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At the Gate - Thursday

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We have a really good weekend of stakes action coming up on Saturday, with the Sunshine Millions at Gulfstream Park and a trio of stakes at Fair Grounds.
 
There are six stakes at Gulfstream Park worth $1.3 million, and the $400,000 Sunshine Millions Classic features a rematch of last year’s top two finishers Mucho Macho Man and Ron the Greek.
 
Mucho Macho Man went on to win the Grade 2 Suburban and ran a game second to Fort Larned in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic in his last start.
 
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Ron the Greek exited his runner up finish in last year’s Sunshine Millions Classic to win two of six starts, taking the Grade 1’s Santa Anita Handicap Stephen Foster Handicap. The Bill Mott trainee was off awkwardly in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and after being outrun early made a mild late run to finish fourth over a speed friendly racing strip.
 
There were supposed to be five stakes on Saturday at Fair Grounds, which is the Road to the Derby Kickoff Party, but rains have forced the two turf stakes, the Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap and Marie Krantz Memorial Stakes to be pushed back to Jan. 26.
 
The highlight of the Saturday card is the Grade 3 $200,000 LeComte for three-year-olds going 1 mile and 70 yards on the main track.
 
The top four finishers earn points to earn a starting spot in the gate for the Kentucky Derby. The LeComte is a prep for the other two key preps at Fair Grounds, the Risen Star on Feb. 23 and the Louisiana Derby on March 30.
 
I will have selections for all of the Sunshine Millions races and the LeComte in Saturday’s Best Plays Report.
 
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 OClm $25,000SAL (12:30 ET)
1 So Scott   2-1
4 Isn'tlovejustgrand   5-1
5 Precious Metal   3-1
7 Chasing Moonlight   4-1
 
Analysis: So Scott came back off a three month break last out and could not make up any ground in the stretch in a third place finish versus $50,000 starter optional claimers, catching a racing strip that was playing to inside speed that day. Jacobson claimed this guy last August for $25,000 and is 0 for 3 for the barn since, and we have not seen that much recently as the barn has been really strong with recent claims. Ramon sticks on this guy who has done some of his best work on the inner track, landing in the money in six of seven trips. He looks well posted here facing runners that have started for a tag of $25,000 and are non-winners of one other than.
 
Isn'tlovejustgrand dueled for the early lead over a speed friendly racing strip and could not finish, weakening to finish third last out. Two back he earned a career top in a fourth place finish against non-winners of three in a race in which the top pair both came back to win their next starts. He owns a 0 for 9 mark on the inner track but owns solid early and mid pace numbers and there is not a ton of speed signed up to go here.
 
Wagering
WIN: #1 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 1,4 / 1,4,5,7
TRI: 1,4 / 1,4,5,7 / 1,3,4,5,7
 
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
 
AQU Race 8 OClm $75,000N1X (3:48 ET)
2 Giant Finish   2-1
8 The Brothers Rap   10-1
3 Reaching Out   3-1
9 James Jingle   5-1
 
Analysis: Giant Finish was bumped coming out of the gate and a non-factor last out in the state bred Damon Runyon, checking in fifth. The colt was a good looking maiden winner in his debut going six furlongs on the main track., He caught a sloppy track last out in his first go around two turns and he finds a better spot here dropping into the Alw-1 level here for the Tony D. barn. The colt has worked well since his last outing and figures to bounce back with a better effort here.
 
The Brothers Rap came up the inside with a mild late rally to finish third last out over a wet track going six furlongs. The gelding caught a racing strip that was playing to speed that day. It was a god effort in his first start against winners and he has plenty of pedigree to handle his first trip around two turns. He is by Dehere out of a Dynaformer mare. He gets in light with the seven pound bug.
 
Wagering
WIN: #2 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 2,8 / 2,3,8,9
TRI: 2,8 / 2,3,8,9 / 2,3,6,8,9
 
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
R3: #6 El Bagre   8-1
R4: #3 American Buffalo   8-1
R6: #6 Big Breesy   10-1
R8: #8 The Brothers Rap 10-1
R9: #8 Potus   10-1
R9: #10 U Whippersnapper   15-1
 
Good luck today!

  
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