Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:52 AM

Thursday's Picks from Belmont

The week kicks off with a solid nine race card at Belmont Park this afternoon and we are just two weeks away from the Breeders’ Cup coming up at Keeneland on Nov. 6-7.

State breds take center stage this Saturday, with Empire Showcase Day at Belmont Park and Maryland Million Day at Laurel Park.

Empire Showcase day features 11 races including eight stakes with $1.2 million up for grabs. There are 109 horses entered for the card so we should have plenty of excellent wagering opportunities.

The highlight is the $175,000 Empire Classic Handicap for older runners going 1 1/8 miles on the main track. A field of eight will line up including Mr. Buff and Funny Guy, who both exit graded stakes company.

This is the 35th running of the Maryland Million, which was conceived by sports broadcaster Jim McKay. The headliner at Laurel Park on Saturday is the $150,000 Maryland Million Classic which drew a field of seven that will travel 1 1/8 miles.

Harpers First Ride is coming off a victory in the Pimlico Special (G3) in his last outing. The Claudio Gonzales trainee has won six of his seven starts over the Laurel Park main track.

I will have my strongest plays from the two events in Saturday’s Best Plays Report.

You can catch the action from Belmont Park today from 12:30 to 5:30 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 Report for Thursday click here .

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 Reports.

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


Race 1 Clm $25,000

  • #2 Catch a Cab 5-2
  • #3 Ghost Giant 4-1
  • #8 Nutzforboltz 2-1
  • #6 Dr. Shane 7-2

Analysis: Catch a Cab stalked the early pace and finished evenly in a fourth-place finish last out against open $20,000 foes. The gelding is back with state breds here and was a good third at this level two back at the Spa. He won for this tag against New York breds four back in July in a sharp effort which was his fourth win over the turf here. Maker is having a solid meeting and this guy fits well in this spot.

Ghost Giant stretches back out to a route after a fourth last out at six furlongs here, beaten two lengths for the top spot. His last win came going long at Aqueduct going 1 11/6 miles against state bred Alw-2 optional claimers. The blinkers come off as he makes his second start since landing with the Duggan barn. The stretch out suits him as does returning to the state bred ranks.


Race 8 OClm $50,000N2X

  • #6 Abiding Star 8-1
  • #7 Ballagh Rocks 4-5
  • #4 Zarkallani 3-1
  • #9 Sentry 5-1

Analysis: Abiding Star set the early fractions and weakened to finish fifth last out against $25,000 starter allowance foes on the main track at Pimlico in a race washed off the grass. Two back this guy set the early fractions and weakened to finish third in the Red Bank (G3) on turf. He has won four time over the grass here and has a couple of stakes wins to his credit. He owns solid early and mid pace numbers and being on or near the lead has worked out well at this meet, mainly because of the lack of aggressiveness nature of this jockey colony. He picks up Saez and the 8-1 morning line looks fair.

Ballagh Rocks is coming off a sharp win in the restricted Lure at the Spa. The runner up Largent came back to win the Bert Allen at Laurel Park and the third-place finisher Devamani came back to win the Knickerbocker (G2) in his next outing on Oct. 18. The Mott trainee no doubt has lost a step or two from his younger day, back in 17-18 he earned five straight triple digit Beyers running in the money in three G1 races.


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

  • R3: #2 Fierce Lady 8-1
  • R8: #6 Abiding Star 8-1
  • R9: #7 Supply Sider 12-1

Good luck today!

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