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  1. #61
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    Belmont Stakes Breakdown
    June 8, 2017


    The third leg of the "Triple Crown" is set and the field is ready for the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes!

    Belmont Stakes ML Odds

    2017 BREAKDOWN

    PP - Horse ML Odds Jockey (Preakness Record) Trainer (Preakness Record)

    1 - Twisted Tom 20-1 Javier Castellano (0-10) Chad Brown (0-1)
    Notes: He’s won all three dirt starts since Brown switched him back after a pair of turf starts. He’s also perfect in all three of his starts with blinkers and around two turns. And apparently, according to some people I truly respect, there is a TON of distance producing mares on his dam side. These guys teamed up to win the Preakness with Cloud Computing, he’s consistent and will likely be a big price on the tote board. I’ll use him in all of my exotic wagers and in a saver pick 4 ticket or two.

    2 - Tapwrit 6/1 Jose Ortiz (0-2) Todd Pletcher (2-22)
    Notes: He was the first horse bothered when Irish War Cry made a left hand turn coming out of the gate, costing him some position early. He encountered a couple of traffic jams as he made his way through the pack then stayed on through the stretch as his stablemate Always Dreaming splashed home to take the roses. I know he was on the inside part of the track through the stretch, which is where you wanted to be, but he was running on and not losing any ground. I don’t think it mattered where he was. His sire Tapit has won two of the last three Belmonts with Tonalist in 2014, Creator last year and his Frosted was second to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in 2015. And while I have mocked Pletcher’s Derby record for years, he’s won two of these and finished second four times, including narrow defeats with Commissioner and Destin. I think he’ll be closer than usual, make his run on the far turn and win the 2017 Belmont Stakes!!!

    3 - Gormley 8/1 Victor Espinoza (1-5) John Shirreffs (0-2)
    Notes: Was able to avoid the traffic trouble at the start of the Derby when breaking from post 18 and actually worked out a decent enough trip from that draw. He was just about five lengths off the early lead and ranged up like he was going to do some damage before flattening out off the turn. He’s a multiple G1 winner, just one of two in the field along with Classic Empire, but his wins have been on the slow side and he’s not really bred for the distance. Pass

    4 - J Boys Echo 15/1 Robby Albarado (0-5) Dale Romans (0-8)
    Notes: He beat eventual Preakness winner handily in the Gotham, one of the fastest Derby preps of the season but came back to do little running in the Blue Grass and even less in the Derby. I know people are saying he had some trouble at the start of the Derby but I thought others had it much worse. The more he steps on the track, the more it looks like the Gotham was the exception and not the rule when it comes to his form. Pass.

    5 - Hollywood Handsome 30/1 Florent Geroux (0-1) Dallas Stewart (0-7)
    Notes: It took him five starts to break his maiden, then four more to take down the entry level allowance condition. He was an also-ran in his two graded stakes tries and his trainer hemmed and hawed as to whether or not he’d run before finally deciding earlier this week. An easy toss when you add in his middle-distance pedigree.

    6 - Lookin At Lee 5/1 Irad Ortiz, Jr. (1-3) Steve Asmussen (1-4)
    Notes: Look, I’ve always been a fan of this horse and spent the better part of the past four months making excuses for him. Bottom line is he is winless in all eight of his starts at two turns. EIGHT. He levels off at the same point of all his races, not a great sign when you consider he has to negotiate an extra quarter of a mile in here. This trainer/jockey combo teamed up just last year to win this with Creator, something that won’t be lost on the bettors. Deep closers tend not to win this race, especially ones that probably don’t want anything to do with the trip. Sorry, pal….not this time.

    7 - Irish War Cry 7/2 Rajiv Maragh (0-4) Graham Motion (0-3)
    Notes: Will the real Irish War Cry please stand up? The “good” IWC, the won that won the Holy Bull and Wood Memorial deserves to be the morning line favorite. The “bad” one, the one from the Fountain of Youth and Kentucky Derby, doesn’t. He was one of the front runners that didn’t survive in Louisville on a track that favored speed, which is not a good sign at all. His sire Curlin duked it out with Rags to Riches 10 years ago and wound up on the wrong end of a photo finish in this event. Plus, Motion didn’t decide this was a go until Sunday. Ultimately I don’t think he’s going to handle the distance, especially with some company on the front end.

