Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:56 AM

At the Gate - Saturday

State breds take center stage on Saturday and for my Best Plays Report we will head out to Belmont Park and Laurel Park, both tracks having signature days for the best each state has to offer.

At Belmont Park we have an excellent 11-race card for Empire Showcase Day which includes eight stakes with over $1 million up for grabs. The feature is the $300,000 Empire Classic which drew the smallest field of the day at five, but most of the other races on the card are solid wagering opportunities.

At Laurel Park it is the 34th running of the Maryland Million for offspring of Maryland sires. I cover four of the stakes in today’s Best Plays Report.

The feature is the $150,000 Maryland Million Classic which drew a field of 11. It is a wide-open field and as you can see below I landed on the John Servis trained Forest Fire who should offer decent value if he goes off near his 6-1 morning line odds.

My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my nine strongest plays from Belmont Park and Laurel Park.

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 $66,000N1X (12:20 ET)
#10 Southern King 9-5
#8 Waynes Footsteps 5-1
#3 Graded On a Curve 2-1
#5 Conforto 6-1

Analysis: Southern King has just two starts on turf and they were both solid. Last out the gelding was at the back of the pack early and came with a good late rally to finish a close up third at this level, beaten a half-length for the top spot going a mile. He rallied to finish third in his first go on turf three back at the Spa going nine furlongs. Looks as if he may get an honest pace to run at and may still have some upside on turf in just his third trip. He is out of a Yes It's True mare that has dropped one turf winner.

Waynes Footsteps took the field gate to wire to break his maiden last out here going a mile in his seventh career start. The third-place finisher Quiet Out East came back to graduate in his next outing for a $40,000 tag on Oct. 10. He has landed din the money in six of his seven career starts and this is not a very imposing group of Alw-1 foes here.

WIN: #10 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 8,10 / 3,5,8,10
TRI: 8,10 / 3,5,8,10 / 3,5,8,9,10

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

BEL Race 10 The Empire Distaff Hcp (5:20 ET)
#1 Newly Minted 5-2
#6 Out of Orbit 8-1
#5 No Hayne No Gayne 12-1
#10 Ratajkowski 3-1

Analysis: Newly Minted pressed the early pace and drew clear to win the state bred Feet Indian by nine lengths at 1 1/8 miles at Saratoga last out off a two-month break. The filly has now won four of her five career starts with three stakes wins. She faces older for the first time here but looks capable of handling it. She draws the rail and owns a good edge in early and mid pace numbers. The cut back to a one turn mile should suit her. She put in a good breeze on Sept. 27 and she will be tough in this spot.

Out of Orbit took the field gate to wire to win the state bred Saratoga Dew last out at nine furlongs at Saratoga. She did it over a racing strip that was playing to outside stalkers and closers. She earned a career top speed fig last out despite racing against the bias and making her stakes debut. She has done some of her best running on the lead and it does not look like she will be on the lead here, but she should get a good trip sitting just off the pace unless Saez is intent on the lead. She has run pretty well at a mile and the 8-1 morning line looks fair enough.

No Hayne No Gayne tracked the early pace and finish gamely to win the state bred Jack Betta Be Rite at Finger Lakes last out at 1 1/16 miles. Her three previous starts were outside of the state bred ranks and she ran into repeat winners in each of those outings including running fifth behind Dunbar Road three back. That filly has gone on to win the Mother Goose (G1) and Alabama (G1). The mare has a couple of wins over the main track here and Asmussen has been sending out live runners at the meeting, wining with 6 of his first 16 starters. She figures to get overlooked on the tote here and she looks as if the cut back to a one turn mile will suit her.

WIN: #1 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,6 / 1,5,6,10
TRI: 1,6 / 1,5,6,10 / 1,5,6,9,10

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

LRL Race 10 The Md Million Classic (4:30 ET)
#7 Forest Fire 6-1
#8 Tappin Cat 10-1
#1 Saratoga Bob 9-2
#11 Torch of Truth 6-1

Analysis: Forest Fire is coming off back to back wins against Pennsylvania bred optional claimers with his top two career speed figs. Last out he set the early fractions and battled on gamely in the stretch to prevail by a neck going a mile. He has won half of his dozen starts but will attempt to get nine furlongs for the first time here. He has a win and a second over the main track here, running second in the Private Terms last March. He gets a jock upgrade to Lopez and looks as if he should be able to handle the extra ground, by Friesen Fire out of a Forestry mare.

Tappin Cat is coming off a sharp win against $25,000 starter allowance foes last out at Delaware Park going six furlongs. His only trip beyond six panels was a runner up finish here in June against Maryland bred or sired runners. The winner and third place finisher came out of that race to win next out. He is by Tritap out of a Broken Vow mare, a decent enough pedigree to handle nine furlongs. The Capuano barn is 17% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from sprint to route. Looks as if this guy is going to be a decent price here in a wide-open race.

Saratoga Bob won this race last year at 7-2 but has won just once in seven starts since. The gelding has not run since a fifth against Alw-3 optional claimers on turf in June. The Voss barn is showing a 2 for 18 mark with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff dating back five years. His win in this race last year was his first trip at nine furlongs. The gelding has done his best work over the main track here, landing in the money in 10 of his 14 trips. He worked seven furlongs and then a mile in his last two works and should be fit enough to handle nine furlongs off the bench.

WIN: #7 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 7,8 / 1,7,8,11
TRI: 7,8 / 1,7,8,11 / 13,7,8,11

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
R4: #2 Therapist 8-1
R5: #2 Dynamax Prime 10-1
R5: #5 Not That Brady 12-1
R9: #6 Kid Is Frosty 12-1
R10: #6 Out of Orbit 8-1
R10: #5 No Hayne No Gayne 12-1
R11: #3 The Honest Town 8-1

Good luck today!

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