Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:52 AM

Friday's Picks from Belmont Park and Keeneland

We have a huge three days that kick off today with opening day at Keeneland which features a pair of Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races.
Over the first three days of the Keeneland meeting there are nine Breeders’ Cup Challenge races. This year’s Breeders’ Cup will be held at Keeneland on Nov. 6-7.
Saturday is Preakness Stakes Day, a competitive field of 11 lining up in the third jewel of the Triple Crown, 20 weeks later than normal. The race is typically the third Saturday of May. 
And at Belmont Park on Saturday we have an outstanding card with five stakes including the $250,000 Belmont Derby (G1) which is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). 
Things kick off at Keeneland today, the fall meeting conducted with no fans in attendance. The opening day features are the $200,000 Phoenix (G2) and the $350,000 Darley Alcibiades (G1). 
The Phoenix drew a solid field of 12 with the winner earning a free ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). The Patrick Biancone trained Diamond Ops is the 3-1 morning line favorite., The gelding won the Turf Sprint (G2) at Churchill Downs in his last effort but has been better on dirt. 
The Alcibiades drew a field of seven two-year-old fillies with the winner earning a berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). Pocahontas (G3) runner up Crazy Beautiful is the 5-2 morning line favorite. 
My Best Plays Report for Friday includes my nine strongest plays from Belmont Park, Keeneland and the Pimlico Special. 
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.  
To purchase my Belmont Park and Best Plays Reports for Friday and my Preakness Stakes Day Report for Saturday 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 each Saturday and Sunday as well as my Preakness Day Report.
Here is the opener from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:


  • Race 1 Clm $16,000N2L
  • #5 Judicial Restraint   9-5
  • #6 Blood Moon   1-1
  • #3 Super Wicked Charm   5-1
  • #1 Bank Gala   15-1

Analysis: Judicial Restraint tracked the early pace in the slop and finished gamely to pick up his diploma last out fort a $30,000 tag in his third career outing. He ran second two back off a four-month break for a $30,000 tag after a fifth in his debut back in February against maiden special eight foes. Now Brown drops him in for a $16,000 tag for his first go against winners. He catches a pretty soft spot here and shares top last out speed fig honors with our second choice. The open looks chalky.
Blood Moon checked in fifth versus $50,000 starter allowance foes last out in his first start off the claim by the Rice barn. He was taken two back at this level where he ran second as the 4-5 chalk. His numbers in his last four efforts are good enough to beat this group but his price is going to be on the light side. He draws the rail and has some early zip in a race void of much pace. The cut back in distance should suit him.


  • Race 9 The Bertram F. Bongard
  • #7 Lookin for Trouble   4-1
  • #1 Half Right   9-2
  • #5 Thin White Duke   5-2
  • #4 Eagle Orb   2-1

Analysis: Lookin for Trouble is one of four in here exiting the state bred Funny Cide. This colt set the early fractions and weakened inside the final furlong in a third-place finish. Now he needs to stretch his speed out another half furlong and the rail horse has some early zip. I like the jock switch here to Lezcano and if he is able to shake loose early he made be able to take this group gate to wire and turn the tables. He should end up a fair price.
Half Right dueled for the early led and drew clear in the stretch to break his maiden in his debut at the Spa going 5 1/2 in a race taken off the turf. Only one runner he beat has run back, fifth place finisher Forty Two Ace running a good second here on Sept. 25, improving his Beyer by 15 points. With the rail draw this guy figures to be sent and is picking up Castellano. He did not take much action in his debut, sent off at 17-1 in a nine horse field. The 9-2 morning line looks fair enough in this spot.


  • Race 8 The Phoenix G2
  • #9 Lexitonian   4-1
  • #5 No Parole   5-1
  • #3 Whitmore   7-2
  • #4 Diamond Oops 3-1

Analysis: Lexitonian caught a sloppy track last out in the Forego (G1) where he stalked the early pace and then came up short in the stretch in a fifth-place finish last out, beaten 2 1/2 lengths. He came with a good late rally to just miss by a nose two back in the Bing Crosby (G1) at Del mar going six furlongs. This guy was my top pick last out and was 11-1 and the cut back to six panels suits and he should get a good tracking trip. He was a close up third in this race last year, beaten just a half-length.
No Parole set the early fractions and faded to finish ninth last out in the H.A. Jerkens (G1) at the Spa going seven furlongs. This colt has shown flashed of brilliance, winning his first three starts by a combined 34 lengths. He was then beaten 49 lengths in the Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn Park in the slop. He bounced back with his two best efforts, beating optional claimers and then earning a career top winning the Woody Stephens (G1) two back. He owns solid early and mid pace numbers and looking for him to bounce back with a much better effort in this spot.


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: #1 Bank Gala   15-1
  • R4: #6 Undine   8-1
  • R5: #9 Invest   10-1
  • R6: #10 Willing to Speed   10-1
  • R7: #1 Bustinmygroove   8-1
  • R8: #1 Last Opportunity   12-1
  • R10: #8 Money in the Bank   8-1

Good luck today!

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