    8 - Senior Investment 12/1 Channing Hill (Debut) Ken McPeek (1-6)
    Notes: He’s made up copious amounts of ground in his last two, a win in the Lexington and to grab the show dough in the Preakness, but he’s soooo far back in the early running. Those types hardly win this. And I’m not too sure he has enough gas early to be kept closer by hill. I think he’s a one trick pony when his running style is concerned. He’s also gotta come back in just three weeks off of a career best effort. Not for me.

    9 - Meantime 15/1 Mike Smith (2-18) Brian Lynch (Debut)
    Notes: Son of 2011 Preakness winner Shackleford should be the speed of the speed in here under his Hall of Fame pilot. Broke his maiden in mud two starts back, his lone start around two turns, before setting the pace and settling for second in the Peter Pan last out behind a sophomore with a BIG future from the Chad Brown barn, Timeline. If I thought he’d get loose on the lead, I’d consider him for a minor award. But after the draw I have to think he’s going to be surrounded early on. I’ll pass.

    10 - Multiplier 15/1 Joel Rosario (1-6) Brendan Walsh (Debut)
    Notes: Despite his middle distance pedigree, he’s raced exclusively around two turns his entire five race career. He closed nicely to win the Illinois Derby two back before finding some trouble in the Preakness in deep stretch. Was one of four that hit the line within a length of each other for third but unfortunately for his connections he finished sixth. He’s gained ground in every single one of his starts and going this distance that’s a good thing. I’m just having a really tough time getting past his breeding. I’ll use him in my exotic plays at a price.

    11 - Epicharis 4/1 Christophe Lemaire (Debut) Kiyoshi Hagiwara (Debut)
    Notes: Connections passed on a Derby run despite being eligible via his win in the Hyacinth in his native Japan back in February. He was second to Thunder Snow in the U.A.E. Derby last out some 10 weeks ago when he was last seen. So, he has to go 12 furlongs off of a two and a half month break after travelling halfway around the world. There has also been a confirmed report that he was treated for possible lameness in his right front hoof. Seems like an awful lot for him to handle. I’ll use him protectively in my exotics because I’m not sure how good he is and not thrilled with most of the others in here.

    12 - Patch 12/1 John Velazquez (2-20) Todd Pletcher (2-22)
    Notes: The one-eyed wonder took a ton of casual/sentimental money in the Derby and will probably do that same in here. BUT….he’s by 2012 Belmont winner Union Rags and out of a mare sired by 1992 Belmont victor A.P. Indy so the pedigree is there. He gets the services of Hall of Famer Johnny V in the saddle. He didn’t get into a lot of trouble in the Derby. I believe he didn’t handle the off track. I think he’s going to run very well. Using him in all of my gimmicks and some multi-race exotics.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  2. #62
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    At the Gate - Saturday
    June 9, 2017


    We have no Triple Crown hanging in the balance, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners are no shows and the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) lost its early betting favorite.

    Ah, who cares right?

    In addition to the Belmont Stakes, there are nine supporting stakes on an outstanding 13-race card and five are Grade 1 races.

    The New York Racing Association has consolidated all the major stakes into one blockbuster day, and it has really worked out, particularly if the excitement of a Triple Crown is not hanging in the balance.

    Sure, television ratings will likely be down, but horseplayers know good opportunities when they see them, and there are plenty this afternoon.

    As an added treat, we get to see the brilliant filly Songbird back in action, although as the 1-2 morning line favorite of the $750,000 Ogden Phipps (G1), it’s not much of a betting race.

    The filly won her first 11 career starts including seven Grade 1 races, and suffered her first defeat in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) where she was beaten a nose by Beholder.

    Despite the loss she earned a career top speed fig and I am anxious to see what this gal can do this year as a four-year-old.

    As for the Belmont Stakes it looks like game on for second choice Epicharis, who came down with a front foot issue on Wednesday and seemed like he could be a scratch.

    We as horseplayers must decide what affect his minor foot issue is going to have on him as he attempts to go 1 ˝ miles in his first start since March.

    If this was a claiming race chances are we would never had known there was an issue, but a classic race is under the microscope, and backing him at the window could be tough.

