Best Horse Racing Bets for Saturday, July 3, 2021

| July 3, 2021 3:58 am PDT

There is nothing like stakes races to bring out the best in competition, and I found a fistful at the three tracks I chose for my Saturday picks—Belmont Park, Gulfstream Park, and Evangeline Downs.

And underdogs—did I mention underdogs? Well, I found some very lucrative prospects at all three tracks, including an 8/1 sleeper in the John Henry Stakes at Evangeline.

Good luck!

Saturday’s Picks for Belmont Park

We’re starting with race eight—a 1-1/16 miles turf run for three-year-olds. My money is on the 5/2 morning-line favorite, Space Launch, ridden by Joel Rosario.

This colt finished all three of his career starts in the money, winning his initial maiden run, following that up with two third-place finishes—one of which was in the Awad Stakes (Black Type).

Top-ranked Christophe Clement trains Space Launch for owners Athlone Racing, Daniel Burke, and Jane Burke.

Race nine is the Perfect Sting Stake, a one-mile turf run for fillies and mares four years old and upward.

The purse is $100,000.

I’m betting my two dollars on Princess Grace, with Joe Bravo in the irons.

This four-year-old filly finished in the money each of her four career starts, graduating from the maiden class her first time out.

This also includes an allowance race last September, followed by a second-place finish in the Pin Oak Valley View Stakes (Grade III) at Keeneland in October and a win in the Mrs. Revere Stakes (Grade II) at Churchill Downs the following month.

A top-ranked trainer for the past two decades, Michael Stidham trains Princess Grace for owners-breeders John and Susan Moore.

Race ten is the Suburban Stakes (Grade II), a 1-1/4 miles main track run for four-year-olds and upward offering a $400,000 purse.

The morning-line would have us believe this is a two-horse race—and I couldn’t agree more.

In fact, I’m calling this one for the 1/1 second-favored Happy Saver, with Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard.

This four-year-old colt couldn’t stay out of the winner’s circle for all five of his career starts, winning his initial maiden run, a couple of allowance races; the Federico Tesio Stakes (Black Type) at Laurel Park last September, and the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (Grade I) last October here at Belmont Park.

For comparison, the 6/5 morning-line favorite, Mystic Guide, has eight money finishes in eight career starts, four of those wins. Admirable, but in this stakes race, not good enough.

Todd A. Pletcher trains Happy Saver for owner-breeder Wertheimer and Frere. Pletcher has had Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard Happy Saver for four of his five wins, including the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes.

Saturday Picks for Gulfstream Park

We’re on the turf course for race nine, a 7-1/2 furlong grass run for three-year-olds and upward. I’m betting on the second-favored (at 4/1) Financial System, with Edgard J. Zayas in the irons.

This seven-year-old gelding finished 13 of his 19 career starts in the money, winning seven of them.

For comparison, the 7/2 M/L favorite moneyed 13 of his 27 starts, winning four.

Jorge Delgado trains Financial System for Heehaw Racing. Delgado put Edgard Zayas in the irons for Financial System’s most recent win.

Back on the main track for race ten, we have the Smile Sprint Invitational Stakes (Grade III), a six-furlong, $200,000-purse dirt run for three-year-olds and upward. My money’s on the 3/1 second-favored Chance It, ridden by Edgard J. Zayas.

This four-year-old colt moneyed seven of his eight career starts, winning four, including the Mucho Macho Man Stakes (Listed), the FTBOA Florida Sire In Reality Stakes (Black Type), the FTBOA Florida Sire Dr. Fager Stakes (Black Type)—all in 2019 at Gulfstream—and the Mucho Macho Man Stakes (Listed) in 2020.

Saffie A. Joseph, Jr. trains Chance It for Shooting Star Thoroughbreds, LLC.

Race eleven is the Princess Rooney Invitational Stakes (Grade II), a seven-furlong, $350,000 main track run for fillies and mares three years old and upward. I’m betting all two of my dollars on Ce Ce, the second-favored entry at 3/1.

This five-year-old mare moneyed eight of her 12 career starts, winning five, including the Beholder Mile Stakes (Grade I) at Santa Anita and the Apple Blossom Handicap (Grade I) at Oaklawn Park—both in 2020.

Michael W. McCarthy—who took Rombauer to a first in the 2021 Preakness Stakes and a third in the 2021 Kentucky Derby—trains Ce Ce for owner-breeder Owner: Bo Hirsch, LLC.

My Saturday Picks for Evangeline Downs

We’re starting on the turf with race four—a one-mile grass run for Louisiana-bred three-year-olds and upward. I’m calling this race for the second-favored (at 3/1) P T’s Flash, ridden by veteran jockey Timothy Thornton.

This three-year-old gelding moneyed both of his career starts, placing third in March at Fair Grounds for his first maiden run, then graduating at Evangeline in May.

Sam B. David, Jr. trains P T’s Flash for Colonel Thoroughbreds LLC. David had Thornton saddle P T’s Flash for his maiden victory.

We’re back on the main track for race seven; a 5-1/2 furlong run for fillies and mares three years old and upward. I like the 5/2 second-favored Money Inthe Starrs, ridden by top jockey Diego Saenz.

This five-year-old mare finished in the money 13 of her 18 career starts, winning four, including the WA Cup Juvenile Filly Stakes (Black Type) at Emerald Downs in 2019.

Ranked among the top 100 trainers for wins in 2019 and 2018, Scott Gelner trains Money Inthe Starrs for owner Tyler Faul.

Gelner had Saenz saddle Money Inthe Starrs for her most recent win at Evangeline, a claiming race in early June.

Race eight puts us back on the turf for the John Henry Stakes (Black Type), a $60,000-purse, 1-1/16 miles run for three-year-olds and upward.

This race looks even tighter than the morning-line odds suggest, and I’m inclined to back the 8/1 sleeper, Gotta Go, with veteran jockey Gerard Melancon aboard.

This six-year-old gelding moneyed in 19 of his 30 career starts, winning ten. In comparison, the 5/2 morning-line favorite moneyed 30 of his 47 starts, winning 15. I’m no math major, but I believe Gotta Go has an edge here. Slight, maybe, but there it is.

Adding to that edge is Shane Meche, who trains Gotta Go for owner Tessa Dischler.

Meche is having one of the best years of his career.
J.W. Paine
J.W. Paine

J.W. Paine is one of the most experienced writers at He's written for television and the printed media, and is a published novelist (as Tom Elliott).

Paine loves writing about Las Vegas nearly as much he loves living here. An experienced gambler, he's especially familiar with thoroughbred horseracing, poker, blackjack, and slots.

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