Sunday's Picks from Belmont, Santa Anita
September 26, 2020
By Mike Dempsey
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Going into yesterday’s Awesome Again (G1) at Santa Anita it appeared that Maximum Security was well on his way to heading to Keeneland to be the betting favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), but his price is going to be on the rise. His stablemate Improbable came up short in the Triple Crown last year, a fourth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) as the beaten favorite and a sixth in the Preakness Stakes (G1).
The colt was no match for his stablemate Improbable, who drew away smartly to win by 4 ½ lengths, returning $5.60 for the win as my top pick.
I thought the wheels might finally come off Maximum Security, who was previously trained by Jason Servis, who was indicted in March in part of a widespread doping scheme.
The colt was transferred to the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, and he won his first two starts for the barn. The colt won the San Diego Handicap (G2) by a hard fought nose and then looked impressive winning the Pacific Classic (G1), but against a less than stellar field.
He is now at the top of his game after winning his third consecutive Grade 1 race yesterday and heads to the Classic as the one to beat. He won the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) and the Whitney (G1) in his two previous starts.
We have two more Breeders’ Cup Challenge races coming up today at Santa Anita, but they are not good betting races. The $200,000 Zenyatta (G2) drew just four fillies and mares, the winner earning a ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). Later on the card the $200,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G2) drew just five runners.
My Best Plays Report for Sunday includes my 10 strongest plays from Bemlont Park and Santa Anita.
You can catch the action from Saratoga today from 12:30 to 6:00 ET on FS2. In addition, you can stream the action on YouTube or by 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.
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Here is the opener from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BELMONT PARK RACE 1 ANALYSIS (1:00 P.M. ET)
Race 1 Md Sp Wt
#3 Pure Bode 5-2
#6 Gaelic Gold 8-5
#4 I'm Fine 5-1
#1 Twice a Lady 7-2
Analysis: Pure Bode makes her third career start here for the Hennig barn. She finished evenly in a fourth-place finish in her debut going six furlongs here and then last out showed some improvement in a fourth going a mile. She acted up at the gate, prompted the early pace and did not have enough punch left late. Lezcano sticks on this filly who is out of the stakes winner Pure Disco ($496,840) who has dropped three winners and they have all won on turf and two are stakes winners including Pure Sensation ($2 million) who has won 13 times on grass. One more shot here and she may be able to wire this group.
Gaelic Gold stalked the early pace and made a mild late rally to finish third last out at the Spa in her third career start. She was third two back off a 3 1/2-month break and looks primed for a good effort here third off the bench for Clement. She is out of the multiple grade turf stakes winner Hit It Rich ($193,966) who has dropped three winners including one turf winner. The extra half furlong here will suit her and she looks like a major threat here for the hot barn.
BELMONT PARK RACE 8 ANALYSIS (4:42 P.M. ET)
Race 8 Alw $55,000N1X
#4 Three Outlaws 6-1
#10 Freewheeler 5-2
#11 Uncle George 3-1
#8 Veterans Beach 8-1
Analysis: Three Outlaws was bumped coming out of the gate, stalked the early pace and weakened to finish seventh last out at this level. Note this guy has not run well on ground with some give to it and has been much better on firmer ground which he seems likely to get today. Three back on firm ground at the Spa this guy beat $50,000 starter allowance foes and last November he was beaten just a head at this level. He is in a sharp outfit with Atras and looks capable of bouncing back with a much better effort in this spot at a fair price.
Freewheeler dueled for the early lead and weakened in the stretch to finish fourth last out at this level as the beaten favorite. The colt burned some cash two back as well in a runner up finish at 4-5. That effort was off the bench. The Pletcher trainee owns solid early and mid pace numbers and a solid pace profile throughout. He looks primed for a top effort here third off the bench.
SANTA ANITA RACE 7 ANALYSIS (3:41 P.M. PT)
Race 7 Md Sp Wt
#7 Acting Out 3-1
#2 Le Tub 4-1
#5 Wicks and Chappies 20-1
#1 Vegas Palm 6-1
Analysis: Acting Out put in a solid effort on the main track at Del Mar in her debut. She set the early fractions and could not hold off the winner late in a runner up finish, beaten 3/4 of a length at 26-1. She now tries grass here for the Sherman barn and she has a decent enough turf pedigree She is by Blame out of a Speightstown mare that was 0 for 2 on turf, this her first foal to race. She is quick and has worked sharply since her debut effort.
Le Tub stalked the early pace and finished gamely to prevail by a head last out but was DQ'd for bumping a foe a couple of times in the stretch and placed eighth. Two back she made a good late run to finish in the runner up spot at Golden Gate Fields off a five-month break. She is out of a Pulpit mare that has dropped three winners including a pair of turf winners. She gets a jock upgrade here to Rispoli.
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.
R4: #1 Berning Question 8-1
R5: #11 Jen’s Battle 8-1
R7: #5 Highway Bound 10-1
R8: #8 Veterans Beach 8-1
R9: #6 Passive Investing 10-1
R10: #6 Stormy Derby Day 15-1
R10: #3 Minit Maus 20-1
Good luck today!
Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year-round as well as covering the biggest events including the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup.
A professional handicapper and horseplayers for more than three decades, no handicapper in the industry works harder and been more successful in bringing horseplayers analysis that produces profits at the track!
Mike has owned racehorses and knows the racetrack from the backstretch to the finish line.
Mike is in his second decade of producing great results for the readers of Vegas Insider. Among his scores in the Kentucky Derby include winning with his top pick Animal Kingdom who paid $43.80 in 2011 and Super Saver at $18.00 in 2010.
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