Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:50 AM

Saturday's Picks from Belmont and Churchill Downs

It is Stephen Foster Preview Day at Churchill Downs on Saturday with seven stakes on the 11-race card. I have five of the stakes in today’s Best Plays Report.

Mother Nature may wreak havoc at Belmont Park today as there was 1-2 inches of rain in the forecast overnight and more rain on the way for this morning and afternoon. Six of the 10 races on the card are scheduled for turf including the feature, and the prospects of staying on the grass does not look good.

The feature at Belmont Park today is the $200,000 Pennine Ridge (G2) which is scheduled for 1 1/8 miles on the turf but seems likely to be moved to the main track.

Woodhaven winner Hard Love is the 9-5 morning line favorite for trainer Jonathan Thomas. If we are off the turf as I suspect, Sainthood deserves a good look.

The Todd Pletcher trainee was 11th in the Kentucky Derby (G1) in his last outing. He was a solid second in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park over the Tapeta surface in his previous outing. He looks as if he won’t mind a off track.

We have two graded stakes at Churchill Downs this afternoon. The $150,000 Regret (G3) drew a field of nine three-year-old fillies that will travel 1 1/8 miles on turf. It is a wide open race and I give Oyster Box (6-) and Line Dancing (12-1) shots of pulling off the upset.

The co-feature is the $150,000 Matt Winn (G3) which features two runners that competed in the Kentucky Derby. O Besos is the 2-1 morning line favorite and was fifth in the Run for the Roses. Helium (5-2) was eighth in the Derby.

My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my 10 strongest plays from Belmont Park and Churchill Downs.

“America’s Day at the Races” is on FS2 today 12:30 to 6:00 ET with the action from Belmont Park and Churchill Downs. 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 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 Belmont Stakes Day reports.

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


Race 1 Md Sp Wt

  • #5 Riot House 7-2
  • #2 Slipstream 6-1
  • #8 Sense Shines 5-2
  • #6 Raw Courage 8-1

Analysis: Riot House gets the call and I am assuming we are off the turf today with 1-2 inches of rain falling overnight and more in the forecast for today. Our top pick is one of two in here sent out by the Ward barn that has been on fire with his juvies. This guy made his debut going five furlongs on turf here where he chased the early pace and weakened to finish third. He is by Violence out of the stakes winner Tuttipaesi ($586,313). The barn is 26% winners with second out maidens and this guy seems likely to take to an off track.

Slipstream debut for the Clement barn that is 23% winners (with a +ROI) with first time starters. The colt was a $170,000 Keeneland purchase, by More Than Ready out of a stakes placed Stormy Atlantic mare that has dropped one foal to race, 1 for 7 Too Sexy ($74,065). This guy is bred to handle a wet track and the barn has been live at the meet, hitting at a 33% clip.


Race 8 OClm $80,000N2X

  • #9 Mystic Night 3-1
  • #7 Double Blessed 5-1
  • #3 Superfecto 6-1
  • #5 Creed 8-1

Analysis: Mystic Night was a very impressive winner versus Alw-1 company last out going nine furlongs at the Big A in his first start against winners and earned the top last out speed fig. The fourth and sixth place finishers exited that race to beat Alw-1 company in their next starts while the third-place finisher Ajaaweed ran second in the Flat Out in his next start on April 30. The Brown trainee has shown major improvement with each start and has worked sharply since his last outing. He is bred to handle a wet track and looks stakes bound if he passes this test.

Double Blessed prompted the early pace, took over the lead and could not hold off the winner late in a runner up finish at this level here last out. The Maker trainee was 6 1/4 lengths clear of the rest of the field in the effort. The gelding owns a solid pace profile throughout and while Maker had to drop him in for a $16,000 tag back in January to get a win out of him he has just moved forward since that win and fits here with his best. He is 2 for 2 on off tracks.


Race 9 The Matt Winn G3

  • #2 Helium 5-2
  • #5 Fulsome 5-2
  • #3 O Besos 2-1
  • #7 Sittin On Go 8-1

Analysis: Helium is one of two to exit the Kentucky Derby (G1). The colt chased the early pace and faded to finish eighth, beaten 10 ½ lengths at 38-1. The Casse trainee won the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) in his first start on conventional dirt and off a 5 ½ month layoff. That race did not come up as tough in years past but featured a few talented runners. The third-place finisher Moonlite Strike won the Roar in his most recent start on May 15 at Gulfstream Park. The fourth-place finisher Unbridled Honor ran second in the Lexington (G3) and then was sixth in the Preakness (G1). Sixth place finisher King of Dreams was the runner up in the English Channel in his next start. The colt looks primed for a top effort third off the bench here and has enough tactical speed to be forwardly placed in a race void of much early zip.

Fulsome made his first four starts on turf including his maiden breaker. He beat Alw-1 foes two back at Keeneland in the slop in a race taken off the turf. Last out in his first start on a fast dirt surface he won the Oaklawn going nine furlongs as the favorite. He reunites with the barn’s go to jock Geroux who was aboard the colt for his maiden score. He looks as if he should still have some upside making just his second start over a fast dirt surface and he has had two good morning drills over the main track here since his last outing.

O Besos made up some ground late to check in fifth in the Kentucky Derby, beaten 5 ½ lengths at 41-1. He was third in the Louisiana Derby (G2) behind Hot Rod Charlie and Midnight Bourbon and fourth two back in the Risen Star (G2) which was won by Mandaloun who ran a game second in the Kentucky Derby and may end up the winner. His late running style and the cut back to 1 1/16 miles as well as the lack of pace in here makes him look like an underlay in this spot.


These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their Pick 4 and Pick 5 wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win wager.

Belmont Park

  • R1: #6 Raw Courage 8-1
  • R2: #3 Gio d’Oro 10-1
  • R3: #5 The Big Kahuna 12-1
  • R4: #10 Tough Workout 8-1
  • R6: #5 Listentoyourheart 8-1
  • R6: #1 Bears Mafia 8-1
  • R7: #14 Mun Luv 8-1
  • R8: #5 Creed 8-1
  • R9: #9 The Reds 12-1
  • R10: #7 Betcha by Golly 8-1

Good luck today!

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