Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:50 AM

Saturday's Picks from Churchill Downs and Belmont Park

It was surreal seeing so many fans at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day and there will be more in attendance this afternoon for an outstanding 14-race card on Kentucky Derby Day.

The festivities kick off early with a first post of 10:30am ET and we have seven stakes on the card including the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1).

A field of 19 will line up in the first jewel of the Triple Crown. Lexington (G3) winner King Fury spiked a fever on Friday and will scratch.

Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale dropped a big bet on the favorite Essential Quality on Friday, sending the colt’s odds down to even money as of 6:40 ET on Friday evening.

Mattress Mack is offering all of his customers at Gallery Furniture a full refund on a mattress purchase of $3,000 or more if the betting favorite wins the Run for the Roses.

To offset the promotion McIngvale wired $4 million to Churchill Downs and plans on hedging his bets with big wagers on Essential Quality. He has mentioned he may wager as much as $2 million to win and will also make some place and show bets as well as exacta wagers.

There was $41 million in the win pool in 2019 so a $2 million win wager will have an effect on the favorite’s odds. The colt was 2-1 on the morning line and likely goes off around that price in a 19-horse field where he probably deserves to go off at around 3-1 or 7-2.

Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner Rock Your World was the early second choice at 9-2 while Hot Rod Charlie was third choice at 9-1.

There was less than $2 million in the win pool on Friday evening so the odds certainly could change. But for those of you interested in wagering on Essential Quality, it would be wise to keep a close eye on the toteboard and the exacta probables throughout the day tomorrow.

With the exception of the $500,000 Derby City Distaff (G1), where Gamine is the 1-5 chalk in a field of six, the rest of the stakes are all outstanding betting races, as are the other races on the card.

In addition, we have an 11-race card at Belmont Park this afternoon. We have three stakes which look to be on the chalky side, but the rest of the card will give us plenty of solid betting opportunities.

My Kentucky Derby Package is now available with my selections, analysis and fair odds line for all 14 races on the card. My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my 11 strongest plays from Belmont Park and Churchill Downs.

The action from Churchill Downs will be broadcast from 12:30 to 2:30 ET on NBCSN and 2:30 to 7:30 ET on NBC. “America’s Day at the Races” on FS2 will be televised from 12:00 to 3:00 and 4:00 to 6:30 ET with the action from Belmont Park and Oaklawn Park. TVG is offering new players up to a $300 Risk Free wager . In addition, AmWager is offering up to a $500 bonus for new horseplayers.

To purchase my Belmont Park, Churchill Downs and Best Plays Reports 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 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes Day reports.

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


Race 1 Clm $16,000N2L

  • #5 Joint and Several 8-1
  • #2 Wardenofthenorth 5-2
  • #8 Spitball 7-2
  • #9 Anzio Beach 5-1

Analysis: Joint and Several caught a sloppy track last out in his first go off a 3 1/2-month break, stalking the early pace and tiring to finish seventh. He broke his maiden over the main track in his debut last fall for a $30,000 tag while in the Abreu barn. He was claimed out of the race by his current connections and has been beaten double digit lengths in all three starts. The first was on the stretch out to a mile and the last two have been on off tracks. He faces a soft spot here and looks capable of a better effort here over a fast track and the surface where he has done his best work.

Wardenofthenorth makes his first start since last October in the mud where he was not a threat in a ninth-place finish at Finger Lakes against allowance foes. The gelding broke his maiden over the main track here three back last July for a $25,000 tag in his second start and first off the claim by Rice. He then was a decent fourth against state bred Alw-1 company. He drops into an easier spot her tagged or $16,000. Rice is 18% winners with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. He fits her but is going to be a short price.


Race 8 The Pat Day Mile G2

  • #4 Defunded 6-1
  • #3 Jackie's Warrior 3-1
  • #5 Prevalence 6-1
  • #8 Dream Shake 7-2

Analysis: Defunded exits the Santa Anita Derby (G1) where he was not only facing winners for the first time it was his first start going long. He was away last, raced wide throughout and made a mild late run to finish fourth. The racing strip that day was kind to horses along the inner paths that day. He broke his maiden two back going six furlongs in his second career start in a sharp looking effort. The $220,000 Keeneland purchase takes the hood off and a one turn mile should suit him. He has worked quickly since his last outing and note Baffert is 42% winners when taking the hood off. Irad gets the call and the 6-1 morning line looks very generous.

Jackie's Warrior reeled off four straight wins as a juvenile and was the early favorite for the Kentucky Derby after winning the Champagne (G1) at Belmont Park going a one turn mile. He came up short in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) in a fourth-place finish as the beaten favorite. He carved out the early fractions and weakened to finish third in the Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park in his three-year-old debut. It looks as if he wants no part of two turns and this looks like a much better spot.


Race 10 The Sheepshead Bay G2

  • #4 Always Shopping 2-1
  • #1 Magic Attitude 4-1
  • #6 My Sister Nat 5-2
  • #2 Mutamakina 5-1

Analysis: Always Shopping is coming off a tough beat in the Orchid (G3) last out at 6-5. The mare tracked the early pace, took over the lead and battled on gamely, drifting outward in deep stretch and getting nailed by a nose last out at 6-5. The winner War Like Goddess came back to win the Bewitch (G3) at Keeneland on April 23 in her next outing. The Pletcher trainee won back to back stakes at Gulfstream Park in her two previous outings, taking the La Prevoyante (G3) two back by three lengths. The mare comes in here off back to back career tops and she catches a field void of much early pace. Bravo should be able to grab a lead under moderate fractions and she may rove tough to catch in this spot if sent.

Magic Attitude makes her second start off a five month break here for the Delacour barn. Last out in the Hillsborough (G3) she stalked the early pace while pulling the jock, shifted off the rail and finished evenly in a seventh-place finish but beaten just 1 3/4 lengths. She won the Belmont Oaks (G1) three back in her U.S. debut and then ran a decent third in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) at Keeneland two back over good ground at nine furlongs. The extra ground suits this gal and she will be tighter second off the bench.


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: #5 Joint and Several 8-1
  • R3: #1 Wicked Trick 10-1
  • R4: #6 Majestic Sky 8-1
  • R7: #6 Albie 8-1
  • R7: #12 Chrome Dixie 8-1
  • R8: #11 Wild America 8-1
  • R9: #4 Yodel E.A. Who 8-1
  • R11: #2 Emma and I 10-1

Good luck today!

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