Last Updated Sep 30, 2021, 11:00 PM

Friday's Picks from Belmont Park and Santa Anita

Santa Anita opens this afternoon and we kick off the meeting with a trio of Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races. Between Santa Anita, Belmont Park and Longchamp in France there are 14 Breeders’ Cup Challenge races over the next three days.

The $100,000 Speakeasy is the fifth race at Santa Anita today with the winner stamping a ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2). Seven go to the post with the Richard Mandella trained Forbidden Kingdom the 2-1 morning line favorite.

The colt was a gate to wire winner in his debut. His main rivals are the Larry Rivelli trained One Timer (5-2), a winner in the Victoria on the Tapeta surface at Arlington Park, and the Wesley Ward filly Miss Alacrity, who won the Colleen at Monmouth Park in her last start.

The $200,000 Chandelier (G2) winner gets a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). The Bob Baffert trained Grace Adler is the 9-5 morning line favorite and likely goes off shorter. As you can see below, I am going to try and beat her.

The $300,000 American Pharoah (G1) winner will earn a starting spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and earn Road to the Kentucky Derby points.

Baffert has three in the race and since Churchill Downs has suspended the trainer for two years, any horses in his care are not eligible to earn Derby points. Tough break, Bob.

He sends out the 6-5 morning line favorite Corniche, but I am looking for more value and landed on the Mark Casse trained Pappacap (8-1).

My Best Plays Report for Friday includes my eight strongest plays from Belmont Park and Santa Anita, including the stakes action.

“America’s Day at the Races” is on FS2 from 12:30 to 5:30 ET with the action from Belmont 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 and Best Plays Reports for Friday 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.

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


 Race 1 Clm $25,000

  • #2 Dream Bigger 3-1
  • #1 Binkster 2-1
  • #4 Dark Money 5-2
  • #3 Durkin's Call 9-2

Analysis: Dream Bigger was bumped around coming out of the gate last out in his first start off a year layoff. The colt pressed the early pace and weakened to finish fourth against Alw-1 company as the beaten chalk. He drops into an easier spot here taking on state bred $25,000 foes. He landed in the money in four of his five starts last year including winning the state bred Damon Runyon at Aqueduct last March. He owns solid early and mid pace numbers and with a cleaner break should be on or close to the lead. He should be fitter for his second start off the bench for the RRod barn that is off to a good start at the meet.

Binkster dueled for the early lead and faded to finish a well beaten eight last out against $25,000 state breds. He was a decent third in the mud two back against state bred Alw-2 optional claimers and three back was a sharp winner versus Alw-1 optional claimers at Monmouth Park. He was claimed out of his last start by the Atras barn that is 29% winners first off the claim. He has a couple of wins over the main track here and is better than he showed last out. He should bounce back with the barn switch to Atras who does good work with newcomers although the trainer is off to a tardy start at the meet here.


Race 6 Alw $92,000N1X

  • #1 Harper's in Charge 7-2
  • #4 Love And Thunder 9-5
  • #7 Stolen Holiday 4-1
  • #2 Screamin' By 8-1

Analysis: Harper's in Charge made her first start on turf last out and it produced a career top. She chased the early pace while saving ground and finished gamely in a runner up finish, beaten 3/4 of a length for the top spot. She graduated on the main track at Aqueduct last November and came up short in two starts at this level on dirt after coming back off the bench. The surface switch has this gal on track and she does not need to over forward much off her last effort to get the job done in this spot.

Love And Thunder is cutting back from a pair of routes where she was the beaten favorite. Last out at 1 1/16 miles the filly stalked the early pace while under a hold, angled out and had to pause behind a foe nearing the eighth pole and finished up well when angled out wider. She was beaten just a half-length two back going a mile over good ground off a nine week break. Three back over the grass here she was beaten just a nose going a mile. She has burned a ton of cash in her last four starts and the pace profile of this race does not exactly set things up for her as she is cutting back to seven furlongs. Could be another second unless Ortiz gets her into the race earlier here.


Race 6 The Chandelier G2

  • #6 Elm Drive 8-1
  • #4 Grace Adler 9-5
  • #3 Dance to the Music 5-1
  • #2 Ain't Easy 5-2

Analysis: Elm Drive is one of three in here exiting the Del Mar Debutante (G1) at seven furlongs. The daughter of Mohaymen dueled through very fast early fractions and was cooked, fading to finish a well beat seventh as Grace Adler rolled to a 11 ¼ length win. The D’Amato trainee won her first two starts, breaking her maiden in her debut at Los Al by eight lengths and then winning the Sorrento (G2) in a game effort by a head at six furlongs at Del Mar. She is bred to go long, out of an Indian Charlie mare. The pace likely is not going to be as fast as last out on the stretch out two turns. D’Amato does good work with juvies and she should bounce back with a better effort here with the added ground.

Grace Adler got the perfect pace set up in the Debutante, sitting near the back of the pack and she came calling, taking command and drawing away to win by 11 ¼ lengths. She broke her maiden two back at five furlongs in a smart looking effort sitting off the pace and fishing gamely to win by ¾ of a length. The way she drew off and her margin of victory last out is going to likely make her much shorter than her 9-5 morning line. She was a $700,000 purchase, by Curlin out of a Newfoundland mare that has dropped three other winners including 2018 Gazelle (G3) runner up Virginia Key ($86,820), that race at nine furlongs. Baffert is 33% winners moving runners from sprint to route and has won this race in five of the last nine editions including the last pair.

Dance to the Music was a smart looking maiden winner in her debut at 5 ½ furlongs at Del Mar. She then went in the Debutante where she was bumped coming out of the gate, prompted the fast early pace and she stuck around for the runner up spot in a decent effort although to match for the winner. The $575,000 Ocala purchase is by Maclean’s Music out of a Congrats mare and should be able to handle the two turns. Her last was better than it looked and she may end up a fair price 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

  • R4: #6 Miss Alex 8-1
  • R5: #6 Sweet Franny Lu 8-1
  • R6: #2 Screamin’ By 8-1
  • R9: #4 B C Glory Days 8-1

Good luck today!

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