God's Tipster's Saturday Belmont at Aqueduct and Churchill Downs Picks: 7 races with 2 big stakes for 2yos
Friday’s Race Recap from Belmont at Aqueduct:
(All odds US)
Replays for yesterday’s races from Belmont at Aqueduct can be found here:
Belmont at Aqueduct:
Race 8: 3rd@ 2.50/1
Race 9: 3rd@ 6.30/1
In Race 8, Towering Orbit was bet down to 5/2 favoritism off a 6/1 morning line and broke on top. She tried taking the field gate to wire but got caught and had to settle for third. A curious ride by Jose Ortiz considering she was a late closer last time out but the change in tactics almost paid off. In Race 9, Inspiration Point was making his move on the turn and checked then checked again as he shuffled back. He rallied again late for third. We’re now on quite a streak of 2nd and 3rd place finishes. We’re overdue due for a few big wins.
Let’s head to Belmont at Aqueduct for Saturday’s races. Beautiful weather is expected once again with fast and firm conditions. I realize that not all European bookmakers allow for wagering on races from Churchill Downs but I’ll look at a few races from there where fast & firm conditions are expected as well.
Saturday at Belmont at Aqueduct:
Race 3: Bobbie D - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 4/1)
Maidens race a mile over the inner turf and it’s quite possible that there will be a big separation between the contenders and pretenders by the time the dust settles. Indemnify runs for Chad Brown and has lost as the heavy favorite twice in a row now. He’s our 7/5 morning line favorite but I’m giving the nod to his 4/1 stablemate, Bobbie D, who’s a full brother to three-time Grade 1 winner Raging Bull, who raced for these same connections. Raging Bull also made his debut as a three year old at this very distance. This one has been working in the mornings with Unanimous Consent and that one just finished a strong fourth in the Virginia Derby. I like that top rider Irad Ortiz takes the reins for these connections and would be shocked if we get the 4/1 morning line odds.
Race 6: Occult: - 2 pts win - BEST BET (US Morning Line Odds: 3/1)
Two year old maiden fillies sprint six furlongs in this event and Padma is our 9/5 morning line favorite off a second place effort to her stablemate in August 17. I didn’t love that effort that day. I thought her stride was choppy and she didn’t change leads til it was way too late so I’m playing against her. Occult debuts for trainer Chad Brown who’s winning at 28% this year. This miss cost $625k which is nearly three times the price her sire Into Mischief stands for. This one’s is well bred to sprint and has been working with some purpose. Ears pricked in her workouts like she enjoys her job and this one looks like she’s ready to come out and run to her expensive price tag.
Race 8: Gianni Lambo - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 8/1)
Turf sprinters go 6 furlongs in an allowance race and here’s another runner that we probably won’t get the 8/1 morning line on in the U.S. so if you can lock in those odds with your bookmakers, I encourage you to do so. Gianni Lambo raced one time - just under a full year ago – for trainer Todd Pletcher and top rider Irad Ortiz. That day he blitzed an overmatched field for an easy win. He’s been on the shelf since that time but has been working consistently in preparation for today’s assignment. Admittedly, Pletcher doesn’t have the best numbers with turf sprinters returning off long layoffs like these but he gets Lasix for his return and should be able to sit the perfect trip just behind the speed.
Race 11: Aleste - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 8/1)
Maiden fillies bred in the great state of New York sprint six furlongs on turf to close out the day at Aqueduct. This is another race where I’m just not confident in a heavy favorite and I see value elsewhere so I’m aiming to crash the party with Aleste, who will be making her second career start. In her debut she raced up near the early pace racing a mile on turf before tiring in the late stages. She had one of our top riders, Luis Saez, that day and actually took a little play going off at under 10/1 in a full field of 12. Saez hops back aboard despite her eleventh place finish last time out and so am I. Sire, Astern doesn’t do nearly as well with turf routers (7% wins) as he does with turf sprinters (19% wins!) and that’s the final bit of evidence we need to put this one on top of our tickets.
Race 6: Pro Oxidant - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 5/1)
Allowance runners race a mile and this field is chock full of competitive runners looking to make a name for themselves. Pro Oxident was AWESOME winning his debut on August 13 at Churchill Downs. Bet down to 3/1 odds against a full field of 10 other runners, Pro Oxident sat off a moderate early pace and once they entered the stretch he just blew everyone away. He won so easily and his strides looked so fluid that it had me thinking stakes races would be in his future. He’s a half brother to multiple Grade 1 winning sprinter, AP Indian and looks the part. Of course he’ll have to pass this hurdle first and the waters get deeper. This isn’t a horse I think we’ll actually get the 5/1 morning line on in the U.S. so lock in those odds if you can get them!
Race 9: Hayes Strike - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 12/1)
This is the first of two two year old graded stakes races on the day. It’s the Iroquois at a mile and a sixteenth on the main track. There’s a good chance we’ll see a few of these runners in the starting gates for the Breeder’s Cup in November. This race is being billed as the big matchup between Saratoga Special winner, Damon’s Mound, and sparkling, Saratoga debut winner Echo Again. Of the two I prefer Echo Again who looked incredible winning off on his own under a hammerlock. He’ll be tough to beat but these are untested two year olds and none has raced this far yet so I’m taking a shot with Hayes Strike, whose debut effort was better than it looks despite finishing eighth. His rider gave him a tentative ride that day and it looked like an experience builder. Next time out he imposed his will on a five horse field to win as the longest price. Today he’s one of only two runners in this field of 9 that has actually raced beyond a sprint distance. Trainer Ken McPeek has a knack for winning these two year old stakes races at Churchill Downs (I don’t bet him anymore outside of Kentucky). Here at Churchill though he’s won 7 of 32 starts in Graded Stakes races (22% wins) at an average payoff of $12.31. He targets these races with his runners and will offer square value here coming from off of what might be a hot pace.
Race 11: Southlawn - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 5/1)
We close out our day at Churchill Downs with the Grade 3 Pocahontas at a mile and a sixteenth for two year old fillies. This appears to be the weaker of the two races for two year olds and is another one where the pace may fall apart. If it does, Southlawn should be there to pick up the pieces. She broke a step slow in her debut and was then taken wide and out of contention at 5 1/2 furlongs but followed that effort with a tour de force performance at a mile at Ellis Park. Trainer Norm Casse wins with 21% of his two year olds overall and this one should be in the right position at the top of the stretch.
Best of luck to all our members playing racing on Saturday from around the U.S.!