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At the Gate - Wednesday

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It has been a long nine days with no racing at Aqueduct, and we are back in action on Wednesday with a nine race card.

The break was so long that the last update on the NYRA.com website was a Dec. 15 article titled, "Saginaw Scores 10th Win of 2012 In Gravesend."

Here we are 11 days later and Saginaw is back in action as the even money favorite in the $75,000 Alex M. Robb, a 1 1/16 mile test on the inner track for New York breds.

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The David Jacobson trainee has won 10 races this year, tied for tops among all thoroughbreds this year with Clean Jean and Winning Dubai.

Jacobson claimed the gelding for $30,000 back in March and since that time he has won nine races for the connections including six stakes races.

Five of the stakes wins were against state breds, the lone exception the Gravesend last out. The gelding can turn that $30,000 investment into a cool half million with a win on Wednesday.

It is also opening day at Santa Anita on Wednesday and there is an outstanding card including three graded stakes.

My Miss Aurelia makes her first start since running second in the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic (G1) when she takes on six foes in the $300,000 La Brea (G1).

The following race is the $150,000 Sir Beaufort (G2) for three-year-olds that drew a field of eight. The Doug O'Neill trainee Fit to Rule is the 4-1 morning line favorite despite making his turf debut.

The final stake on the card is the best. A field of ten will line up in the $300,000 Malibu (G1), a seven furlong test that includes four runners that exit Breeders' Cup races.

The morning line favorite is The Lumber Guy (3-1) who ran a solid second behind Trinniberg in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1).

I have included the trio of stakes in today's Best Plays Report.

Wednesday's Best Plays Report includes my eight strongest plays from Aqueduct and Santa Anita Park

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

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

AQU Race 1 Clm $30,000 (12:30 ET)
1 Sumo 7-2
3 Irish Lion 3-1
5 Romancing the Gold 2-1
4 Pleasantfriday 4-1


Analysis: Sumo stalked the early pace from the outside and finished evenly for third last out going a mile on the main track at this level. Two back he put in a game effort in a neck loss for $16K tag, the winner Springcourt coming back to win for a $16,000 tag and the third place finisher Drink With Pride beating $15,000 foes in his next outing. The gelding makes his third start of his current form cycle and has run okay on wet track, with a win and a couple of thirds in four trips on off going and we may see some moisture in the track today.

Irish Lion was bumped, clipped heels and Ortiz hit the turf last out. The gelding was claimed out of the race by the RRod barn that is 25% winners first off the claim. The gelding owns back numbers that are a good fit and Ramon is back in action for the first time in a couple of weeks here, but the way Ortiz has started the meet off we can hardly call it a jock upgrade. The gelding is better on dirt and does have a win in three trips over a wet track.

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

Today's Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 4 The Alex M. Robb (1:54 ET)
2 Saratoga Snacks 6-5
5 Saginaw 1-1
4 Swag Daddy 12-1
1 Socialsaul 10-1


Analysis: Saratoga Snacks is making his first start setting the early fractions and was unable to hold off Lunar Victory late in a runner up finish in the state bred Empire Classic last out. The three year old was 6 1/2 lengths clear of the rest of the field and caught a racing strip that day that was not kind to speed. The cut back in distance should suit and Ramon picks up the call for the low % Sciacca barn. He has run well on wet tracks and looks like he has the best shot of derailing Saginaw.

Saginaw is going for his 11th win this year which would be tops as he is now in a three way tie with 10 victories. The gelding comes back quick having beaten three foes last out in the Gravesend on Dec. 15 going six furlongs. He has won 4 of 8 on the inner track in his career and has shown he can handle a wet track, landing in the exacta in 7 of 11 trips on off going. His last trip around two turns came here in March where he earned a 101 Beyer beating $30,000 claimers by 13 1/4 lengths. Jacobson claimed him that day and since then he has won nearly a half million bucks for the new barn. Our top pick may end up offering a bit more value in a rather unappealing betting race.

Wagering
WIN: #2 to win at 1-1 or better.
EX: 2 / 4,5
TRI: no play

Today's Featured Race of the Day from Santa Anita Park:

SA Race 8 The Malibu G1 (3:37 PT)
4 The Lumber Guy 3-1
1 Fed Biz 9-2
2 Jimmy Creed 6-1
3 Drill 4-1


Analysis: The Lumber Guy put in a good effort in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) in a runner up finish behind Trinniberg, who was taking full advantage of a speed friendly racing strip. Our top pick was caught in a bit tight coming out of the gate tracked the pace three wide, came out into the four path into the stretch and could not get to the winner. The third and sixth place finisher in the race came back to win next out. Two back he won the Vosburgh (G1) off a four month break. He makes his first start for the Drysdale barn that is 17% winners (with a +ROI) with newcomers to the barn.

Fed Biz did not fire in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1) last out, and he is better than he showed. Two back he ran a good third in the Indiana Derby (G2) behind repeat winner Neck 'n Neck, who won the Ack Ack (G3) in his next start. The colt won his first two starts over the main track and looking for him to bounce back with a better effort here.

Jimmy Creed was not much of a threat in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) last out and I thought this guy might be a player at a price. He was a game third two back in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1), beaten just 3/4 of a length for the top spot. Perhaps he just bounced last out off back to back triple digit Beyers in his two previous starts. The colt has worked sharply since his last outing and looks capable of bouncing back here.

Wagering
WIN: #4 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,4 / 1,2,3,4
TRI: 1,4 / 1,2,3,4 / 1,2,3,4,10

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: #1 Grantiggan / 1a Transit Blues 12-1
R4: #4 Swag Daddy 12-1
R4: #1 Socialsaul 10-1
R7: #7 Visionary Man 12-1
R7: #5 Grandpa Len 8-1
R8: #9 With Honorandgrace 8-1
R9: #5 The Mad Piper 8-1

Good luck today!

  
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  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.

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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.

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