At the Gate - Thursday
April 3, 2013
By Mike Dempsey
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Post positions were drawn for this Saturday’s two Derby preps and they both are going to be intriguing wagering propositions.
The Grade 1 $1 million Wood Memorial drew a field of ten led by the undefeated du of Verrazano, the 4-5 morning line favorite, and Vyjack, who is the second choice at 4-1.
The two runners that look interesting at first glance are Normandy Invasion (4-1), who had a tough trip in a fifth place finish in the Grade 2 Risen Star, and Elnaawi (12-1), who checked in third in the Grade 3 Gotham in his stakes debut and looks capable of moving forward off that effort.
There are 13 races on Saturday’s card at the Big A including five stakes. It certainly looks better than Thursday’s card, which is a disgrace. There are three five-horse fields and a six-horse field this afternoon.
The top four finishers from the Grade 2 San Felipe return to face off again in the Grade 1 $750,000 Santa Anita Derby. Flashback, who was the beaten favorite in the San Felipe behind Hear the Ghost is the 9-5 morning line favorite.
The colt is trained by Bob Baffert, who will also saddle Power Broker and Super Ninety Nine as he seeks his seventh victory in the race.
Super Ninety Nine looks like Baffert’s best shot after the colt won the Grade 3 Southwest at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 18 by 11 ¼ lengths, but the colt came up lacking in the Grade 2 Rebel as the beaten chalk, checking in fifth.
I will have selections analysis for both Derby preps 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 OClm $40,000SAL (12:50 ET)
1 Tenango 4-5
5 Santa Elf 5-2
2 Much Stronger 5-1
3 Candy Raider 8-1
Analysis: Tenango likely gets the day off to another chalky start. The gelding is coming off a good runner up finish against non-winners of two optional claimers going six furlongs on the inner track. The gelding earned a career top two back running second in the Freddy Capossela, beaten 2 3/4 lengths for the top spot. His last pair of speed figs tower over the rest of the field here. The extra ground here should not pose a problem. The barn is 21% winners moving runners from sprint to route.
Santa Elf overcame getting off a beat sow to break his maiden in his debut on Feb. 3 at Philly for the Levine barn that usually does not have them fully cranked first time out. The runner up in the race was English Manor, who came back to graduate in his next outing for a $40,000 tag on Feb. 25 at Philly. He is bred to go long but have to wonder why a $275,000 purchase debuts for just $40,000.
WIN: #1 to win at 4-5 or better.
EX: 1 / 2,5
TRI: no play
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 9 Clm $16,000B (4:52 ET)
10 Australis Princess 4-1
4 Our Gin Mill 3-1
5 Speedy's Gal 5-2
8 Mollie's Prize 15-1
Analysis: Australis Princess returns from Florida where last out at Gulfstream Park where the filly set the early fractions and weakened to finish sixth against $10,000 starter allowance foes. The winner of the race was Arsenal, who came back to beat $10,000 starter allowance foes in her next outing on March 15. The mare has not won since '11, she looks like a good fit and has a win and a second in three trips over the Big A turf.
Our Gin Mill is the second runner on the card shipping in from Maryland for the Boniface barn. The mare makes her first start since getting outrun last November against Alw-1 company at Laurel Park going 5 1/2 furlongs on turf. She is better going long and drops back in for a tag here. She was beaten just a nose two back at Monmouth Park versus $20,000 non-winners of three or a race since March 22. That was a highly graded race that produced three next out winners.
WIN: #10 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 4,10 / 4,5,8,10
TRI: 4,10 / 4,5,8,10 / 1,4,5,8,10
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: #3 Candy Raider 8-1
R2: #2 Cepheus 12-1
R4: #7 Drop the Gun 8-1
R7: #2 Silver Prize 10-1
R7: #6 Carameaway 12-1
R9: #8 Mollie’s Prize 15-1
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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