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At the Gate - Saturday
We have a good betting card on tap at Aqueduct for Saturday, the nine-race card including a pair of stakes races for the ladies on the turf.
The sixth race is the $100,000 Summer Secretary, a 1 1/16 mile turf test for three-year-old fillies that drew a field of 13.
The filly to beat is Watsdachances (5-2), an Irish-bred trained by Chad Brown that is dropping out of graded stakes company. The filly has lost six in a row but has finished in the money in a pair of Grade 2’s and a Grade 3 race.
Her last win came in the Ms Grillo (G3) last October at Belmont Park over yielding footing.
The feature is the $200,000 Long Island Handicap (G3) for fillies and mares going 1 ½ miles on turf. The 5-2 morning line favorite is Anjaz, who is coming off a runner up finish in the Waya Stakes at Saratoga back in August.
She faces a pair of runners sent out by Christophe Cement, Aigue Marine (4-1) and Tabreed (6-1), and Lady Baltimore winner Strathnaver fits well for trainer Graham Motion.
The feature at Churchill Downs is also for the ladies on the weeds. A field of 10 will line up in the $100,000 Cardinal Handicap (G3) at 1 1/8 miles.
The Larry Jones trained Starstruck is the 3-1 morning line favorite off a fourth in the Rodeo (G1) at Santa Anita in her last outing. She has won two of her five starts since arriving in the U.S. including taking the Matchmaker (G3) two back at Monmouth Park.
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Here is today’s opening from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Md Sp Wt (12:20 ET)
7 Unknown Road   7-2
8 Coup de Grace   8-5
5 Danaus   8-1
2 Special Agent   5-1
Analysis: Unknown Road makes his debut for the Hushion barn that is 23% winners with first time starters. The gelding has an appealing pedigree, by Bernardini (11% winners with debut runners) out of a stakes placed Known fact mare that has dropped eight winners including a pair of stakes winners, top earner Grade 1 winner banshee Breeze ($2.7 million). Decent works on the morning tab and he debuts with lasix.
Coup de Grace debuts for the Chad Brown barn that is 13% winners with debut runners. The $300,000 purchase is by Tapit (13% winners with debut runners) out of a stakes placed Storm Cat mare that has dropped five winners, top earner Enclosure ($138,782). The colt finds a good spot here for his unveiling for a sharp outfit.
WIN: #7 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 7,8 / 2,5,7,8
TRI: 7,8 / 2,5,7,8 / 2,5,6,7,8
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 The Long Island Handicap G3 (3:43 ET)
6 Strathnaver   3-1
2 Anjaz   5-2
3 Aigue Marine   4-1
5 Left a Message   5-1
Analysis: Strathnaver made a good late rally to get up late and win the Lady Baltimore last out at Laurel Park off a 2 1/2 month break. The filly bounced back off a sub-par effort two back when she shipped to Arlington Park for the Modesty Handicap (G3). In that outing she was outrun in the early going and never got untracked in a eighth place finish, beaten 23 lengths. She was outrun three back in the Sheepshead Bay (G2) but did not appear as if she liked the soft going. She has a win at today's 1 1/2 mile distance, taking the Bewitch (G3) at Keeneland at the spring meeting in her second start after arriving in the U.S. and landing with the Graham Motion barn. She is back on track here and will appreciate the extra ground here. The Motion trainee has a nice pedigree, out of the stakes winner River Belle ($289,613) who also dropped stakes winner Siyaadah ($236,922).
Anjaz is making her first start off a three month break. She was entered in the Glen Falls (G3) at the Spa on Sept. 2 but the race came off the turf. In her last outing she checked in a game second in the Waya at the Spa going 1 1/2 miles. She was down along the inside and then lacked running room exiting the far turn and did not get clear sailing until inside the final furlong. The third place finisher in that race as Mystical Star, who came back to win the Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon and then ran fourth in the Flower Bowl (G1). The fill is 0 for 4 since coming to the U.S. but has not had much luck, getting off poorly in her first two starts state side. She gets a jock upgrade to Javier Castellano here.
Aigue Marine was a game third in this race last year, beaten just 3/4 of a length for the top spot. She has only made two starts since, beating Alw-2 optional claimers in March and then fading to finish seventh in the Orchid (G3) at Gulfstream Park. She comes back here off a seven-month layoff for the Christophe Clement barn that is 28% winners (with a+ROI) with runners coming back off a +180 day layoff. She has a win at the distance coming in a small stake in France and the barn usually has them ready to go off the bench.
WIN: #6 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 2,6 / 2,3,5,6
TRI: 2,6 / 2,3,5,6 / 2,3,4,5,6
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Churchill Downs:
CD Race 8 The Cardinal Hcp G3 (4:06 ET)
6 Solid Appeal   4-1
8 Abaco   5-1
2 Starstruck   3-1
7 Somali Lemonade   7-2
Analysis: Solid Appeal did not fire her nest last out in the Canadian (G2) at Woodbine, tiring to finish eighth as the beaten favorite. She is much better than she showed din that effort reeling off three in a  row before running into Dank in the Beverly D. (G1) two back. Dank came back to win the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) in her next outing. Three back our top pick won the Dance Smartly at today's distance and with her not being in the mix in her last two outings she may end up getting overlooked on the tote here.
Abaco made a good late run to finish in the runner up spot last out in the Athenia (G3) at Belmont Park. Two back she was beaten just a nose in the lady Baltimore by Strathnaver, who is my top pick in today's Long Island 'Cap (G2) which will go off shortly before this race. The mare has landed in the exacta in 10 of her 14 career starts on turf and comes in here in the best form of her career off back-to-back career tops. The extra ground will suit her.
WIN: #6 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 6,8 / 2,6,7,8
TRI: 6,8 / 2,6,7,8 / 2,5,6,7,8
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.
R1: #5 Danaus   8-1
R2: #1 Sportswriter   8-1
R3: #4 Mr. O’Leary   8-1
R4: #6 Pasta Lover   15-1
R5: #3 Pegasus Tiger   8-1
R6: #10 Maixmova   10-1
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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