Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:53 AM

Horse Races Today: Friday's Belmont Park and Churchill Downs Analysis & Odds

Thursday’s feature at Belmont Park, the $80,000 Easy Goer scratched down to a match race, just two left standing when the gate opened.

It was Manny Franco aboard Celtic Strike against the 1-5 Sonneman and I have to say I enjoyed seeing Franco outsmart his fellow jockey Jose Ortiz and go gate to wire, returning $5.50 for win, which sure seemed like an overlay considering the field of two.

Then in the nightcap Franco hooked up with Irad Ortiz Jr. and the two battled on gamely in the stretch with Franco getting Silky Blue’s nose in front at the wire. It cost me the Pick 4, so it was a tough beat, but I have to give Franco a lot of credit for a good finish in the stretch.

Franco moved up to fifth in the current standings at Belmont Park with 11 wins from his 108 mounts. Irad leads all jockeys with 19 with his brother sitting second with 17 winners despite getting off to a really slow start at the meeting.

The feature on Friday is the state bred $75,000 Hessonite for fillies and mares going six furlongs on turf. A compact field of six will head to the gate.

I landed on Mentality, who is 7-2 on the morning line for trainer Wesley Ward. The mare is quick and makes her second start off the bench. She has won four of her six trips over the Belmont Park turf in her career.

She looks capable of taking the field gate to wire and we are probably going to have settle for less than the 7-2 price.

We have a big day coming up on Saturday. We have four graded stakes at both Belmont Park and Churchill Downs and among the stars in action are Midnight Bisou and Serengeti Empress in the Fleur De Lis Handicap (G2) and Tom’s d’Etat in the Stephen Foster (G2).

The Just a Game (G1) at Belmont Park drew a field of seven fillies and mares including Uni, who beat the boys in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Santa Anita.

My Best Plays Report for Friday includes my eight strongest plays from Churchill Downs and Belmont Park.

You can catch the action from Belmont Park and Churchill Downs from 1:00 to 6:00 ET on FS2. In addition, you can stream the action using the TVG App. The horse betting company based in the U.S. is offering a risk free bet up to $300 for new players.

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

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 which will include all the major Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races.

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

Belmont Park Race 1 Analysis - 6/26 (1:15 p.m. ET)

BEL Race 1 Clm $40,000N2L (1:15 ET)

2 Dangerous Edge 7-2

4 Star of the West 4-5

5 Cause of Action 6-1

6 Dr. Devera's Way 6-1

Analysis: Dangerous Edge
raced near the back of the pack early and came with a six wide rally to finish third last out against $25,000 foes in his first start against winners. He caught a racing strip that was playing to inside speed. He adds blinkers as he makes his second start off the claim by Toscano and off a three-month break. Saez picks up the call and he likely will not be as far back here as he was in his last two outings.

Star of the West came off the bench and took the field gate to wire to break his maiden for a $20,000 tag for the RRod barn. he took full advantage of a racing strip that was kind to speed. The barn is 33% winners (with a +ROI) with runners making the second start off a +180-day layoff. He owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers and may prove tough to catch.

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Churchill Downs:

Churchill Downs Race 6 Analysis - 6/26 (3:42 p.m. ET)

CD Race 6 Clm $30,000N2L (3:42 ET)

6 Continuum 6-1

5 Saratogian 5-1

1 Queen's Mason 5-1

10 Unthrottled 8-1

Analysis: Continuum
makes his first start since he graduated in his debut at Remington Park last August for the Asmussen barn. That was a pretty good group he beat, two coming back to graduate next out and two others running second in their next outings. The barn is 19% winners with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. Solid looking works and he looks well spotted here taking on $30,000 non-winners of two.

Saratogian broke his maiden in his debut at Tampa Bay Downs, then was in tough against Alw-1 foes going a mile at Gulfstream Park where he faded to finish ninth at 59-1. He bounced back with a better effort last out in a sixth against $50,000 non-winners of two here at this distance last out. He drops in for $30,000 and he should be sitting mid pack behind what could be a lively pace here. His numbers have increased with each start and another slight jump puts him right in the mix against this group.

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

Belmont Park Race 8 Analysis - 6/26 (5:04 p.m. ET)

BEL Race 8 The Hessonite (5:04 ET)

5 Mentality 7-2

7 Saratoga Treasure 2-1

1 Hannah's Smile 9-2

4 Kid Is Frosty 3-1

Analysis: Mentality
makes her second start off a 5 1/2 month break here for the Ward barn. Last out against Alw-2 optional claimers at Churchill Downs the mare chased the early pace and could not get to the winner late in a runner up finish. She has popped two bullet drills over the grass here and she has won 4 of her 6 trips here. She should be tighter second off the bench for Ward who is 22% winners with runners making their second start off a 45-180-day break. She owns solid early and mid pace numbers and looks capable of clearing this small group early.

Saratoga Treasure raced near the back of the pack early, came with a wide move and then tired to finish a well beaten fifth last out at 26-1 in the Intercontinental (G3) which was won by Newspaperofrecord. It was her first go off a six-month break for the Donk barn. She won her last two starts last year including taking the Autumn Days two back on yielding ground at six furlongs at the Big A. She is better than she showed last out and figures to move forward second off the bench and facing an easier group here.

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: #5 Cobra Sophie 15-1
R9: #2 Vitanza 10-1

Good luck today!

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