Last Updated Oct 16, 2021, 8:00 PM

Sunday's Picks from Belmont Park and Woodbine

JWe have to go north of the border for the only Grade 1 race on tap on Sunday. A field of 10 fillies and mares will line up in the $600,000 E.P. Taylor (G1) at 1 ¼ miles on turf.

Trainer Chad Brown sends out Etoile, who won the race last year by a neck and she looks like a major player again this year. She is the 5-2 morning line favorite.

I am going to look for a bit more value with Waliyak, a Euro invader for trainer Roger Varian. She is coming off a victory in a Group 3 in France and her 8-1 morning line looks more than fair.

The feature at Belmont Park today is the $150,000 Floral Park at six furlongs on the inner turf. A field of nine will go led by the Bruce Brown trained Robin Sparkles (2-1). The filly is coming off a win at Laurel Park and has won six of her nine career starts on turf.

Again we go looking for a better price and Raven’s Cry at 6-1 fits the bill. She was fifth in the De La Rose going a mile at Saratoga last out and I am hoping she will appreciate the cut back to six furlongs.

“America’s Day at the Races” is on FS1 and 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 Sunday 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 OClm $45,000N2X

  • #1 Cartwheel 3-1
  • #3 Pay Grade 6-5
  • #4 Courageous Girl 9-2
  • #2 Frost Me 7-2

Analysis: Cartwheel was bumped hard coming out of the gate and away next to last. She finished evenly in a fourth-place finish at this level in her first start off the claim by the Kantarmaci barn. Two back off a 2 1/2 month break she made a mild late run to finish third behind repeat winner Flat Awesome Jenny who came back to beat $20,000 starter allowance foes at Churchill Downs in her next outing on Oct. 3. This gal has run well at a mile, landing in the exacta in 4 of 6 trips. The barn has been a bit chilly but overall does good work with recent claims.

Pay Grade set the early fractions and got run down in a third-place finish in the state bred Fleet Indian at nine furlongs. She was a game winner two back beating state bred Alw-1 foes going a mile over a wet track here. She will appreciate the cut back to a mile and the class drop for the Clement barn. She is going to be tough here but not expecting to see much of a price in this compact field.


BEL Race 8 The Floral Park

  • #9 Raven's Cry 6-1
  • #6 Robin Sparkles 2-1
  • #7 Too Sexy 9-2
  • #4 Secure Connection 8-1

Analysis: Raven's Cry cuts back to a sprint after tracking the early pace while rank, coming with a five wide move and not having enough punch left late in a fifth-place finish in the restricted De La Rose. Three have come out of that race to win next out. The runner up Hendy Woods came back to win the restricted One Dream at Kentucky Downs and the fourth-place finisher won the Viadera won the Ballston Spa (G2) next out. She has shown enough tactical speed to handle the cut back and she broke her maiden at seven panels in Ireland. Cox is 23% winners moving runners from route to sprint.

Robin Sparkles dueled for the early lead and drew clear and held on to beat Alw-3 optional claimers in her last outing at Laurel Park. She was third two back in the Smart N Fancy on yielding ground at the Spa behind repeat winner Piedi Bianchi who won the state bred Cardinal at Indiana Grand in her next outing on Oct. 6. This gal has won three of her four trips over the turf here with a second. She owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers and will likely be the one to catch late. She has won 6 of 9 on turf in her career.


WO Race 8 The E.P. Taylor G1

  • #1 Waliyak 8-1
  • #2 Etoile 5-2
  • #6 Mutamakina 5-1
  • #8 Great Island 3-1

Analysis: Waliyak comes across the pond for the Varian barn. He is coming off a Group 3 win at Chantilly in the Prix Bertrand de Tarragon going 1 1/8 miles over soft ground. She has run over any type of ground and there was some rain in the forecast so we could be less than form this afternoon. Two back in her first Group try she was off a beat slow and came with a good late run to finish in the runner up spot in the Atalanta Stakes at Sandown Park going a mile. The winner Saffron Beach came back to win the Sun Chariot Stakes (G1) next out at Newmarket on Oct. 2. The third-place finisher Ville de Grace won her next two starts, taking the listed John Musker Fillies' Stakes at Yarmouth and then the Pony Academy Pride Stakes (G3) at Newmarket. She can handle the added ground here and is coming into this race in the best form of her career.

Etoile is the defending champ. She won this race last year by a neck at 5-2 over Court Return. She came into last year’s edition off a runner up finish in the Dance Smartly (G2) here and did the same this year. Last out she stalked the early pace and came with a good late rally to finish a half-length back of the winner Mutamakina at 6-5. The winner got the jump on her and just held on late. The tables can be turned on that filly here. She can handle any type of ground and Irad is up to ride the mare.

Mutamakina picked up her second in in six starts since coming to the U.S. and landing with the Clement barn. She prompted the early pace, got clear and hold on to win the Dance Smartly by a diminishing half length. Her other win came in the Long Island (G3) at Aqueduct last November in her second start state side. She was beaten a neck and a head two back in the River Memories at 1 ½ miles and she is better at today’s 1 ¼ mile distance. She will be forwardly placed but it appears the pace will be more honest than she caught last out here.


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

  • R2: #6 Khali Magic 10-1
  • R3: #1 Drakon 8-1
  • R6: #4 Mr. Kringle 8-1
  • R7: #2 Manifest Destiny 15-1
  • R8: #4 Secure Connection 8-1
  • R9: #8 Intense Honor 8-1

Good luck today!

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