At the Gate - Friday
March 1, 2013
By Mike Dempsey
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Coming up this Saturday we have just one race that is part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, with 85 points (50-20-10-5 for top four finishers) up for grabs in the Grade 3 $400,000 Gotham at Aqueduct.
The race drew a competitive field of 12 that will line up to go 1 1/16 miles on the inner track at the Big A. The race serves as a prep for the Grade 1 $1 million Wood Memorial on April 6.
The 50 points to the winner of the Gotham likely will be enough to earn a starting spot in the gate for the Kentucky Derby, which is now just nine weeks away.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has six runners among the 23 in Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW), and one of those will be in action in the Gotham.
Overanalyze is the 5-2 morning line favorite and is making his first start since winning the Grade 2 Remsen at Aqueduct on Nov. 24, his third win in five starts as a juvenile. The colt is listed at 20-1 in the KDFW.
The colt is one of two graded stakes winners in the Gotham field. The other is the Rudy Rodriguez trained Vyjack, winner of the Grade 2 Jerome on the inner track on Jan. 5. The gelding is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line for the Gotham, and he is listed at 30-1 in the KDFW Pool 2.
Four that exit the Grade 3 Withers which was won by Revolutionary are in the field, and Kiaran McLaughlin will saddle three runners that are each coming off maiden scores and facing winners for the first time.
The race anchors an outstanding 11-race card on Saturday that features a pair of Grade 2 races, the $200,000 Top Flight and the $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap.
On Saturday we will also venture out to Santa Anita and handicap the late Pick 4 which includes a pair of Grade 1 races, the $300,000 Frank E. Kilroe and the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap. My selections will be included in Saturday’s Best Plays Report.
The Big ‘Cap features a showdown between Game On Dude and Ron the Greek.
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Here is today’s opening from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Clm $12,500 (12:50 ET)
8 Macho Muchacho 8-5
7 Bail Out the Banks 3-1
2 Drink With Pride 5-1
6 Powhatan County 4-1
Analysis: Macho Muchacho returns off a 2 1/2 month break for the Parisella barn that has been sending out live runners at the meeting. In his last outing the gelding was a sharp winner versus open $14,000 claimers and has now landed in the exacta in five of his trips on the inner track. He runs well fresh and looks well spotted as he goes for his sixth win in a row.
Bail Out the Banks was a game winner last out against $12,500 non-winners of three or a race in six months. He had to steady and check when brushed losing his momentum briefly in the early going, coming with a four wide run and getting up late for the win. He bounced back after rearing up at the break and dumping the jock two back. He has won four of seven on the inner track and just needs to see some pace in front of him.
WIN: #8 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 7,8 / 2,6,7,8
TRI: 7,8 / 2,6,7,8 / 2,4,6,7,8
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 OClm $25,000C (4:22 ET)
2 Verbosity 3-1
1 Won Great Classic 2-1
5 Mineswept 5-1
3 Flying Zealous 7-2
Analysis: Verbosity was bumped coming out of the gate, stalked the early pace from the outside and finished up well for a runner up finish against state bred Alw-2 foes last out despite catching a racing strip that was strongly playing to inside speed. The winner was N.F.'s Destiny, who came back to beat open Alw-1 foes in his next outing with a 102 Beyer. The Hushion runner is 0 for 5 on the inner track but looks headed in the right direction and figures to move forward off his last effort with a better break and a fair racing strip.
Won Great Classic put in a game effort last out in his first go for the Rice barn off the claim, beaten just a neck against state bred Alw-2 foes. The gelding earned the top last out speed fig in the effort and he has done his best work on the inner track, landing in the exacta in 10 of 17 starts. He owns solid early and mid pace numbers and the bug Coa has done good work when riding for Rice.
WIN: #2 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 1,2 / 1,2,3,5
TRI: 1,2 / 1,2,3,5 / 1,2,3,5,7
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.
R4: #4 Luvacat 8-1
R5: #1 Lisalisalee 12-1
R7: #3 Visionary Man 10-1
R9: #3 Magna G 12-1
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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