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At the Gate - Friday

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We made it through Thursday's card at the Big A in pretty good shape, a day that featured six maiden races on the nine race card.

It was an eventful day as we saw one horse go down after clipping heels, and two others declared non-starters after Celtic Chante broke through the gate a split second before the start, which also caused Score Boyera trouble at the break.

Dispute the chaos we managed to hit six exactas, although the day ended up on the chalky side.

Friday's card looks solid, and we only have three maiden races to hit.

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Coming up on Saturday the feature at the Big A is the $75,000 Queens County, with the Todd Pletcher trained San Pablo the one to beat as the 3-5 morning line favorite.

The colt has won eight of his 14 career starts including back to back stakes this summer. He won the Birdstone at the Spa and then took the Phillip Iselin (G3) at Monmouth Park just 16 days later.

The colt was overmatched in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) where he checked in a distant ninth, and then returned to win the Swatara Stakes at Penn National on Nov. 21.

The runner that may have the best shot of beating him is the Maryland invader Tonto Fontenot, who is coming off a game nose win against third level optional claimers last out at Laurel Park in his first start off a three month layoff.

The gelding earned a career top speed figure in what was his third start since getting claimed by Dane Kobiske, who is based at Bowie and is hitting at a 29% clip overall on the year.

I will have my selections and analysis for the Queens County in tomorrow's column.

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

To purchase my full card report for Aqueduct for Friday click here.

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

AQU Race 1 Clm $15,000B (12:30 ET)
1 Lost Decade 7-2
7 Junior Officer 8-5
6 Goodtime Boy 5-2
3 Little Dale 6-1


Analysis: Lost Decade was not a threat in a fifth place finish last out against $25K non winners of two or three year olds on grass. The sixth and seventh place finishers in that race came back to win next out. This guy was claimed out of the race by the Ness barn that is 38% winners first off the claim. The barn has hit at a 31% clip overall in 2012 but here in New York has not really been much of an actor yet, hitting with just 2 of his last 19 starters going back three months. The colt switches back to dirt for just the second time in his career, and the barn finds a good spot here dropping him in for a $15K tag. Decent value if he goes off near his 7-2 morning line.

Junior Officer made a good late rally to finish third last out on Dec. 1 for this tag in his first start off the claim by the hit Jacobson barn. He makes his third start since coming back off nearly a three month break and the barn is strong with the quick turnaround, hitting at a 31% clip with horses coming back of a 1-7 day break.

Wagering
WIN: #1 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,7 / 1,3,6,7
TRI: 1,7 / 1,3,6,7 / 1,3,5,6,7

Today's Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 7 OClm $50,000N2X (3:18 ET)
2 Be Bullish 3-1
7 All of the Above 7-2
5 Wee Freudian 5-1
4 Rigby 9-5


Analysis: Be Bullish is coming off a good effort in a runner up finish behind Rigby, who took advantage of a speed favoring racing strip to take the field gate to wire last out. Our top pick stalked the early pace, was bumped lightly turning for home and finished up well. The gelding has done some of his best running over the Big A main track, landing in the exacta in 7 of 10 starts. He makes his second start off a 2 1/2 month break and can turn the tables here.

All of the Above makes his first start since last November for the Tony D. barn that is 44% winners (with a +ROI) with horses coming back off a +180 day layoff. The gelding broke his maiden in April of 2011 and then won three of four after picking up his diploma, his lone loss a tough beat in the Long Branch where he was edged by just a nose. He has a couple of bullet works at Philly on the morning work tab for a barn that has them ready to go off the bench.

Wagering
WIN: #2 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 2,7 / 2,4,5,7
TRI: 2,7 / 2,4,5,7 / 2,3,4,5,7

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: #8 Easter Child 15-1
R4: #8 Grisaille 10-1
R5: #7 Silver Prize 10-1
R5: #4 Motion Lounge 8-1
R6: #4 Big Sky Posse 9-1
R8: #7 Cross Gate 10-1

Good luck today!

  
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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.
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