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At the Gate - Saturday

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Saturday's feature at Aqueduct is the $150,000 Long Island Handicap (G3), a 1 ½ mile turf marathon that drew a field of nine along with one main track only entrant.

We were off the turf on Friday, but the weather is on the improve and we should be back on grass for today's feature, although it is likely the turf will be labeled as good or yielding.

The Shug McGaughey trainee Hit It Rich is the 5-2 morning line favorite, looking to rebound off a seventh place finish against tougher in the Flower Bowl (G1) at Belmont Park over yielding footing. The mare won the Long Island last year, and her connections said this will be the final race of her career.

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She faces a solid group that including Spinster (G1) runner up Mystical Star, E.P. Taylor (G1) fourth place finisher Kissable, and a couple of European imports in Aigue Marine and Tannery.

The feature on Saturday at Churchill Downs is the $100,000 Cardinal Handicap (G3), which drew nine fillies and mares who will go 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

Churchill Downs also took the races off the turf on Friday, as the jockeys were complaining about slippery conditions on the turns of the Matt Winn turf course.

Daisy Devine is the 9-5 morning line favorite, and is making her second start off a five month layoff. She came back off the bench with a solid effort in a runner up finish in the First Lady (G1) at Keeneland going a mile on the turf.

She faces a tough group that includes graded stakes winners Bizzy Caroline, La Cloche, and Fugitive Angel.

Saturday's Best Plays Report includes my eight strongest plays from Aqueduct and Churchill Downs

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Here is today's opening from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:

AQU Race 1 OClm $35,000C (12:20 ET)
4 Consortium 5-2
3 Reload 3-1
1 Saturday's Charm 7-2
8 Slash Fire 4-1


Analysis: Consortium is making his first start since January where the gelding was bumped coming out of the gate and not a threat in a sixth place finish in the Holy Bull (G3) in the slop. The colt showed plenty of promise with a debut win and then a good second against Alw-1 foes in his first start against winners. This guy has a nice pedigree, by Bernadini out of the stakes winner Marietta ($297K). The colt has steady works for his return for the McLaughlin barn that is 28% winners (with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a +180 day layoff.

Reload cuts back to seven furlongs after tiring to finish fifth last out going a mile against Alw-1 foes. He ran into Saratoga Snacks, who came back to run second in the state bred Empire Classic in his next outing on Oct. 20. Two back at the Spa out second choice made a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot at today's seven furlong distance. The colt looks like a good fit here if he runs back to that effort. The Shug runner is out of the graded stakes placed Hidden Reserve ($203K).

Wagering
WIN: #4 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 3,4 / 1,3,4,8
TRI: 3,4 / 1,3,4,8 / 1,3,4,7,8

Today's Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 8 The Long Island Hcp G3 (3:43 ET)
4 Kissable 4-1
3 Tannery 8-1
2 Hit It Rich 5-2
5 Mystical Star 3-1


Analysis: Kissable had a tough spot, was outrun early, and made a good late run to finish fourth last out in the E.P. Taylor (G1) at Woodbine last out over ground labeled as good going 1 1/4 miles. The filly likes ground with some give to it like she did three back winning the Waya over yielding turf at the Spa at today's 1 1/2 mile distance. That is her lone win in four tries since coming from overseas, but she is Group 1 placed and the extra ground here and easier company should suit her.

Tannery put in a solid effort in her U.S. debut when third in the Garden City (G1) at Belmont Park, and then was not a real threat last out in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) at Keeneland, checking in eighth. She comes back here with lasix added for her third start of her current form cycle. She won a Group 3 at the Curragh before shipping to the U.S., handling ground labeled as soft. She has a win at 1 3/8 miles and looks as if she will be able to stay today's 1 1/2 mile distance.

Wagering
WIN: #4 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 3,4 / 2,3,4,5
TRI: 3,4 / 2,3,4,5 / 2,3,4,5,6

Today's Featured Race of the Day from Churchill Downs:

CD Race 9 The Cardinal Hcp G3 (4:37 ET)
1 Bizzy Caroline 3-1
4 Daisy Devine 9-5
8 Fugitive Angel 5-1
2 La Cloche 6-1


Analysis: Bizzy Caroline was a longshot in the Flower Bowl (G1) last out, tracking the early pace and weakening to finish fifth, beaten five lengths for the top spot over yielding footing. Three runners have come out of that race to win stakes next out including the runner up Zagora, who won the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. The filly seems to like firmer footing which she should get today, and she likes the Churchill Downs turf course where she has won three of her four trips, her last start here coming back in June where she won the Mint Julep (G3). The cut back to nine furlongs and the class relief should suit, and the Ken McPeek barn is off to a quick start at the meeting here.

Daisy Devine is likely to go off as the favorite here off her game runner up finish to Tapitsfly in the First Lady (G2) last out at Keeneland going a mile. The filly prompted the early pace, took over the lead and could not match strides late with the winner while 3 ¼ lengths ahead of Hungry Island. Her effort was her first go off a five month layoff and she figures to be fitter second off the bench for the Andrew McKeever barn that is 26% winners (with a +ROI) with runners making their second start off a 45-180 day layoff. He has run very well since switching to turf, winning four of six starts including the Jenny Wiley (G1) three back at Keeneland. She is the controlling speed in here and will be really tough if she shakes loose early.

Fugitive Angel stalked the early pace while in between foes, got bottled up in traffic on the far turn and finished up with good energy when clear to finish fifth against optional claimers on the polytrack at Keeneland. Two back she came back off an 11 month layoff to beat Alw-3 optional claimers on the turf at Delaware Park. She has won 4 of 8 on turf in her career including the 2010 Valley View (G3) at Keeneland. She looks primed for a top effort here in her third start off the bench for the Jonathan Sheppard barn.

Wagering
WIN: #1 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,4 / 1,2,4,8
TRI: 1,4 / 1,2,4,8 / 1,2,4,8,9

Live Longshots:
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.

Aqueduct
R2: #9 True Awakening 8-1
R4: #10 Valid 8-1
R5: #6 Gulf of Aden 8-1
R6: #3 Sasta Go Lucky 15-1
R7: #3 Paci Di Notte 12-1
R8: #3 Tannery 8-1
R9: #3 Out Mary Elizabeth 20-1

Good luck today!

  
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  HORSE RACING EXPERT
  Mike Dempsey
Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders’ Cup.
Last Year Mike had a solid Triple Crown, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick.

Mike has also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby,  winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively.

No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track!

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  Jerry Sessa
Jerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to VegasInsider.com. When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins.

Jerry's is looking to repeat his 2012 Triple Crown success, when he selected the winning horses for The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes.

Jerry looks forward to working with everyone and making money for anyone who invests in his picks on a daily basis.

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