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At the Gate - Wednesday
The Kentucky Derby field has come into focus for the most part, with just two “wild card” race over the next two weekends offering up one last shot of getting into the Derby field.
Those two races are the Grade 3 Coolmore Lexington at Keeneland on Saturday and the Grade 3 Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial on April 27 at Churchill Downs.
Each race will reward the winner 20 points, with 8-4-2 points for the second through fourth place finishers.
Right now the trio of Charming Kitten, Code West and Tiz a Minister each have 20 points and are sitting at 20th through 22nd place in the points standings.
If two or more horses have the same number of points, the tiebreaker to get into the Kentucky Derby will be earnings in non-restricted stakes races, whether they are graded or not.
It looks like Vyjack, who lost for the first time in his career with a third in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial will have a familiar face saddling him on Derby Day after all.
Trainer Rudy Rodriguez met with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission yesterday, and after a two-hour meeting was granted a license to train in Kentucky.
Rodriguez was questioned about a couple of previous overages for the drug flunixin and his previous association with troubled trainer Rick Dutrow, who is currently serving a ten year suspension.
There is a stipulation to the commission granting Rodriguez a license. His barn will be under 24-hour video surveillance while the colt is in Kentucky.
Currently the colt is overcoming a lung infection and is stabled at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland.
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Here is today’s opening race from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Clm $12,500 (12:50 ET)
3 Swiss Tart   7-2
6 Chasing Moonlight   2-1
4 Catalan   3-1
1 Ultimo Principe   4-1
Analysis: Swiss Tart set the early fractions and getting caught inside the final furlong, beaten just a neck against $16,000 non-winners of three or a race since Jan. 1. The five year old caught a racing strip that was playing to outside stalkers and closers that day. The fourth place finisher Poppa's Pick came back to beat restricted $12,500 foes in his next outing on April 13. He steps into open company here but looks like a good fit and does not need to move forward all that much off his last effort to be a player in this spot.
Chasing Moonlight drops into a softer spot here after checking in third last out against $25,000 starter optional claimers. The winner of the race was Shotgun City, who came back to beat restricted $35,000 claimers in his next outing on April 11. The gelding earned figs two and three back that are good enough to win here. Two back he beat $16,000 non-winners of three or four year olds on the inner track here. The gelding owns a solid pace profile throughout and figures to bounce back with a better effort here.
WIN: #3 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 3,6 / 3,4,6
TRI: no play
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 OClm $50,000SAL (4:27 ET)
5 Charlie's Quest   9-5
1 Readthebyline   2-1
3 Invocation   4-1
6 Photon   6-1
Analysis: Charlie's Quest returns off a seven week break after running second at Philly versus Alw-2 optional claimers. The seventh place finisher Dilatory exited the race to beat Alw-2 optional claimers in his next start at Penn. The gelding adds blinkers here and looks well spotted facing starter optional claimers here. The RRod trainee has landed in the exacta in five of seven trips at the distance.
Readthebyline set the early fractions and weakened to finish fourth last out against Alw-1 foe going a mile on the inner track. Two back the gelding took the field gate to wire to beat state bred Alw-2 optional claimers. He owns a good edge in early and mid pace numbers and with the rail draw and the bug aboard he may prove tough to catch if he is able to shake loose early.
WIN: #5 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 1,5 / 1,3,5
TRI: no play
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.
R3: #6 Lisalisalee   8-1
R5: #5 Misslewhileuwork   12-1
R9: #7 Therapy   12-1
Good luck today!

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Mike Dempsey 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.
The 2015 Triple Crown saw Mike correctly predict American Pharoah to win both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Mike nailed the Exacta and Trifecta in the Belmont Stakes.

Mike had a solid 2014 Triple Crown race season, 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 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 Sessa Jerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins.
Jerry opened the 2016 Triple Crown season by hitting his Derby Day best bet, Nyquist. He also nailed the Derby exacta for a $30.60 payout. On 4/16/16 at Keeneland, Jerry hit an $819 exacta that led to a $38k Trifecta & a $300k Super.

In the 2015 Belmont Stakes Jerry dominated races 8-11 by hitting a $4,400 Pick 4, 3 Daily Doubles, 2 Pick 3's and calling American Pharoah as the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years.

Jerry is always looking to repeat his 2012 Triple Crown success, when he selected the winning horses for The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes.

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