    However, sometimes these minor foot issues have a way of working themselves out overnight, and he could be 100% by post time on Saturday.

    Post time for the Belmont Stakes is 6:37 ET, the 11th of 13 races on today’s Belmont Park card.

    To purchase my Belmont Park and Best Plays Reports for Saturday click here.

    Now would be a good time to get my Monthly Package, which includes an entire month of Belmont Park action, my Best Plays Report each weekend and my Belmont Stakes Day Report.

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

    BEL Race 1 Alw $90,000N1X (11:35 ET)

    #3 Nigel's Destiny 4-1
    #5 Tathqeef 12-1
    #7 Thebigfundamental 5-2
    #6 Wild About Deb 12-1

    Analysis: Nigel's Destiny tracked the early pace and could not match strides late with the winner in a runner up finish at this level last out over a wet track. The winner was Hard Study, who came back to beat Alw-2 optional claimers in his next outing here on May 27. Motion adds blinkers and this gelding looks headed in the right direction as he makes his third start of his current form cycle.

    Tathqeef was pinched back coming out of the gate, tracked the early pace and weakened in the stretch to finish fourth last out as the beaten chalk going a mile on the main track at the Big A. He was the beaten favorite two back as well at this condition in a third place finish. Three back in his U.S. debut coming at Gulfstream Park he was a game second, beaten just 3/4 of a length. The blinkers come off and he returns off nearly a tow month break. he reunites with Rosario and the 12-1 morning line looks generous after this guy took plenty of action in his last three outings.

    Wagering
    WIN: #3 to win at 3-1 or better.
    EX: 3,5 / 3,5,6,7
    TRI: 3,5 / 3,5,6,7 / 1,3,5,6,7

    Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Monmouth Park:

    MTH Race 10 The Crank It Up (5:20 ET)

    #3 Big City Dreamin 7-2
    #5 Fly Swift 4-1
    #6 Who's the Lady 10-1
    #9 R Naja 6-1

    Analysis: Big City Dreamin took the field gate to wire to beat Alw-2 optional claimers at Churchill Downs going five furlongs in her first start off a nine month layoff. She broke her maiden on the fake stuff at Presque Isle and had the lead heading for home in eh Bottom Landing but weakened to finish fifth. She makes her second start since landing with Cox who is 39% winners (with a +ROI) with runners making their second start off a +180 day layoff.

    Fly Swift was off last and made a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot last out against Alw-1 optional claimers at Gulfstream park going five furlongs as the beaten chalk. She was a game maiden winner two back in her first go off a 5 1/2 month layoff. She looks primed for a top effort in her third start off the bench.

    Wagering
    WIN: #3 to win at 5-2 or better.
    EX: 3,5 / 3,5,6,9
    TRI: 3,5 / 3,5,6,9 / 3,4,5,6,9

    Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:

    BEL Race 9 The Metropolitan Hcp G1 (4:41 ET)

    #12 Awesome Slew 6-1
    #11 Tommy Macho 10-1
    #9 Mor Spirit 5-2
    #2 Rally Cry 5-1

    Analysis: Awesome Slew should get a good trip breaking from the outside post and might even be a bit closer early than he has been in his last couple of outings. Last out he was more than a dozen lengths back and made a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot in the Churchill Downs (G2) over a wet track. The winner Limousine Liberal came back to win the Aristides (G3) in his next start at Churchill Downs on June 3. Our top pick earned a career top two back winning the Commonwealth (G3) at Keeneland going seven furlongs off a two month break. He comes in here very sharp and is going to be a fair price in this spot.

    Tommy Macho was third last out in the Carter 'Cap (G1). The Pletcher trainee tracked the early pace from the inside, got stuck behind foes in the stretch and as bumped and lost momentum briefly inside the final furlong. When this guy is good he can fire big figs but is not real reliable. He earned a 105 Beyer three back winning the Hal's Hope (G3) for fun at Gulfstream Park going a one turn mile. He has a couple of wins over the main track here and will appreciate the extra furlong. After being below 3-1 in each of his five starts the 10-1 morning line looks enticing.

    Wagering
    WIN: #12 to win at 4-1 or better.
    EX: 11,12 / 1,9,11,12
    TRI: 11,12 / 2,9,11,12 / 2,5,9,11,12

    Live Longshots:
    These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.

