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At the Gate - Friday

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Zenyatta’s little half-sister finally made her second career start on Thursday at Santa Anita Park and the filly kept her record perfect with a good looking win against first level allowance foes.
 
Eblouissante stalked the early pace after breaking a beat slow while three wide, got to the front in midstretch and gradually pulled away to win by 1 ¾ lengths with jockey Corey Nakatani aboard.
 
The comparisons to her big sister Zenyatta started after she broke her maiden on Nov. 16 in her debut, and she is also trained by John Shirreffs who has shown plenty of patience with the large filly.
 
The four-year-old filly was sent off as the heavy favorite in the field of five and returned $3.00 for the win while adding $34,800 to her bankroll for the victory.
 
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Shirreffs said he would consult with her owner and breeder Eric Kronfeld before deciding what is next for the promising filly, but it certainly seems she would be stakes bound for her next outing.
 
Two stakes that are coming up in Southern California over the next couple of months include $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes on Feb. 16 and the $300,000 Santa Margarita Stakes on March 16.
 
Big sis won 19 of her 20 career starts, the lone loss coming in a runner up finish to Blame in the 2010 Grade 1  Breeders’ Classic.
 
The news out of New York was not good for trainer Rick Dutrow, who had a 10-year suspension go into effect on Thursday. His horses are in the process of switching barns, with Wesley Ward taking over most of his stock in New York and his former assistant trainer Michelle Nevin taking over the majority of his horses that are stabled in Florida.
 
The New York Racing Association announced they are considering cutting back racing at Aqueduct to four days a week. The field size has shrunk in recent weeks. In addition, there is talk of switching the inner dirt surface to a synthetic surface, and cutting the meeting short and going back to the Aqueduct main track earlier this year.
 
Racing is supposed to return to the main track on March 30, but there is talk about moving that date up by a couple of weeks. 
 
There have been four racing fatalities this year, and last year there were 21 at the inner track meeting.
 
Whenever there are fatalities, the blame always seems to go to the racing surface, when in fact the blame should go to trainers that are starting unsound horses or horses that are under the influence of painkillers.
 
It’s not always the surface.
 
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 $50,000SAL (12:30 ET)
5 Rice to Riches   6-1
6 Seven Dreams   10-1
3 Agualinda   8-5
4 Whateverworks   3-1
 
Analysis: Rice to Riches is one of three in here that has beaten winners, taking a $25,000 claimer last out in a sharp effort as the favorite. The filly was claimed out of the race by the Duggan barn that does not dip into the claim box that often, showing a 4 for 13 mark (with a +ROI) first off the claim dating back five years. She broke her maiden in her debut for a $35,000 tag for Pletcher and was fifth next out for Jacobson off the claim behind repeat winner Gritty Gal, who beat Alw-1 optional claimers in her next outing on Dec. 12 here. She is going to need to move forward off her last effort to win here but worth a look if she goes off near her 6-1 morning line.
 
Seven Dreams tracked the early pace and could not get to the winner in the stretch in a runner up finish over a wet track that was playing to inside speed. She makes her second start since landing with the low profile Esler barn that has landed three of five starters in the money at the meeting including a win.
 
Wagering
WIN: #5 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 5,6 / 3,5,6
TRI: no play
 
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
 
AQU Race 7 Clm $30,000B (3:18 ET)
8 Talented Whiz   8-1
3 Convocation   1-1
2 Sovereign Default   3-1
5 Punster   8-1
 
Analysis: Talented Whiz made a mild late rally over a sloppy speed favoring racing surface to check in third last out at this level as the beaten favorite. The colt was making his first start off the claim by the RRod barn that has been very live in here the last few months. Three back this colt set the early fractions and was beaten just a nose at this level. That outing was a one turn mile and here this is a two turn mile. CVel takes over from the bug and the 8-1 morning line looks fair enough to give him a look here.
 
Convocation set the early fractions and weakened to finish third last out against Alw-2 optional claimers in his first go off a 14 month layoff. The gelding was claimed out of the race by the Pletcher barn that does not hit the claim box often but when he does for the Repole barn they usually are live. The barn is 26% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180 day layoff.
 
Wagering
WIN: #8 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 3,8 / 2,3,5,8
TRI: 3,8 / 2,3,5,8 / 2,3,5,6,8
 
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: #6 Seven Dreams   10-1
R3: #6 Outlaw Cody Z   12-1
R5: #6 Sing Dixie Sing   8-1
R7: #8 Talented Whiz   8-1
R7: #5 Punster   8-1
 
Good luck today!

  
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Seek Again wins Fourstardave
Enterprising wins La Jolla Handicap
MORE HEADLINES
 
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