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At the Gate - Wednesday

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We are a month into the Big A meeting and there is a four way scramble at the top of the training standings.

Rudy Rodriguez and David Jacobson are at the top right now with 15 winners each, while Rick Dutrow is third with 13 winners and Todd Pletcher is fourth with a dozen wins.

Next in line is Tony Dutrow, who has six winners from just 13 starters.

Leading the way in win percentage at the meeting with 15 or more starters is Jacobson, who is hitting at a 39% clip (15 for 38). The barn is winning with quite a few recent claims, moving forward just about every runner recently purchased, and the barn is not afraid to drop them into spots below the purchase price.

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Among the chilly barns are some high profile outfits. Tom Albertrani (1 for 27), George Weaver (2 for 22), Kiaran McLaughlin (1 for 22) and Mark Hennig (1 or 22) are among the barns on the frigid side.

Ramon Dominguez is atop the jockey standings despite being on the sidelines for the next few weeks with an injured ankle with 32 winners from 97 mounts.

After the leader the standings are tight, with Jose Ortiz having a strong meeting with 19 winners, followed by Cornelio Velasquez (18), Javier Castellano (17), and Joel Rosario (16).

We might have a few showers this morning, but it looks as if we will be on the turf for today's nine race program from Aqueduct.

Today's feature is a $35,000 optional claimer on the turf that goes off as the seventh race and drew a field of nine fillies and mares that will go 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Trainer Alan Goldberg sends out the filly Take Her Topthe Top, who has landed in the exacta in 8 of her 14 career starts on turf and looks like the value of the race if she goes off near her 6-1 morning line.

Purchase my Monthly Package and receive an entire month of Aqueduct action and my weekend Best Plays Reports for just $99.95.

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

AQU Race 1 Clm $14,000 (12:30 ET)
7 Pleaseandthankyou 4-1
4 Starforaday 7-5
6 Regal Strike 9-2
1 Hold That Broad 5-2


Analysis: Pleaseandthankyou dueled for the lead and battled on gamely right to the wire last out, coming up a neck shy of beating Alw-1 optional claimers at Monmouth Park. The gelding had earned a career top two back in a win against Alw-1 foes at Philly. He comes back here off a two month break for the Servis barn that is sending out live runners at the meeting.

Starforaday earned the top last out speed fig in a $30K non winners of three or a race in six months in his first go off the claim by the Jacobson barn. Two back this old time ran a decent third behind repeat winner Orsonian, who came back to win his next two starts, most recently beating starter optional claimers on Nov. 30 here. He is dropped in for a $14K tag here for the Jacobson barn that has been hot at the meeting, hitting at a 39% clip.

Wagering
WIN: #7 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 4,7 / 1,4,6,7
TRI: 4,7 / 1,4,6,7 / 1,4,6,7,8

Today's Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 7 OClm $35,000C (3:18 ET)
1 Take Her Tothe Top 6-1
9 Lady's Lunar Luck 2-1
5 Sally's Dream 7-2
7 Sheza Heartbreaker 4-1


Analysis: Take Her Tothe Top returns off a two month break for the Goldberg barn that is 27% winners (with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a 46-90 day break. The filly beat $20K non winners of three or a race on turf since July 1 in her last outing. The runner up The West Rim came back to beat restricted $16K foes in her next start on Oct. 18 at Belmont Park. Our top pick steps into a tougher spot here but has landed in the exacta in 8 of her 14 career starts on the lawn and is in good hands with Goldberg.

Lady's Lunar Luck is coming off a sharp score last out against starter optional claimers over yielding turf here. The third place finisher Sally's Dream exited that race to beat $16K restricted claimers in her next start and is also in here. The filly comes in here off back to back wins and the Kimmel barn has been sending out live runners at the meeting. The four time turf winner looks like a good fit in this spot.

Wagering
WIN: #1 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 1,9 / 1,5,7,9
TRI: 1,9 / 1,5,7,9 / 1,3,5,7,9

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
R4: #8 Professor Midnight 15-1
R5: #5 Cameron Canyon 8-1
R6: #10 Rathskeller 10-1
R9: #6 Daunting 12-1

Good luck today!

  
HEADLINES
Flamboyant wins US debut at Santa Anita
La Verdad captures Distaff Handicap
Mr Speaker wins Coolmore Lexington
Dynamic Impact wins Illinois Derby
Miss Da Point wins feature at Aqueduct
Touchofstarquality wins Big A feature
Image of Anna wins Big A feature
Stormy Lucy wins Santa Barbara Handicap
Dance With Fate wins Blue Grass Stakes
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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.

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