Best bet for the weekend of October 19-21

Oct 19, 2018 Dick Powell/

Chad Brown. Turf racing.

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Saturday is Empire Showcase Day for New York-breds at Belmont Park , with eight stakes races worth a total of $1.75 million. The weather is supposed to cooperate so we are hoping all five turf races stay on it.

Brown has starters in the races 3 through 5, with the 3RD and 5TH races being turf stakes races. This is where we will focus and try to use Brown’s runners as keys in the Pick 3 that begins in Race 3.

Leg A: Black Tide (#9) (3-1) and Offering Plan (#11) (8-5)

Race 3, the Mohawk Stakes for older New York-breds going 1 1/16 miles on the Widener turf course, has a field of 11 entered but the three main-track-only entrants will probably come out. Leaving a field of eight, BLACK TIDE (#9) (3-1) looks to have the same pace advantage that he used to his best advantage four weeks ago in the Ashley T. Cole Stakes going 1 1/8 miles on the inner turf course. The six-year-old gelding, who wired last year’s Mohawk by 1 1/4 lengths, made an easy lead in the Ashley T. Cole and kept his advantage to the wire on a course that favors that running style.

In Saturday’s Mohawk, part of that advantage is lessened by the Widener turf course that enables horses to make a move from behind without losing momentum. Chad Brown’s OFFERING PLAN (#11) (8-5) , second in the 2017 Mohawk, was making up ground furiously in the Cole and fell 1 1/4 lengths short. He has a solid record on the Belmont turf course, and jockey Javier Castellano can drop the dark bay back to make a wide run while clear of any traffic. The turf course should be firmed up and Castellano/Brown have been a terrific combination since the start of the Saratoga meet.

Leg B: Long Haul Bay (#1) (5-1), Eye Luv Lulu (#4) (9-2), My Boy Tate (#5) (7-2), Gold for the King (#8) (4-1)

Race 4, the second leg of the Pick 3, is the Hudson Handicap, a dirt sprint for older New York-breds going 6 1/2 furlongs. A well-balanced field of nine has been entered and Brown sends out LONG HAUL BAY (#1) (5-1), a son of Quality Road who has improved in his three starts this year. A Grade 3 winner going seven furlongs last year at three, the bay four-year-old will be ridden by Manny Franco, who will have to find some running room down on the rail on the main track.

EYE LUV LULU (#4) (9-2) looks to be the speed in the race. He held on for second by a neck in last year’s renewal and has been freshened up for this by Jason Servis.

MY BOY TATE (#5) (7-2) ran extremely fast over the winter at Aqueduct then was off for six months. His two starts have been promising and if he breaks well, he should be right in it.

Finally, GOLD FOR THE KING (#8) (4-1) ran three straight triple-digit BRIS Speed ratings before weakening to fourth last out on a muddy track at Saratoga in the John Morrissey Stakes.

Leg C: Fifty Five (#7) (7-5)

Race 5 is the last leg of this Pick 3 and it is the Ticonderoga Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf course.

In the Yaddo Stakes at Saratoga two months ago, LA MONEDA (#6) (8-5) got the jump on FIFTY FIVE (#7) (7-5) and was able to hang on by neck. Despite finishing a nose farther behind in third, I thought Fifty Five was the better horse that day since she made up a couple of lengths on the winner while extremely wide on the inner turf course.

The bay four-year-old came back as the odds-on favorite to win the John Hettinger Stakes last out and looks to be the stronger of the pair of Brown trainees in this one. Winner of last year’s Ticonderoga, she has raced well on yielding, firm and good ground in her last three starts. Castellano rides back.


Pick 3: #9, 11 with 1, 4, 5, 8 with 7

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