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At the Gate - Sunday

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I thought we had a shot of beating both Breeders’ Cup winners in the Cigar Mile (G1) on Saturday and I was right as Groupie Doll and Goldencents both came up short.
 
The only problem was I went with Verrazano as my top pick instead of Flat Out, who was my third choice in the race.
 
The Bill Mott trainee bounced back off an eighth place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) to win the Cigar Mile by 1 ¼ lengths, catching longshot Private Zone in the final furlong and returning $15.00 for the win. The $2 exacta paid $397.00.
 
Filly & Mare Sprint winner Groupie Doll checked in fourth, running into some trouble at the quarterpole. Dirt Mile winner Goldencents was a disappointing seventh as the 3-1 betting favorite.
 
The most exciting race of the day was the Remsen (G12) where early Kentucky Derby favorite Honor Code looked beaten in deep stretch, but somehow managed to come back and win by a nose over Cairo Prince.
 
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The Shug McGaughey trainee picked up 10 points for the win in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series. The colt closed at 10-1 in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
 
The other Derby points race on Saturday was the $150,000 Kentucky Jockey Club, which was won by Tapiture by 4 ¼ lengths.
 
The Steve Asmussen trainee won for the first time. He was second in his debut, was a close-up third in the Iroquois (G2), and then was third against maidens in his last outing.
 
The morning line favorite Almost Famous was scratched early, trainer Patrick Byrne reporting the colt had a slight bruise and infection to a hind hoof.
 
With Churchill Downs closed, we will head to Hollywood Park today, and there are a couple of Grade 1 races on tap. The track closes for good on Dec. 22.
 
Sunday’s Best Plays Report includes my nine strongest plays from Aqueduct and Hollywood Park.
 
Purchase my Monthly Package and receive an entire month of Aqueduct action and my Best Plays on the weekends for just $99.95.
 
To purchase my full card report for Aqueduct for Sunday click here.
 
Here is today’s opening from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
 
AQU Race 1 Clm $12,500N2L (12:20 ET)  
7 Start It Up   8-5
6 Colorme Kitten   6-1
9 Blue Ballerina    2-1     
2 Frosty But Funky   3-1
 
Analysis: Start It Up is coming off a runner up finish at this level last out for the Jacobson barn. The filly stalked the early pace, lugged out as she approached the quarterpole and finished up with some interest while no match for the winner. She catches a weak looking group here and gets a decent jock switch
from the bug to one of the barn's go-to guys in Cohen. Just not much else in here to get excited about.
 
Colorme Kitten tracked the early pace and faded to finish sixth last out against $15,000 non-winners of two. Two back she was outrun trying turf for a $16,000 tag. The filly has shown some early zip in past races and there is not much early speed or talent among this group.
 
Wagering
WIN: #7 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 6,7 / 2,6,7,9
TRI: 6,7 / 2,6,7,9 / 1,2,6,7,9
 
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
 
AQU Race 8 The Time for a Change (3:43 ET)
6 Long River   2-1
3 Battier   7-2
4 Micromanage   9-5
5 Vegas No Show   6-1
 
Analysis: Long River is coming off a sharp win last out against Alw-1 optional claimers in his second start off a seven moth layoff. The effort was flattered when both the runner up and third place finisher came back to win their next starts. The colt looks primed for a top effort here third off the bench and I am hoping he is the third choice in this six-horse field.
 
Battier did not fire his best last out in the Discovery 'Cap (G3) going nine furlongs here. Two back he ran a decent third in the Pa Derby (G2) behind Will Take Charge, who came back to miss winning the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) by a nose and then won the Clark 'Cap (G1) yesterday. The colt's last win came in the restricted Fit 2 Fight here at today's one-mile distance. He finished behind his stablemate Micromanage last out but is going to be the better price of the two.
 
Wagering
WIN: #6 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 3,6 / 3,4,6
TRI: no play
 
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Hollywood Park:
 
BHP Race 6 The Hollywood Derby G1 (3:04 PT)
3 Gervinho   8-1
4 Jack Milton   7-2
6 Admiral Kitten   5-2
5 Seek Again   6-1
 
Analysis: Gervinho tracked the early pace and finished up well in a third place finish last out in the Twilight Derby (G2), beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Rookie Sensation. Two back he was a good second in the Del Mar Derby (G2) behind Gabriel Charles, who would have been one of the favorites here but was knocked out this week with an illness. The colt has solid early and mid pace numbers and there really is not much early speed signed up to go here. He came from off the pace to win the Oceanside three back at Del Mar but should be closer to the front here and jockey Rafael Bejarano may even send this guy. The colt figures to be a decent price in this spot.
 
Jack Milton was third last out in the Jamaica (G1), beaten a length for the top spot. The Todd Pletcher trainee stalked the early pace while down along the inside, had to check when caught in tight nearing the three-sixteenths, had the lead briefly and did not have enough punch left late. It was his fourth straight third place finish since taking the Transylvania (G3) at Keeneland back in the spring. The colt has enough pedigree to handle 1 1/4 miles and was only beaten a couple of heads in the Virginia Derby (G2) at the distance. He is a half to turf stakes winner Peace Preserver ($382,166).
 
Admiral Kitten has landed in the exacta in all seven of his trips on turf. Last out in the Jamaica the colt had to steady early while down along the inside, came with a wide run and finished up well for the runner up spot. The Mike Maker trainee won the Secretariat (G1) two back at Arlington Park at today's 1 1/4 mile distance. The colt will be rolling late but is going to need some pace to at and may not get it here.
 
Wagering
WIN: #3 to win at 6-1 or better.
EX: 3,4 / 3,4,5,6
TRI: 3,4 / 3,4,5,6 / 3,4,5,6,9
 
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.
 
Aqueduct
R2: #4 Some Rocks   15-1
R4: #5 Estrange   12-1
R6: #10 Special Agent   10-1
R9: #6 Deferred Asset   10-1
R9: #14 One Smokin Cat   10-1
 
Good luck today!

  
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  HORSE RACING EXPERT
  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.
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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Jerry "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.

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