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At the Gate - Sunday

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When the morning line favorite Dominus scratched out of Saturday’s Grade 2 $150,000 Ft. Lauderdale I was feeling pretty good about my top two picks Big Blue Kitten and Fifty Proof.
 
I was not feeling as good midstretch, as longshot Mucho Mas Macho came from off the pace to pass eight foes in the lane to pull off the upset, returning $85.20.
 
I completely overlooked the gelding as most horseplayers did. He actually came into the race in pretty good form. He won the Pebbles at Calder, then was not a threat in a fifth place finish in the off the turf Tropical Park Derby, and in his last start was a solid second in the Grade 2 William McKnight at Calder, beaten just 1 ¾ lengths at 39-1.
 
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Tiz Sardonic Joe held on to the runner up spot at betting odds of 19-1, completing a $2 exacta that returned $1,322.60.
 
My top pick Big Blue Kitten rallied to finish third, completing a $1 trifecta that paid $5,037.20.
 
Next on the agenda for the Henry Callazo trainee is the Grade 2 $150,000 Mac Diarmida on Feb. 16 and the Grade 3 $150,000 Pan American on March 23.
 
Lady Banks got the job done in the feature at Aqueduct on Saturday, winning the $75,000 Ruthless by two lengths, returning $7.80.
 
My top pick Little Rocket did not fire, pressing the early pace and weakening to finish fourth.
 
Despite missing the feature we still had a good day at the Big A with four winners on top and six recommended exactas.
 
Sunday’s Best Plays Report includes my eight strongest plays from Aqueduct 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 Clm $20,000N2L (12:30 ET)
6 Term Loan    5-2
1 Street Fight   10-1
5 Sokitumi Samurai   9-5
3 Alpha Zumba   3-1
 
Analysis: Term Loan made a mild late rally to finish fourth last out against $30,000 non-winners of two or three year olds in his first start off the claim by the Grusmark barn. Two back for a $15,000 tag the colt dueled for the early lead and held on well for the runner up spot in a good effort. The winner of that race was Late Starter, who came back to beat Alw-1 optional claimers in his next outing on Jan. 11 here. The colt has landed in the exacta in four of five trips on the inner track and should be closer to the pace here.
 
Street Fight shipped in from Canada last out and did not fire, tracking the early pace while saving ground and fading to finish ninth. It took him a dozen tries to break his maiden, finally doing it for a $20,000 tag and he came right back to run well in a runner up finish versus $40,000 non-winners of two. He gets a jock upgrade here to CVel and with a race on the inner track may move forward. Breaking from the rail he will be in the mix early and his 10-1 morning line looks fair enough to give him a good look here.
 
Wagering
WIN: #6 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 1,6 / 1,5,6
TRI: no play
 
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
 
AQU Race 8 The Swirlaway (3:48 ET)
3 Opus A  7-5
2 Shesabronxbomber   3-1
5 Mischief Maker   8-5
1 Silver Prize   8-1
 
Analysis: Opus A set the early fractions and weakened to finish fourth last out in the Jameela at today's one mile distance and now drops back into the state bred ranks here. The mare has done some of her best work on the inner track, winning four of eight trips including a couple of state bred stakes wins here last year. Two back she ran third in the state bred Chase The Dream behind Miss Valentine, who returned to win the state bred Lottsa Talc in her next outing on Dec. 2 here., Ramon takes over and she looks as if she is going to be tough in this spot.
 
Shesabronxbomber tracked the early pace and came up empty in the stretch in a fifth place finish against starter optional claimers last out on the main track. She was claimed out of the race by the RRod barn that is 24% winners (with a +ROI) first off the claim. She is back with state breds here and she run third in the New York bred Judy Soda back in September. She figures to bounce back with a better effort here for a barn that has been on fire in the Big Apple the past few months.
 
Wagering
WIN: #3 to win at 6-5 or better.
EX: 3 / 2,5
TRI: no play
 
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Gulfstream Park:
 
GP Race 10 The Hal's Hope G3 (5:05 ET)
5 Delegation   4-1
6 Csaba   5-2
4 Soldat   6-1
2 Associate   6-1
 
Analysis: Delegation tracked the early pace and could not get to Csaba in the stretch, checking in second, beaten 3 3/4 lengths for the top spot. The gelding was a good third two back in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1), catching an inside speed favoring racing strip. That outing was his first go on dirt in his career. The gelding owns a solid pace profile throughout and looking for him to turn the tables on the likely favorite here.
 
Csaba took the field gate to wire and landed in a deadheat in the Hooper (G3) two back and he looked even better last out earning a career top winning the Harlan's Holiday. The colt won 5 of his 12 starts last year and comes in here riding a three race win streak. The 5-2 morning line looks fair enough but the price is likely going to drift south here.
 
Soldat came up short last out on turf and is now back on the main track here. This guy won the Fountain of Youth (G2) over the main track here back in February of '11. He has a couple of good works at Palm Meadows and the barn is strong with layoff types.

Wagering
WIN: #5 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 5,6 / 2,4,5,6
TRI: 5,6 / 2,4,5,6 / 2,4,5,6,9
 
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: #1 Street Fight   10-1
R2: #1 Tactical Saenz    8-1
R3: #2 Mac’s Ink    8-1
R3: #6 Patriot Class   10-1
R5: #1 Lil’bella   12-1
R6: #6 Sylvia T   8-1
R7: #4 Sassidy   12-1
R8: #1 Silver Prize   8-1
 
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.

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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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