Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:56 AM

At the Gate - Saturday

The stakes action reaches a new level this weekend with six Breeders’ Cup Challenge races on tap today and another seven on Sunday and we are now inside a month away from the two-day championship event at Santa Anita on Nov. 1-2.

We have three “Win and You’re In” races on the second day of the Keeneland meeting today— the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), the $400,000 First Lady (G1) and the $500,000 Breeders’ Futurity (G1).

At Belmont Park this afternoon the $500,000 Champagne (G1) winner stamps a ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).

And at Santa Anita this afternoon a field of six line up including Omaha Beach in the $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) with a berth to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) up for grabs.

I have included all of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge races in today’s Best Plays Report.

My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my 10 strongest plays from Belmont Park and Keeneland.

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

To purchase my Belmont Park and Best Plays Reports for Saturday click here .

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

BEL Race 1 Alw $25,000s (12:20 ET)
#3 Jump for Joy 7-2
#1 Timely Tradition / 1a Daria's Angel 6-5
#4 My Roxy Girl 2-1
#2 Bertranda 10-1

Analysis: Jump for Joy took the field gate to wire to beat $25,000 starter optional claimers last out, taking advantage of a racing strip that as kind to speed that day. The mare has now landed in the exacta in 13 of her 19 career starts. Not sure she is quick enough to take this group gate to wire but she has shown she can sit off the pace if needed. Kantarmaci claimed this gal for just $14,000 back in March and has won for times with her in six starts.

Timely Tradition stalked the early pace and finished up well for third last out against state bred Alw-2 optional claimers at the Spa in a race washed off the grass. Atras claimed her for $32,000 and she has run second for the barn in each of her three starts for the barn. She has run well over the main track here. Entrymate Daria's Angel return off a three month break here. She dueled for the early lead and weakened to finish fourth last out against Alw-2 optional claimers at Laurel Park going a mile. She is better going a one turn mile and the barn is 0 for 9 with runners coming back off a 61-180 day layoff.

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

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

BEL Race 10 The Champagne G1 (5:22 ET)
#3 Green Light Go 8-5
#1 Alpha Sixty Six 5-1
#7 Tiz the Law 5-2
#4 Three Technique 7-2

Analysis: Green Light Go trainee is perfect in two starts and the likely favorite in here. The colt dueled for the early lead and drew clear late to break his maiden over the main track here by 3 ¼ lengths at 5 ½ furlongs. He came back to win the Saratoga Special (G2) last out at 6 ½ furlongs coming from off the pace. The runner up Scabbard came back to run second in the Iroquois (G3) at Churchill Downs in his next outing and the fourth-place finisher Peruvian Boy came back to run third in the Arlington Washington Futurity. He should have no problem stretching out to a mile. He is by Hard Spun out of the stakes winner Light Green ($167,690) who was a dirt sprinter. The Jerkens barn is 33% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from sprint to route.

Alpha Sixty Six is trained by Todd Pletcher who has won this race six times, the most recent with Daredevil in 2014. The colt was sent off at even money when making his debut here on Sept. 7 in a seven-horse field. The son of Liam’s Map stalked the early pace and came with a good late rally to get up late and win by a neck over Hemlock with another eight lengths back to the third-place finisher. He is bred to handle more ground and has worked sharply since his debut win. The Pletcher barn is 24% winners moving runners from sprint to route. Among the top three in here this guy may end up offering the best value for the top spot if he goes off near his 5-1 morning line.

Tiz the Law earned the top last out speed fig in his maiden win at Saratoga going 6 1/2 furlongs. Sent off at 7-2 for the Barclay Tagg barn. The colt tracked the early pace and took command heading for home, winning with plenty left in the tank, the margin 4 ¼ lengths and it could have been bigger. He missed some time after his maiden score with sore shins but has posted four recent works for a barn that works them fast in the mornings. The colt is out of the stakes winner Tizfiz ($410,944) who was best going long on turf.

WIN: #3 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 1,3 / 1,3,4,7
TRI: 2,3 / 1,3,4,7 / 1,3,4,5,7

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Keeneland:

KEE Race 8 The First Lady G1 (5:04 ET)
#6 Vasilika 5-1
#4 Uni 4-1
#11 Rushing Fall 9-5
#13 Just Wonderful 12-1

Analysis: Vasilika ships in from Southern California for Jerry Hollendorfer and is coming off a nose win in the John C. Mabee (G2) at Del Mar. The mare has won 5 of 6 starts this year after winning 9 of 11 last year. She was a good third two back in the Yellow Ribbon ‘Cap (G2) off a 2 ½ month break. She has won 10 of her 20 starts at today’s one-mile distance. She is versatile, can come from off the pace or sit fairly close. There is not a ton of speed signed up to go here and it looks as if Prat likely will be more forwardly placed in this spot. She has to beat not won but two Chad Brown trainees, but the 5-1 morning line looks fair enough if we get it.

Uni will likely be the higher price of the Brown duo. She took on the boys last out in the Fourstardave Handicap (G1) at Saratoga. The mare was far back early saving ground, had to steady and alter course to the outside and split foes late to get up to finish a good third, missing the place spot by a head. She won the Matriarc (G1) last December to end her ’18 campaign on a good note and won the Perfect Sting two back at Belmont Park off a 6 ½ month layoff. Her lone trip over the turf here came in the ’17 QEII Cup (G1) where she checked in fourth as a three-year-old. She has improved since then and looks as if she is sitting on a good one here third off the bench for Brown.

Rushing Fall sports a perfect record in four starts over the Keeneland turf including the QEII Cup (G1) last fall and the Jenny Wiley (G1) this spring. She has only been beaten twice in her 10-race career, a neck loss in the ’18 Edgewood (G3) and last out in the Diana (G1) at Saratoga over good ground behind her stablemate Sistercharlie, who came back to win the Beverly D. (G1) at Arlington Park on Aug. 10. She draws a tough post but has enough speed to overcome it and Castellano likely sends her early and tries to take this field gate to wire.

WIN: #6 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 4,6 / 4,6,11,13
TRI: 4,6 / 4,6,11,13 / 2,4,6,11,13

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Santa Anita:

SA Race 9 The Santa Anita Sprint Champ. G1 (4:55 PT)
#3 Shancelot 4-5
#4 Flagstaff 4-1
#2 Omaha Beach 8-5
#5 California Street 15-1

Analysis: Shancelot popped a 121 Beyer winning the Amsterdam (G2) two back at the Spa in his stakes debut. We knew he would regress and we played against him last out. He set the early fractions while down along a dead rail and was caught late, landing third while beaten a couple of noses. His speed fig did decrease by 25 points. Navarro now ships him to the west coast and he figures to bounce back enough to beat this group.

Flagstaff tracked the early pace and finished gamely to beat Alw-2 optional claimers at 4-5. He makes his third start of his current form cycle here and has worked sharply since his last effort. He makes his stakes debut here and appears to have the best shot of breaking up a chalky exacta.

WIN: #3 to win at 6-5 or better.
EX: 3,4 / 2,3,4
TRI: no play

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: #2 Bertranda 10-1
R2: #5 Carters Got Sass 10-1
R5: #2 Gidu 8-1
R6: #2 A Freud of Mama 8-1
R6: #4 Pure Wow 10-1
R7: #3 Vintage Print 8-1
R11: #11 Country Grammar 8-1

Good luck today!

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