Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:50 AM

Thursday's Picks from Belmont

The three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival gets underway on Thursday at Belmont Park, with 17 stakes over the next three days of action highlighted by the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) on Saturday.

We kick things off today with three stakes on the nine-race card—the $150,000 Astoria, $200,000 Intercontinental (G3) and the $200,000 Wonder Again (G3). First post is 3:05 ET.

We have five more stakes on Friday and on Saturday there are nine stakes, eight of which are Grade 1 races capped off by the third jewel of the Triple Crown.

Essential Quality was installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite for the Belmont Stakes. The Brad Cox trainee was the beaten favorite when fourth in the Kentucky Derby (G1).

He faces four others that made their last start in the Run for the Roses along with Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Rombauer. Preakness seventh place finisher France Go de Ina is chasing a $1 million bonus by being a Japan based entry and we have one newcomer to the Triple Crown, the Todd Pletcher trained Overtook.

Rombauer is the second choice on the morning line at 3-1 followed by Kentucky Derby third place finisher Hot Rod Charlie at 7-2 and Rock Your World, who was 17th in the Derby after a bad start is at 9-2.

While there is no Triple Crown hanging in the balance it is a solid competitive field and the supporting stakes are loaded with top horses.

Among the horses we will see in action on Saturday include Search Results, Got Stormy, Swiss Skydiver, Letruska, Shesharesthedevil, Domestic Spending, Colonel Liam, Blowout, By My Standards and Knicks Go. We had a ton of rain last week in New York and there is a 90% chance of thunderstorms this afternoon, and a 50% chance tomorrow. The weather on Saturday looks perfect with sunny skies and a high of 82 degrees.

“America’s Day at the Races” is on FS2 today 3:00 to 8:30 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 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 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 Clm $25,000

  • #2 Big Mountain   8-1
  • #3 Dark Money   2-1
  • #4 Steam Engine   5-2
  • #6 Financialstability   10-1

Analysis: Big Mountain set the early fractions and battled on gamely in the stretch in a runner up finish last out at this level in his first start off the claim by the Miceli barn. He was 4 1/2 lengths clear of the rest of the field in the effort. He was taken for $12,500 two back out of a runner up finish against open claimers going a mile in the slop. He won back to back in his final two starts last year beating open $16,000 and $20,000 foes. He gets a jock upgrade here to Rosario for a barn that does good work with recent claims.

Dark Money brushed with foes coming out of the gate with the jock grabbing the gelding left rein, tracked the early pace while being encouraged, came with a five wide bid and ran out of gas in the stretch in a fourth-place finish against state bred Alw-2 optional claimers. He was claimed out of the race going from Broberg to the Atras barn that is 32% winners (with a +ROI) first off the claim. He beat state bred Alw-2 foes tow back and looks well spotted here facing state breds for a $25,000 tag here. He should bounce back with a better effort and has run well over the main track here, landing in the exacta in 4 of 5 trips and handled a wet track if the rains come. 


Race 8 The Wonder Again G3

  • #10 Plum Ali   5-1
  • #2 Con Lima   6-1
  • #6 Gift List   7-2
  • #5 Jouster   3-1               

Analysis: Plum Ali is coming off a third-place finish in the Appalachian (G2) at Keeneland which was her first go off a five-month layoff. She tracked a slow early pace set by Jouster and could not get to the top pair late, checking in two lengths back of the winner. The runner up Gift List came back to win the Edgewood (G2) in her next outing on April 30 at Churchill Downs. Our top pick won her first three starts as a juvenile including the Miss Grillo (G2) over the grass here. She then was fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). She looks as if she can handle the extra ground here and just needs to see a bit more pace to turn the tables.

Con Lima is one of two here sent out by the Pletcher barn. She has landed in the exacta in 9 of her 10 starts and is coming off a career top earned winning the Honey Ryder at Gulfstream Park over good ground last out at 1 1/16 miles at 4-5. She prompted the early pace and drew off in the stretch to win by four lengths. She crossed the wire second and placed first three back in the Herercomesthebride (G3) and won that race coming from off the pace. Her stablemate Jouster is quicker and today this gal figures to be taken back with Prat aboard. She handled ground with some give to it well last out and there may still be some cut in the ground this afternoon. She has enough pedigree to handle nine furlongs.

Gift List makes her third start off the bench since landing in the U.S. She could not catch a loose on the lead Jouster two back in the Appalachian and came back with a sharp win in the Edgewood (G2) at Keeneland over good ground. She looks primed for a top effort here and has handled ground with some give to it. She is by Bated Breath out of the Machiavellian stakes winner Birthstone who won the Prix d'Aumale (G3) at a mile at Chantilly in her second and final career start. The mare has dropped four other turf winners. She looks as if she still has some upside. 


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: #2 Big Mountain   8-1
  • R1: #6 Financialstability   10-1
  • R2: #6 Commandandcontrol   8-1
  • R3: #4 Life Changer   10-1
  • R4: #7 Dustgetsinyoureyes   8-1
  • R6: #1 Publication   10-1
  • R7: #1 She’s So Shiny   20-1
  • R9: #5 Evvie Jets   8-1 

Good luck today!

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