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At the Gate - New Year's Day

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We ring in the New Year at Aqueduct with a good nine-race betting card that includes a couple of stakes races.
 
Today does seem different than most years, as we have no NHL Winter Classic to look forward to, and I do not even have a hangover.
 
I am guessing NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is sporting a major headache this morning.
 
The stakes at the Big kicks off in the third race where a field of six will go nine furlongs in the $75,000 Ladies Classic.
 
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The Bill Mott trained Arena Elvira is the 7-5 morning line favorite as the six year old mare is seeking to recapture the form she showed last year. Her last win came in March at Tampa Bay Downs winning the Wayward Lass, which was her fifth victory in a row.
 
She is winless in three starts since, and today makes her third start off a six month layoff for the hall of fame barn.
 
Her main rival figures to be R Gypsy Gold, who gets some class relief after coming up short in her last four starts, all against graded stakes company.
 
The Todd Pletcher trainee stalked the early pace and finished evenly over a speed favoring racing strip last out in the Go For Wand (G2) going a mile on the main track at Aqueduct.
 
The feature today is the $75,000 Interborough for fillies and mares going six furlongs on the inner track.
 
Nicole H is seeking to become the first runner in the 92-year history of the race to win it three years in a row.
 
The Mike Hushion trainee is the 4-5 morning line favorite. 
 
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 $12,500 (12:30 ET)
9 Primal Baby   5-2
3 Salvar   8-1
4 Mizzen Donald   2-1
2 Summer Flick    6-1
 
Analysis: Primal Baby set the early fractions and weakened to finish third behind Mizzen Donald for a $14,000 tag. The mare was claimed for the third time in a row, this time by the Levine barn that is 27% winners (with a +ROI) first off the claim. This gal seldom runs a bad one, landing in the money in 21 of her 27 career outings.   
 
Salvar dueled for the early lead and could not hold off the late running winner late in a runner up finish against $15,000 non-winners of two or three year olds. The filly makes her second start off a three month break and second start off the claim by the Parisella barn that has been sending out live runners recently, hitting at a 30% clip the last 90 days.
 
Wagering
WIN: #9 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 3,9 / 2,3,4,9
TRI: 3,9 / 2,3,4,9 / 2,3,4,6,9
 
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
 
AQU Race 8 The Interborough (3:48 ET)
8 Singlet   5-1
2 Nicole H   4-5
6 Mildly Offensive   5-2
4 Hot Roots   15-1
 
Analysis: Singlet came off a three month break with a sharp score in the Garland of Roses last out on the main track here. The filly has two trips on the inner track, both wins starting off her year by winning the Xtra Heat and Dearly Precious. She owns a solid pace profile throughout and drilled a bullet on the inner track here on Dec. 26. She comes in here very sharp and is good hands with the Tony Dutrow barn. The 5-1 morning line looks generous.
 
Nicole H has won this race the past two years and comes into this year's running off a career top Beyer. She won the Daylily last out at Penn National and has now landed in the exacta in 8 of her 11 starts this year. The runner up in the Daylily was Winning Image, who came back to win the Willa On The Move in her next start on Dec. 15 at Laurel Park. She is perfect in four trips on the inner track and is the deserving favorite.
 
Mildly Offensive set the early fractions and could not match strides with My Wandi's Girl late, coming up a length short in the Pentelis here on the main track. The winner came back to finish third in the Gazelle (G1) in her next start. Her lone stakes win this year was the restricted Big Bambu at the Spa three back. She has made three starts for the Pletcher barn since shipping east with the lone poor effort coming in the mud two back. She fits here with her best but I would like to see her price drift up a couple of notches from the 5-2.
 
Wagering
WIN: #8 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 2,8 / 2,4,6,8
TRI: 2,8 / 2,4,6,8 / 1,2,4,6,8
 
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
 
R1: #3 Salvar   8-1
R2: #3 Golden Cheetah   8-1
R3: #2 Silver Prize   20-1
R5: #6 Grace and Courage   15-1
R8: #4 Hot Roots   15-1
R9: #12 Rock On Home   12-1
 
Good luck today!

  
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