    Belmont Park
    R1: #5 Tathqeef 12-1
    R1: #6 Wild About Deb 12-1
    R3: #3 Sunny Ridge 10-1
    R5: #2 Paid Up Subscriber 8-1
    R5: #6 Bar of Gold 12-1
    R8: #7 Antonoe 8-1
    R9: #11 Tommy Macho 10-1
    R10: #6 Potemkin 8-1
    R11: #12 Patch 12-1
    R13: #5 River Echo 8-1

    Good luck today!
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  3. #63
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    Belmont up for grabs to end uneven TC
    June 9, 2017


    NEW YORK (AP) This year's topsy-turvy Triple Crown trail comes to an end in a Belmont Stakes without the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners or the expected favorite who dropped out. It does come with questions about a Japanese horse with a sore foot.

    No horse has dominated the 3-year-old ranks so far, leaving the 1+-mile Belmont up for grabs among 12 horses that on Saturday will run the longest race of their lives.

    The 7-2 early favorite Irish War Cry is only in the Belmont after trainer Graham Motion licked his wounds from the colt's 10th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby five weeks ago.

    ''When you get beaten as one of the favorites in the Derby, it's pretty discouraging and you just want to put it behind you,'' he said. ''My horse is doing well. As long as he's doing well, he deserved a chance.''

    Irish War Cry inherited the role of favorite after Classic Empire was forced out earlier in the week with an abscess in his hoof.

    Speculation on the status of early 4-1 second choice Epicharis continued to swirl Friday after the colt didn't train for a third straight day because of his sore right front hoof.

    He was examined by veterinarians from the New York Racing Association and the Japan Racing Association, but no details on his condition were given. His trainer, Kiyoshi Hagiwara, didn't speak to the media.

    Epicharis received a treatment of the legal anti-inflammatory Phenylbutazone, or bute, on Wednesday for what was described as lameness in his right front leg.

    The colt stood in ice to help his hoof and was fitted with a glue-on shoe, an alternative for horses with a damaged hoof. Instead of being nailed on, which could cause more soreness, the plastic-coated shoe is wrapped around the hoof wall.

    Martin Panza, vice president of racing for NYRA, said Epicharis was walking soundly Friday.

    ''They feel confident they can make the race tomorrow, but they're still going to monitor the horse,'' he said of the Japanese team. ''Obviously the horse comes first, and if there are any problems, they'll re-evaluate. Right now they're very comfortable that the horse is comfortable and much better than he was two days ago.''

    Epicharis last trained on the track Tuesday. He hasn't raced since finishing second in the UAE Derby on March 25.

    ''He's a nice horse to ride because you can use any tactics,'' said Christophe Lemaire, his French jockey. ''If there's no pace at all, he can lead or he can sit in second position. A mile and a half is a long way to go, but in his previous races he has shown us some stamina.''

    A victory would earn Epicharis a $1 million bonus from NYRA, which worked to lure a horse from Japan.

    Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming finished eighth in the Preakness, so he is skipping the Belmont. His trainer Todd Pletcher has two shots at winning the $1.5 million race on his home track: He will saddle 6-1 fourth choice Tapwrit and one-eyed Patch.

    Tapwrit was sixth in the Derby and Patch was 14th.

    ''I think he ran a sneaky good race in the Derby,'' Pletcher said of Tapwrit. ''I don't think it would be a surprise if either of them ran well.''

    Cloud Computing skipped the Derby, won the Preakness and is sitting out the Belmont. His trainer Chad Brown has 20-1 shot Twisted Tom, who brings a three-race winning streak into the race on his home track.

    Lookin At Lee will be the only horse to run in all three Triple Crown races. He was second in the Derby and fourth in the Preakness. He's the early 5-1 third choice on Saturday.

    Gormley, ninth in the Derby, flew from his Southern California base to take a shot after staying home from the Preakness.

    Multiplier sat out the Derby and was sixth in the Preakness.

    The longest shot in the field is 30-1 Hollywood Handsome, who along with 15-1 Meantime, didn't run in either of the first two legs.

    J Boys Echo is one of five Belmont runners who skipped the Preakness after running in the Derby, a route taken last year by Belmont winner Creator. Trainer Dale Romans is ready to get his hands on the trophy after finishing third four times.

