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Last Updated Oct 16, 2021, 00:00 AM

Saturday's Picks from Belmont Park and Keeneland

Just as I predicted the chalk was flying on Thursday at Belmont Park, with the winners of the first five races paying $3.20, $7.70, $3.40, $3.20 and $4.80.

The early Pick 5 paid a paltry $64.12. Aug Lutes pulled off the first upset of the day in the seventh race paying $41.20 and Bricco won the nightcap paying $22.20. The Late Pick 5 paid $12,242.50, quite a difference.

The feature at Belmont Park on Saturday comes early, with the $200,000 Sands Point (G2) drawing a field of eight three-year-old fillies that will go 1 1/8 miles on turf. There is some rain in the forecast for late in the afternoon, so it looks as if the scheduling of the stake will work out well.

I am going with Harajuku (3-1), who was third in the Jockey Club Oaks Invitational in her U.S. debut. The winner of that race was Shantisara, who is my top pick in the feature at Keeneland.

The $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland is also for three-year-old fillies on turf. The race drew a field of 10. If Harajuku runs well in the Sands Point, we will have a bit more confidence in our top pick Shantisara.

“America’s Day at the Races” is on FS2 from 12:30 to 3:30 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 Saturday click here .

Now is the perfect time to purchase my Monthly Package. It gives you a month of Belmont Park Reports daily, Best Plays Report each Saturday and Sunday and my Breeders’ Cup Reports.

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


BEL Race 1 Md $30,000

  • #2 Where's Joey 8-1
  • #7 Mach One 8-5
  • #4 Risky Woods 5-2
  • #1 Motion to Strike 4-1               

Analysis: Where's Joey finds an easy spot for his debut tagged for $30,000. The gelding is sent out by the Taylor barn that is showing a 1 for 6 mark with first timers. That win came at Philly last year and three others ran third including none here back in '18. He was working at Parx and then had a gate drill showing at Colt's Neck. He is by Tapizar out of a Horse Chestnut mare. It is not a very tough looking spot and he figures to be a fair price.

Mach One has three seconds in his seven career starts but tossed in a clunker last out in a sixth-place finish here versus maiden special weight company. He drops back in for a tag and was second three back when Potts claimed him at the Spa, then second at Monmouth Park against maiden special weight foes. His assistant Lucas is calling the shots during his suspension and picked up a win on Thursday. Irad takes the call and he should bounce back with a better effort here.


BEL Race 6 The Sands Point G2

  • #3 Harajuku 3-1
  • #7 Fluffy Socks 7-2
  • #5 Higher Truth 2-1
  • #4 Runaway Rumour 8-1

Analysis: Harajuku made her U.S. debut in the Jockey Club Oaks Invitational here going 1 3/8 miles. She broke from the outside and veered outward costing her about three lengths. She raced in last behind a slow pace came off the inside in the stretch and could not get to the top pair late in a third-place finish. Two back she was a close up fourth in the Prix de la Nonette (G2) at Deauville in France, beaten just a half-length going 1 ¼ miles. She was beaten a neck for third by Rougir, who came back to win the Prix de l'Opera Longines (G1) in her next start. She makes her first start here after landing with the Motion barn and the cut back to nine furlongs should suit her. She should break better here, getting a good tracking trip and have enough punch in the stretch to beat this group.

Fluffy Socks is 0 for 4 this year, last out coming with a good late run to finish third in the Del Mar Oaks (G1) at nine furlongs. Two back she came with a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot in the Lake George (G3) at Saratoga going a mile. The winner of that race was Technical Analysis who won the Lake Placid (G2) in her next start while the third-place finisher Toby’s Heart won the Music City at Kentucky Downs next out. It looks as if the Brown trainee is going to get enough pace to run at in this spot.

Higher Truth is also sent out by Brown. She was the beaten favorite in the Jockey Club Oaks where she set the early fractions could not hold off Shantisara late in a runner up finish, beaten a half-length. The winner goes later today in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland and is 7-2 on the morning line. She competed in all three filly turf races here in New York and did not win but ran well in each outing, a second two back in the Saratoga Oaks (G3) and a third behind repeat winner Santa Barbara in the Belmont Oaks (G1). She owns solid numbers and Brown has won this race in three of the last four years. Not much separates the top four in here and this gal is likely going to be a short price.


KEE Race 8 The QE II Challenge Cup G1

  • #3 Shantisara 7-2
  • #4 Empress Josephine 3-1
  • #2 Technical Analysis 4-1
  • #5 Nicest 10-1

Analysis: Shantisara prompted the early pace while under a hold i the Jockey Club Oaks and dug in gamely despite getting leaned on to win by a half-length in a game effort. The third-place finisher Harajuku goes earlier today at Belmont Park in the Sands Point (G2). Two back our top pick won the Pucker Up (G3) over good ground at Arlington Park after a runner up finish at Monmouth Park in her U.S. debut. There should be some give to the ground after a downpour yesterday and a bit more rain in the forecast overnight. The cut back to 1 1/8 miles suits her. Brown won this race in 2018 and 2019.

Empress Josephine wheels back off a week break after making her U.S. debut in the First Lady (G1) her last Saturday. She came with a mild late run to finish third, beaten a length. Blinkers are added here and note she was facing older last week and these are straight three-year-old fillies. She won the Irish 1000 Guineas (G1) back in May over heavy going. She will benefit if there is some give to the ground as expected. With Brown calling the shots the quick turnaround is not a concern.


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 Where’s Joey 8-1
  • R2: #8 Rooski 10-1
  • R5: #4 Show Me the Honey 10-1
  • R6: #4 Runaway Rumour 8-1
  • R7: #1 Matty’s Marauder 8-1
  • R10: #3 New York Banker 12-1

Good luck today!

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