Trainer Todd Pletcher won the Coolmore Lexington for the fifth time yesterday with Winning Cause, and may have added yet another runner to his Kentucky Derby roster.
The 20 points puts Winning Cause right on the bubble to get into the starting gate for the 139th running of the Run for the Roses on May 4. Pletcher already is locked and loaded with Verrazano, Revolutionary, Overanalyze, Palace Malice and Charming Kitten.
The undefeated Verrazano figures to be the betting favorite and Pletcher's best shot of winning his second Kentucky Derby. Pletcher won the 2010 running with Super Saver.
Winning Cause paid a generous $15.60 for the win as my top pick, but we missed out on a nice exacta as General Election edged my fourth choice Pick of the Litter by a neck.
That followed another tough exacta beat in the sixth race. My top pick Valentino Beauty got the job done to the tune of $17.40, but we missed out on a hefty exacta when Border Song was beaten for the place spot at nearly 10-1 by a nose.
The night ended on a sour note as my top pick in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic, Caixa Eletronica ran terrible, and fading to finish fifth as heavy favorite Game On Dude picked up a $1 million check for the win, edging a hard trying Clubhouse Ride by a half-length.
Today is closing day at Aqueduct, we get a four-day break, and Belmont Park will open next Friday.
My Best Plays Report for Sunday features my selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for my eight strongest plays from Keeneland and Aqueduct.
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Here is today’s opening from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Clm $16,000N2L (12:50 ET) 3 Let the Kitten Run 8-5 2 Go Olivia Go 6-1 5 Caution Sign 9-5 6 Silent Joy 8-1
Analysis: Let the Kitten Run returns from Florida where last out the filly was outrun versus Alw-1 optional claimers and she drops into a softer spot here tagged for $16,000 and facing non-winners of two. The runner up in her last outing was Kibosh, who came back to beat Alw-1 optional claimers in her next outing here on April 18. She broke her maiden two back on grass for a $35,000 tag and now lands with the martin barn. She is the logical one to beat as she was facing tougher in Florida.
Go Olivia Go is 0 for 2 since the Jacobson barn since the claim for $35,000 out of her maiden win. She is a bit light in turf pedigree but did run pretty well in her debut on poly and broke her maiden on dirt. She makes her third start of her current form cycle and drops in class here. The barn is stronger on dirt but this gal is worth tossing in the mix here if she goes off near her 6-1 morning line.
WIN: #3 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 2,3 / 2,3,5,6
TRI: 2,3 / 2,3,5,6 / 1,2,3,5,6
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 6 OClm $25,000N1X (3:25 ET) 8 Manero 3-1 12 Make the Moment 15-1 3 Flirtatious Spring 4-1 9 Eurokay By Me 5-1
Analysis: Manero is back with state breds here after checking in a nonthreatening seventh last out at Gulfstream Park versus Alw-1 company when coming back off a 4 1/2 month layoff. Two back last October the filly tracked the early pace, had the lead heading for home and weakened late to finish third. A repeat of that effort here would be good enough to beat this group of state breds.
Make the Moment came off a two month break last out and took on winners for the first time. The filly was at the back of the pack early and made a mild late run to finish fourth going a mile on the inner track. The pedigree for grass is on the light side but she does appear to have more upside than most of these as she is making just her fourth career start. The Albertrani barn is 15% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from dirt to turf.
WIN: #8 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 8,12 / 3,8,9,12
TRI: 8,12 / 3,8,9,12 / 3,5,8,9,12
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Keeneland:
KEE Race 8 The Ben Ali G3 (4:42 ET) 7 Boisterous 3-1 2 Stephanoatsee 6-1 1 Successful Dan 8-5 5 Richard's Kid 5-2
Analysis: Boisterous makes his first start off a five month layoff here for the Shug barn that is 22% winners (with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a 61-180 day layoff. This guy has done his best running on turf including taking five graded stakes. He has a couple of solid looking works on poly here and has a pedigree type pedigree, by Distorted Humor out of a Cox's Ridge mare. I am thinking this guy is going to take to the fake stuff.
Stephanoatsee is another that has not competed on a synthetic surface in his career. He was outrun last out in the Santa Anita 'Cap (G1) after putting in a good effort in the Strub (G2) two back in a runner up finish. He has been working over the synthetic surface at Fair Hill and the trainer Graham Motion must have liked we he saw. The pedigree is solid for the fake stuff. He is by A.P. Indy out of an Unbridled mare. The barn has been on a nice roll at the meeting and this guy figures to be a decent price in this spot.
WIN: #7 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 2,7 / 1,2,5,7
TRI: 2,7 / 1,2,5,7 / 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.
R1: #6 Silent Joy 8-1
R2: #1 Ah Gaga 10-1
R2: #2 Vaid 12-1
R6: #12 Make the Moment 15-1
R7: #8 Our Day in Court 12-1
R8: #5 Kelli Got Frosti 8-1
R9: #6 Night Reader 15-1
Mike DempseyMike 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. No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track! Mike's Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card. Join Mike daily with top picks from Aqueduct or Gulfstream Park. You can also get his Weekend Best Plays Report in his Multi-Track package or sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
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Jerry SessaJerry "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. 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. Jerry looks forward to working with everyone and making money for anyone who invests in his picks on a daily basis. Join Jerry daily with picks from
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