    ''The mile and a half should help him and hopefully we're going to see the best of him,'' Romans said. ''He's got a good rhythm to the way he runs and I think that's important going that far.''

    Belmont Park's deep, sandy track and sweeping turns can wipe out a tiring horse and benefit a closer able to negotiate the long stretch.

    Senior Investment surged late to take third in the Preakness and his trainer, Ken McPeek, won the 2002 Belmont with 70-1 shot Sarava. In 2012, he trained 20-1 shot Atigun to a third-place finish.

    ''This thing is wide open, completely wide open,'' McPeek said. ''It will be interesting to see it unfold.''
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  4. #64
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    Japanese horse Epicharis scratched from Belmont Stakes
    June 10, 2017


    NEW YORK (AP) The Belmont Stakes is down to 11 horses after Epicharis was scratched after a veterinarian exam on Saturday morning.

    The New York Racing Association said the exam revealed continued inflammation in the Japanese colt's right front hoof. Epicharis wasn't ready to run the 1+-mile race three days after the colt was treated for lameness in his hoof.

    The pre-race exam is standard for all Belmont runners.

    The colt was the 4-1 second choice for the $1.5 million race. He was eligible for a $1 million bonus if he had won as part of NYRA's campaign to lure a Japanese horse to compete.

    Epicharis' connections had hoped he would still make the race, but the colt had not been sent out to train since Tuesday.

    ''The horse was close to being able to compete but we ran out of time,'' trainer Kiyoshi Hagiwara said through a translator. ''We'd like to thank the team of veterinarians and staff for their hard work. We look forward to getting Epicharis home and back to the racetrack very soon.''

    Epicharis has not raced since finishing second in the UAE Derby on March 25.

    The colt will be shipped back to Japan on Thursday.

    Irish War Cry is the early 7-2 favorite for the final leg of the Triple Crown series.

    Despite Epicharis' scratch, there will still be separate, non-comingled wagering on the Belmont in Japan.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  5. #65
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    Santa Anita cancels 2 more days of upcoming races
    June 9, 2017


    ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) Santa Anita is cancelling two days of racing over the next two weeks because of a shortage of entries.

    Track officials said Friday a pair of three-day weeks, starting June 16 and June 23, will be run ahead of a five-day closing week that starts June 30. It's the third time the track has canceled racing since the spring-summer meet began. The first time was April 27.

    Santa Anita is adding extra races this weekend to make up for canceling Thursday's card.

    There was an average of 8.7 horses entered this week compared to 6.9 horses last week.

    The spring-summer meet ends July 4
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  6. #66
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    My Picks:

    12 - Patch 12/1 John Velazquez (2-20) Todd Pletcher (2-22) WPS
    2 - Tapwrit 6/1 Jose Ortiz (0-2) Todd Pletcher (2-22) WPS

    Exacta:

    12 - Patch 12/1 John Velazquez (2-20) Todd Pletcher (2-22)
    2 - Tapwrit 6/1 Jose Ortiz (0-2) Todd Pletcher (2-22)

    With
    1 - Twisted Tom 20-1 Javier Castellano (0-10) Chad Brown (0-1)
    2 - Tapwrit 6/1 Jose Ortiz (0-2) Todd Pletcher (2-22)

    With
    ALL

    Trifecta:

    12 - Patch 12/1 John Velazquez (2-20) Todd Pletcher (2-22)
    2 - Tapwrit 6/1 Jose Ortiz (0-2) Todd Pletcher (2-22)
    With
    1 - Twisted Tom 20-1 Javier Castellano (0-10) Chad Brown (0-1)
    2 - Tapwrit 6/1 Jose Ortiz (0-2) Todd Pletcher (2-22)
    With
    ALL

    Superfecta:

    12 - Patch 12/1 John Velazquez (2-20) Todd Pletcher (2-22)
    2 - Tapwrit 6/1 Jose Ortiz (0-2) Todd Pletcher (2-22)
    With
    1 - Twisted Tom 20-1 Javier Castellano (0-10) Chad Brown (0-1)
    2 - Tapwrit 6/1 Jose Ortiz (0-2) Todd Pletcher (2-22)
    With
    ALL
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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