocket, who came back to beat $25,000 starter allowance foes in his next start at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 8. He is 0 for 6 over the turf here but looks well spotted and has been running consistent figures over his last four starts.

Lemonist tracked the early pace and finished evenly in a third-place finish last out here going nine furlongs against Alw-3 optional claimers. His last win came against Alw-1 foes at Gulfstream Park back in February and he has landed in the money in four of his last five starts without winning but fits well in this spot for Pletcher. He does have a habit of landing for minor shares and our top pick is likely going to offer more value for the top spot.

WIN: #2 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 2,5 / 1,2,5,7
TRI: 2,5 / 1,2,5,7 / 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 Miss Loyalty 8-1
R2: #3 Paradiso 12-1
R5: #4 Bears Mafia 8-1
R8: #4 Tiple 12-1

Good luck today!