God's Tipster's Saturday Belmont at Aqueduct and Churchill Downs Picks: 6 races with the Pocahontas, Iroquois

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Racing at Churchill Downs.
Racing at Churchill Downs.Coady Photography / @ChurchillDowns on Twitter
God's Tipster is the Betting God's US Racing expert.
God's Tipster is the Betting God's US Racing expert.Betting Gods

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Friday’s Race Recap from Belmont at Aqueduct:

(All odds US)

Belmont at Aqueduct:

Race 1: SCRATCH

Race 5: 7th@ 14.00/1

Race 6: 6th@ 5.10/1

Race 8: 5th@ 6.50/1

Race 9: 1st@ 2.30/1 - BEST BET 🔥🔥🔥

In Race 1 we scratched. In Race 5 Free for Me raced near the back of the pack on debut and rallied through traffic while being given a tentative ride by Jose Ortiz throughout the stretch on debut. I’d give this one a big look next time out at likely long odds. In Race 6 Onlooker broke last and never caught up finishing sixth on debut. In Race 8, Lady Beth shot to the front and led until mid-stretch, where she was overhauled by several rivals ultimately fading to fifth. In Race 9 Being Betty our day’s BEST BET went to the lead and battled Stormy Disco from start to finish prevailing by a neck.

Let’s take a look at a few races from Churchill Downs and a few from Belmont at Aqueduct for Saturday. Fast and firm conditions are expected at both locations. Let’s get started!

Belmont at Aqueduct:

Race 1: Private Desire - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 4/1)

A TOUGH field of two-year-old maidens sprint six and a half furlongs to kick off our Saturday. We’ve got a few pricey well-bred types making their debuts and we’ve got a runner who put up an 80 speed figure in his debut, but I’m siding with one who put up a 68 over a sloppy track and that’s Private Desire. Private Desire caught a field in his debut that included a half-brother to Kentucky Derby winner Mage, who finished second there and is now stakes placed. The winner that day, Seize the Gray, is also stakes placed and runs in the Grade 3 Iriquois Stakes later today at Churchill Downs. Of the 7 horses who have returned from that field, 6 of them improved their next out speed figure by an average of 14.66 points. Private Desire was caught in behind the front-runners that day which can’t be easy when debuting over a sloppy surface, but still continued on gamely with good energy late. He’s been working well since, has top connections, and we might actually get the 4/1 morning line because of all the big name trainers listed here.

Race 2: Capone - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 6/1)

Allowance runners sprint 6 furlongs here and there should be plenty of pace on. I like Capone in this spot. He’s a horse I’ve always thought had potential but trainer Jimmy Jerkens could never quite get him figured out. Today he races for new connections and has a really sharp work-tab full of five furlong works which I love. He had been facing better company than he’ll meet today and has the early speed to sit close without being a die-hard speed-ball that will get cooked early. Trainer Rick Dutrow had a win off a trainer switch at 14/1 on 8/23 and I’m comforted by the fact that this guy hasn’t been dropped into the claiming ranks yet despite his running lines. Value at 6/1.

Race 3: Miss Our Hero - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 5/1)

Turf maidens navigate a mile and a sixteenth in Race 3. We’ve got some debut runners, some first-time turf runners and a few that have tried the surface before. Miss Our Hero gets the nod from me here. First time out she finished fifth and raced evenly over a muddy Saratoga main track. Trainer Bill Mott names his main rider - Junior Alvarado to ride this three-year-old daughter of Tapit of out the dam Market Magic who herself was a 45/1 debut winner on turf at today’s distance and became a stakes winner later in her career. This miss has a half-sister who won her debut on turf at a mile and has two speedy works to prepare her for her turf debut. Mott is 4 for 22 with fillies making their second career start going first time turf in routes for a 18% win percentage with an average payoff of $14.15. 5/1 odds offer fair value here.

Churchill Downs:

Race 4: Necker Island - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 8/1)

Most handicappers see the Louisville Thoroughbred Society stakes at six furlongs as a match race between the speedball Strobe, who’s 6/5 on the morning line and our 1/1 morning line favorite Bango, who’s another speedball and owns 10 wins over the Churchill Downs surface. Bango is actually going for a Churchill Downs all-time record: If he gets his eleventh win he’ll have the most wins ever by a horse at historic Churchill Downs. But with two co-favored runners with similar running styles along with two other speeds wouldn't it be great if there were a multiple stakes winning closer who also had a great record at Churchill Downs with multiple wins over our morning line favorite? Well, we’re in luck. Necker Island is just that horse. Along with his five wins at Churchill Downs, Necker Island owns a 2-1 record in races with Bango. His recent form might look a little muddied up, but he won a hard-fought race last time out where both the second and third place finishers came back to improve their subsequent speed figures. He’s been working well in preparation for this start and will be perfectly positioned to take down the speed. He offers value at 8/1 or higher.

Race 7: Riperton - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 12/1)

The Grade 3 Pocahontas at a flat mile on dirt for two-year- old fillies drew a competitive field of nine runners that will likely scratch down to eight since Raining Sugar ran on September 14. Riperton is my selection here. Presumably named for Minnie Riperton who sang the 1975 hit “Lovin’ You,” I will be LOVING this two-year-old daughter of Constitution if she can come through for us in this spot. Like so many of these two-year-old stakes races this time of year, there’s plenty of early speed so the trick might be to identify the runner who has learned to rate. A debut winner, Riperton tried to parlay that win as she was entered in the Ellis Park Debutante. Looking beaten on the far turn she turned in an eye-catching late run to nab second telling me that with the additional furlong she’ll get today she should only improve. She’s worked three times since that start including a work at 6 furlongs where she was paired up with male stablemate Balta, who broke his maiden under wraps before failing as the favorite when given more ground against stakes company. Trainer Paulo Lobo has excellent numbers with two-year-olds (25% wins) and with runners stretching out from sprints.

Race 9: Patriot Spirit - 2 pts win - BEST BET (US Morning Line Odds: 7/2)

The Grade 3 Iroquois for two-year-olds at a mile on dirt is our co-feature on today’s card and there’s a definite possibility we’ll see a few of these colts on the Kentucky Derby trail next season. Risk It is our 2/1 morning line favorite but as impressive as he was in his debut at Saratoga, he also looked like a sprinter to me. Trainer Steve Asmussen is just 1 for his last 10 (10%) in the last five years (only 30% in the money) with dirt runners making their second start while stretching out in a stakes race after a debut win. After viewing replays there was nobody more impressive than Patriot Spirit. Making his debut against a field of experienced rivals, Patriot Spirit was under a hammerlock from the start and when he was asked for run he drew off impressively and won under a hand ride. The second place finisher was a Godolphin runner who had previously finished second behind subsequent Grade 1 Hopeful winner Nutella Fella. The connections are low profile enough to keep the odds fair here and his dam was a Grade 1 winner. If our European members can can lock in the 7/2 morning line, I encourage you to do so because if the handicappers do their homework I think there’s a chance he’ll end up closer to 5/2 here in the US.

Best of luck to all our members playing racing from around the US on Saturday!

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