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At the Gate - Saturday

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Saturday's $100,000 Sham (G3) at Santa Anita Park gets the Road to the Kentucky Derby underway in 2013, with 10 points up for grabs for the victor.Saturday's $100,000 Sham (G3) at Santa Anita Park gets the Road to the Kentucky Derby underway in 2013, with 10 points up for grabs for the victor.Saturday's $100,000 Sham (G3) at Santa Anita Park gets the Road to the Kentucky Derby underway in 2013, with 10 points up for grabs for the victor.

A field of six will line up including the highly regarded Goldencents for trainer Doug O'Neill, who won the 2012 Kentucky Derby (G1) with I'll Have Another.

Goldencents has won two of three starts including winning the Delta Jackpot (G3) on Nov. 17. Last year the $600,000 first place check for winning the race would be enough to lock down a place in the starting gate for the Run for the Roses.

However this year the early preps are only worth 10 points, with the value of the races going up to 50 points for the winners in February preps, and the preps in March the value to the winner goes up 100.

Goldencents has 14 points, getting four for his runner up finish in the Champagne (G1) two back behind Shanghai Bobby, who went on to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1).

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To pick up another 10 points in the Sham the colt will have to beat a couple of Bob Baffert trainees. CashCall Futurity (G1) third place finisher Den's Legacy and recent maiden winner Manando will be saddled by the hall of fame trainer.

While the race has no points up for grabs, the $200,00 Jerome (G2) at Aqueduct may produce a couple of Derby hopefuls and serves as a prep for the Withers (G3) on February 2, the Gotham (G3) on March 2 and $1 million Wood Memorial (G1) on April 6.

A field of eight three-year-olds will line up with Traskwood winner Vyjack the 2-1 morning line favorite for trainer Rudy Rodriguez.

There are a couple of promising maiden winners that look as if they have some talent including Long River, a Kiaran McLaughlin trainee who is out of the Grade 1 winner Round Pond.

Saturday's Best Plays Report includes my ten strongest plays from Aqueduct, Santa Anita Park and Gulfstream 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 Md $25,000 (12:30 ET)
9 Sinistra 8-1
8 Like a Boss 6-1
7 Bellardo 5-2
2 Retired 2-1


Analysis: Sinistra drops in for a tag for the first time here for the Grusmark barn. The gelding was beaten double digit lengths in his first two starts, last out a sixth place finish on the main track. The runner up and third place finisher in the race both came back to graduate at the maiden special weight level in their next starts. The gelding comes back with lasix added and tries two turns for the first time. He has a pair of sibs that are winners including eight time route winner Preminger ($126,313).

Like a Boss is coming off a couple of fourth place finishes in his first two starts, last out going a mile here on the inner in his first trip around two turns. He did show a slight improvement second out and if he moves forward again hew would be right in the mix against this weak looking group.

Wagering
WIN: #9 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 8,9 / 2,7,8,9
TRI: 8,9 / 2,7,8,9 / 1,2,7,8,9

Today's Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 8 The Jerome G2 (3:48 ET)
3 Long River 5-2
5 Notacatbutallama 10-1
2 Vyjack 2-1
6 Mudflats 3-1


Analysis: Long River faces winners for the first time here after a game maiden score last out in his third career start. Two back the gelding ran well in his first route going a mile at Belmont Park, a runner up finish behind the talented Delhomme, who came back to run a close up third in the Remsen (G2) in his next outing on Nov. 24. The colt is well bred, by A.P. Indy out of the Grade 1 winner Round Pond ($1,998,700).

Notacatbutallama is a multiple stakes winner on turf and ran well last out in a game runner up finish in the state bred Damon Runyon on a sloppy track. The colt was five lengths clear of the rest of the field in the effort. The colt has performed so well on turf it is a bit surprising he was not shipped south to Gulfstream Park. He does have a pedigree that leans more toward dirt, by Harlan's Holiday out of a Hansen mare. The bullet drill over the training track at Belmont Park seems to indicate this guy should have no problem handling dirt and the 10-1 morning line looks generous.

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

Today's Featured Race of the Day from Gulfstream Park:

GP Race 10 The Marshua River G3 (5:05 ET)
6 Channel Lady 4-1
5 Heavenly Landing 5-1
1 Leading Astray 3-1
8 Filare l'Oro 20-1


Analysis: Channel Lady won her first stake last out taking the Stardust at Aqueduct with a good late rally. Two back in her stakes debut she tracked the early pace after bobbling coming out of the gate and finished up well for the runner up spot. She broke her maiden over the grass here last January and the Pletcher runner still looks like she has plenty of upside potential.

Heavenly Landing made a good late rally to get up late to win this race last year. The mare went 0 for 6 after that victory, snapping her losing streak last out where she beat allowance foes at Keeneland. The third place finisher in that race was Millennia, who came back to beat Alw-3 optional claimers in her next outing on Nov. 8 at Churchill Downs. The mare has worked quickly at Palm Meadows for the Kenneally barn that is 17% winners with runners coming back off a +90 day layoff.

Wagering
WIN: #6 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 5,6 / 1,5,6,8
TRI: 5,6 / 1,5,6,8 / 1,2,5,6,8

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: #9 Sinistra 8-1
R2: #5 Hold It 8-1
R4: #10 Commanding Officer 8-1
R8: #5 Notacatbutallama 10-1
R9: #10 Ambassador Bridge 12-1
R9: #6 Winter Now 10-1

Good luck today!

  
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  HORSE RACING EXPERT
  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.

No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track!

Mike’s Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card.

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  Jerry Sessa
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.

Jerry's is looking to repeat his 2012 Triple Crown success, when he selected the winning horses for The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes.

Jerry looks forward to working with everyone and making money for anyone who invests in his picks on a daily basis.

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