At the Gate - Thursday
January 31, 2013
By Mike Dempsey
Ruler On Ice came up with his first victory since upsetting the 2011 Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, snapping a nine race losing streak.
It looked as if it might be ten in a row as Spa City Fever was able to set moderate early fractions and it appeared my top pick was going to have enough late to pull off the minor upset at just under 3-1 in a field of four.
Ruler On Ice kicked in nicely in the final furlong to run him down and win by three-quarters of a length, returning $4.50 for the win.
His trainer Kelly Breen did not indicate what was next, but a stretch out beyond a mile and possiblly a return to stakes company is in his future.
We have a good Saturday of stakes action to look forward to including three Derby preps coming up, each with 17 points up for grabs (10 for winning) in the new point system for determining the field for the Kentucky Derby.
Aqueduct has a good card with four stakes, the highlight the Grade 3 Withers for three-year-olds that drew a field of eight led by the Todd Pletcher trained Revolutionary, who is the 3-5 morning line favorite.
At Tampa Bay Downs a field of ten will go to the gate in the Grade 3 $25,000 Sam F. Davis including Pasco Stakes winner Dynamic Sky form the Mark Casse barn.
At Santa Anita Park a field of just four will line up in the Grade 2 $200,000 Robert B. Lewis. Hall of fame trainer Bob Baffert will saddle half the field, sending out Flashback and Den’s Legacy.
I will have selections for all of the major stakes in Saturday’s Best Plays Report.
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Here is today’s opening from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Clm $20,000B (12:30 ET)
4 Bellamy 15-1
7 Point Taken 3-1
1 Trumpet Man 2-1
5 Budge Man 4-1
Analysis: Bellamy beat $12,500 non-winners of two last out and now stretches out to a route of ground on dirt for the first time in his career. The colt was claimed out of his last outing by the Contessa barn that is 9% winners first off the claim. The colt has just seven starts under his belt and appears to have more upside than most of these. He has enough pedigree to handle the stretch out. He is by Bellamy road out of a Dixie Brass mare. Worth a look if he goes off near his 15-1 morning line.
Point Taken was the beaten favorite last out on the stretch out, fading to finish a well beaten tenth. Two back he ran a good second in the slop going six furlongs. He now lands with the Jacobson barn who takes over from the exiled Dutrow. The barn is 28% winners (with a +ROI) with newcomers to the barn. He is better than he showed last out and expecting him to bounce back with a much better effort here.
WIN: #4 to win at 8-1 or better.
EX: 4,7 / 1,4,5,7
TRI: 4,7 / 1,4,5,7 / 1,4,5,6,7
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 OClm $35,000N2X (3:48 ET)
6 Lady Gracenote 5-2
4 Silver Prize 5-1
8 Freud's Notebook 6-1
7 Erin Enchanted 3-1
Analysis: Lady Gracenote caught a sloppy track last out and came with a good five wide rally to finish third at this level. The mare caught a racing strip that was playing to inside speed. The mare won two and three back versus easier and now stretches out to a route. She has handled going two turns and was competitive in state bred stakes company here last year.
Silver Prize drops into an easier spot against state breds here after setting the early fractions and weakening to finish third last out in the Ladies Handicap going nine furlongs. The filly passed her first state bred condition two back in a sharp effort at nearly 12-1 for the Antonucci barn. The cut back to a mile should suit this gal.
WIN: #6 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 4,6 / 4,6,7,8
TRI: 4,6 / 4,6,7,8 / 1,4,6,7,8
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.
R1: #4 Bellamy 15-1
R3: #4 Tapesprit 10-1
R7: #9 Rambling 10-1
Good luck today!
HORSE RACING EXPERT
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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