At the Gate - Saturday
December 7, 2012
By Mike Dempsey
Saturday's feature at Aqueduct is the $75,000 Queen's County, which drew a field of six including the imposing Todd Pletcher trainee San Pablo, who is the 3-5 morning line favorite.
The four-year-old colt has won eight of his 14 career starts including a victory in the Phillip Iselin (G3) at Monmouth Park back in August.
That victory earned him a shot against the big boys in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), but after tracking the early pace he faded badly to finish a well beaten ninth.
Pletcher found a good spot for him on Nov. 21 bringing him back at Penn National in the Swatara Stakes and he drew off to bet three foes by 4 ½ lengths.
He looks back on track and handled the Big A main track with a win versus Alw-2 optional claimers last November.
Can we beat him?
As you can see below I am going to take a stab we can beat him with the Maryland invader Tonto Fontenot.
It might be tougher to beat the chalk in the feature at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. Dust and Diamonds is the 8-5 morning line favorite in the $100,000 Sugar Swirl (G3), which drew a field of seven fillies and mares.
Pletcher sends out the favorite, who is ran a credible second behind Groupie Doll in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita. The filly was 3 ¾ lengths clear of the rest of the field in that outing.
Groupie Doll came back to run a game second in the Cigar Mile (G1) against the boys in her next outing.
The race is top heavy with early speed with my top three picks in the race each likely to be mixing it up early.
It is still tough to go against Dust and Diamonds, and the 8-5 morning line actually looks fair. I'm thinking the price is going to be lighter.
The filly that makes me a little nervous is my fourth choice Sacristy, who is coming off a runner up finish on the polytrack at Keeneland in the Raven Run (G2). She won the Old Hat (G3) over the main track and she looks as if she is going to get a good pace set up.
Saturday's Best Plays Report includes my eight strongest plays from Aqueduct and Gulfstream Park.
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Here is today's opening from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Clm $20,000B (12:30 ET)
7 Madman Diaries 4-1
1 Catalan 2-1
8 New Yawker 6-1
2 Taproot 8-1
Analysis: Madman Diaries set the early fractions and was no match for the winner in the stretch in a runner up finish and now cuts back to six furlongs. The runner that beat him was Bomber Bay, who came back to beat starter optional claimers in his next outing on Nov. 29 here. The gelding was claimed out of his last outing by the Guerrero barn that is 33% winners first off the claim. The gelding has lost a dozen in a row since winning the Sapling (G3) back in Sept. of 2010. He has been bouncing around among sharp barns and will give him one more shot here as he catches a group he looks as if he should be able to handle.
Catalan tracked the early pace and finished evenly in a fourth place finish against Alw-1 optional claimers last out, beaten five lengths for the top spot. The gelding was claimed out of the race by the Ness barn that is 38% winners first off the claim and hitting at a 31% clip overall in 2012 but has been relatively quiet here in New York. The gelding ran well two back in a runner up finish at this level behind repeat winner Big Grandpa, who beat non winners of three optional claimers in his next start by 7 1/4 lengths on Oct. 19. He put in a bullet drill on Nov. 18 over the main track here.
WIN: #7 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 1,7 / 1,2,7,8
TRI: 1,7 / 1,2,7,8 / 1,2,6,7,8
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Gulfstream Park:
GP Race 9 The Sugar Swirl G3 (4:35 ET)
6 Dust and Diamonds 8-5
3 Spectacular Sky 3-1
5 Honey Chile 6-1
2 Sacristy 4-1
Analysis: Dust and Diamonds chased the early pace from the outside, had a short led and could not hold off the talented Groupie Doll late in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) last out. Groupie Doll came back to miss beating the boys in the Cigar Mile (G1) by a nose in her next outing. Two back our top pick earned a career top winning the Gallant Bloom (G2) at Belmont Park going 6 1/2 furlongs. She owns a solid pace profile throughout and she looks tough in this spot.
Spectacular Sky set the early fractions and weakened to finish sixth last out in the Chilukki (G2) going a one turn mile at Churchill Downs. The third place finisher Salty Strike came back to win the Dream Supreme in her next outing on Nov. 23. The cut back to six furlongs should suit this gal, who won back to back stakes sprinting at Calder two and three back, both in gate to wire fashion.
WIN: #6 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 3,6 / 2,3,5,6
TRI: 3,6 / 2,3,5,6 / 2,3,5,6,7
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 The Queen's County (3:48 ET)
3 Tonto Fontenot 6-1
5 San Pablo 3-5
1 Indy Scent 15-1
4 Gallant Fields 4-1
Analysis: Tonto Fontenot invades from Maryland for jockey turned trainer Dane Kobiskie, who is hitting overall at a 29% clip this year. Our top pick stalked the early pace and got up late in a game win against Alw-3 optional claimers at Laurel park last out in a race washed off the grass. Two back he ran a good second in the West Virginia Speaker's Cup at Mountaineer Park, and three back he ran a decent second against Alw-3 optional claimers in his first go off the claim. The winner of that race was Rush Now, who came back to win the First Responder Stakes at Philly on Oct. 20. The gelding has shown steady improvement since the barn switch and this guy appears to have the best shot of beating the imposing chalk in here.
San Pablo took the field gate to wire to win the Swatara at Penn National, his fourth win in eight starts this year. The effort was a nice bounce back after he faded to finish ninth in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) two back. He has a couple of stakes wins at nine furlongs this year, winning the Birdstone and Phillip Iselin (G3), matching his career top speed fig in the two efforts. The colt has a win over the surface and he is going to be tough to handle in this spot, but his price is going to be very much on the light side.
WIN: #3 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 3,5 / 1,3,5
TRI: no play
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.
R1: #2 Taproot 8-1
R2: #8 Everydoghadhisday 10-1
R3: #7 My Cousin Eddie 8-1
R5: #3 Acadian Blues 10-1
R6: #5 Kid Lightning 10-1
R8: #1 Indy Scent 15-1
R9: #5 El Corriente 20-1
Good luck today!
HORSE RACING EXPERT
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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