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God's Tipster's Saturday Belmont at Aqueduct and Keeneland Picks include more Breeders' Cup prep races

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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 5: 3rd@ 1.40/1

Aqueduct was playing EXTREMELY favorable to inside speed runners today. The first four races really demonstrated that so it didn’t help that Dylan Davis took Central Pride back to last early then switched him to the middle of the track for the stretch drive. He was moving best late and looked best but the circumstances weren’t in his favor today.

Friday’s Race Recap from Keeneland:

(All odds US)

Replays for yesterday’s races from Keeneland can be found here:



Race 9: 11th@ 10.10/1

After a scratch in Race 8, we had Take Charge Briana in the Grade 1 Alcibiades. She was awful. These two year olds can be hit or Miss and she was a miss finishing up the track at 10/1.

What a difference a few days can make! After a disgusting stretch of rainy weather pounded us for days we are expecting sunny skies with fast conditions at both Belmont at Aqueduct and Keeneland for Saturday’s Stakes-packed race cards. 

Let’s get to the action!

Saturday at Belmont at Aqueduct:

Race 1: Lemon Bomb - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 30/1)

Two year old maiden fillies sprint 6 furlongs on turf and it’s BOMBS AWAY TO START THE DAY with Lemon Bomb. The first thing you need to know is that none of the runners in this field whom have started has produced an overwhelmingly fast speed figure. To me that opens up the race to debut runners and there are a few of those that will take money. Toquether races for Christophe Clement at 9/2 on the morning line but this barn is a chilly 2 for 36 on the meet. Chad Brown has Ein Gedi as the 5/2 morning line favorite but most of her works have been on dirt and don’t look particularly fast so I’ll look elsewhere for better value. Lemon Bomb debuts for trainer Peter Pugh who doesn’t start many runners these days but those of us that have been doing this for a while in the New York area know that he can win at a price with a first time starter. He used to do it pretty regularly. Lemon Bomb is sired by new sire Army Mule whose progeny are 3 for 13 making their turf debut (25%) and his dam has produced two first-out winners. The Tomlinson for this runner is a super high 460 which just adds more evidence to the case this runner should appreciate both the surface and distance. Worth a long look at 30/1 odds on debut.

Saturday at Keeneland:

Race 4: Western Ghent - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 20/1)

Oftentimes handicapping races requires creativity. If we get this one right I’m going to start calling myself the Pablo Picasso of Public Handicappers because on paper, Western Ghent doesn’t fit in this race. His top speed figure is roughly 8 points below the average in here and his last race (a 33 length drubbing in the slop at Saratoga in the Grade 1 Hopeful) doesn’t get the pulse racing. But believe it or not, the terrible form Western Ghent has shown on paper is exactly what intrigues me about him. Trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, Western Ghent was vaulted into a Grade 1 off a win in a high-priced maiden claiming race. Confidence from one of the best to ever do it. Most horses with this type of form would be offered for sale. This one is not dropping into the claiming ranks. Maybe it’s just some ambitious owners hoping to get lucky. But top rider, Flavien Prat sees fit to ride this one. In five years, Prat has ridden only two runners for this barn: Bourbon Bash - a two year old who won by 8 lengths and Take Charge Briana - possibly the most impressive maiden winner of the Saratoga meet - who ran, and ran poorly, in the Grade 1 Alcibiades on Friday. Finally, Lukas connected with two, two year old runners with similarly poor form two weeks ago at Churchill Downs. One went off at 22/1 and the other was 12/1. Both showed massive turnarounds in form. This isn’t the most trustworthy field to begin with and the Lukas barn is taking their time with these runners and when they’re ready they’re popping at big prices.

Race 5: Osbourne - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 7/2)

Allowance runners sprint 7 furlongs here and this race is Osbourne’s to win or lose. The chestnut son of Tapiture breaks from post 12 today and his running lines are a who’s who of talented two and three year olds of the past year. Nobody in the race has his type of resume and he’s been a little unlucky to lose a few of those starts. 7/2 offers good value here as he’ll probably go off closer to 2/1 here in the U.S.

Race 7: Li’l Tootsie - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 15/1)

The Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America is a 6 furlong race for fillies and mares and serves as a prep for the Breeder’s Cup Filly & Mare Sprint which takes place on this track a month from now. Palm Cottage, Slammed, Caribbean Caper, Joyful Cadence and Happy Soul should ensure an honest pace here. A little pace would benefit the stalkers like Sconsin and Club Car. A LOT of pace would benefit the closers like Li'l Tootsie who carries the field’s strongest closing kick according to the Timeform U.S. Pace figures. Li’l Tootsie cuts back from three races which have produced the strongest speed figures in her 18 race career and jockey E. Morales has also played a big role there as he’s been aboard in her last three starts as well. Four wins at today’s 6 furlong distance leads this field! 15/1 looks good.

Race 9: Lost Ark - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 6/1)

The Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at 1 1/16 miles is a major prep for the Breeders Cup Juvenile and drew a TOUGH field of young talent. Breeders Cup aside, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few of these runners in next year’s Kentucky Derby. Loggins was ultra impressive winning his debut for trainer Brad Cox with a 90 speed figure and will take some beating but Lost Ark was where I landed on the basis of his breathtaking move winning the Sapling at Monmouth. It’s hard to say much about the level of competition he faced that day but he could not have been more impressive winning as this lanky, gangly colt took massive and powerful strides to win by nearly 8 lengths with his final 1/4 mile in 25.41 which was more than a full second faster than anyone else was closing. This half brother to multiple Grade 1 winning Nest should have no problem handling the distance and could have a bright future ahead of him.

Race 10: Ivar - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 6/1)

If selecting my favorite horses to win big races is a crime, I’m guilty as charged. Ivar is one of my favorite horses in training and he’s been patiently handled by trainer Paulo Lobo who shipped him in from Argentina, already a two time Grade 1 winner back in 2020. Ivar won this race that year off three prep races that year. Last year he only had one prep race and still finished a strong fourth in this race before finishing a fast closing third in the Breeders Cup Mile. After an easy race at Indiana Grand he ran into Modern Games who’s our likely favorite in this year’s Breeders Cup Turf Mile but that race should set him up well for today’s showdown.

Best of luck to everyone playing Saturday’s races from around the US!

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