At the Gate - Saturday
January 3, 2014
By Mike Dempsey
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Aqueduct got hit with about seven inches of snow on Friday, but the sun is forecast to arrive by Saturday afternoon and it will be a balmy 28 degrees, so we should be back in action with the first points race on the road to the Kentucky Derby.
The $200,000 Jerome (G2) offers up 10-4-2-1 points to the top four finishers. The 20 top points earners in the Derby prep races will stamp their ticket to Louisville for the first Saturday of May.
The Jerome will serve as a prep for four Derby preps coming up in the next few months at Aqueduct. Upcoming stakes are the $250,000 Withers (G1) on Feb. 1, the $500,000 Gotham (G2) on March 1, and the $300,000 Bay Shore (G3) and $1 million Wood Memorial (G1) which both will be contested on April 5.
Noble Moon is the 6-5 morning line chalk for the Jerome off his good-looking maiden win followed by a third in the Nashua (G2) in his last outing.
The Leah Gyamarti trainee will be making his first start around two turns and at as low to the even money I think we will take a stab we can beat him.
Gulfstream Park has an outstanding betting card on Saturday which includes three stakes races, and the $100,000 Spectacular Bid could possibly produce a couple of Derby hopefuls.
A field of eight will line up to go six furlongs on the main track led by the Todd Pletcher trained Corfu, who is looking to bounce back off a disappointing effort in a fifth place finish in the James F. Lewis at Laurel Park. The colt is one of three stakes winners in the field, taking the Saratoga Special (G2) in August. Pletcher will also send out the promising debut winner Trail Blaze.
The supporting features on the Gulfstream Park card are the $100,000 Old Hat (G3) and the $100,000 Marshua’s River (G3) and they are both included in my Best Plays Report for Saturday.
My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my nine strongest plays from Aqueduct and Gulfstream 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 $20,000 (12:25 ET)
6 Flamingo Lane 3-1
2 Gingee 7-2
5 Iratinelexburance 2-1
3 Pegasus Beba 8-1
Analysis: Flamingo Lane stalked the early pace toward the inside and did not have enough punch left late in a fourth place finish at this tag. Two back on turf this gal was up on the lead and held on gamely until late in a third place finish and she was a decent third three back as well. She is better than she showed last out over a sloppy track and worth another look here for Adsit, a former top assistant to Linda Rice.
Gingee pressed the early pace and could not match strides late with the winner in a runner up finish against state bred $25,000 foes, coming up short for the 14th time in her career. She caught a racing strip last out that was playing to outside stalkers and closers. The stretch out to a route seems to have suited this gal. She has low % connections in her corner, but a repeat of her last effort puts her in the mix against this slow group.
WIN: #6 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 2,6 / 2,3,5,6
TRI: 2,6 / 2,3,5,6 / 2,3,5,6,7
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 The Jerome G2 (3:48 ET)
7 Classic Giacnroll 5-1
1 Noble Moon 6-5
2 Scotland 7-2
8 Master Lightning 6-1
Analysis: Classic Giacnroll is coming off a solid effort in a third place finisher in the Marylander at Laurel Park in his stakes debut. The colt sat off the pace, came with a six wide run and finished up well, beaten two lengths for the top spot. The winner of the race was Joint Custody, who came back to win the state bred Maryland Juvenile Championship in his next outing on Dc. 28 and the fourth place finisher Extrasexyhippster came back to win the Don Rickles Stakes here on Dec. 21. He makes his second start off a 2 ½ month break and has enough pedigree to handle two turns, by Derby winner Giacomo out of a Storm Bird mare.
Nobiz Moon took the field gate to wire in his debut returning his backers $53.50. He stepped up into stakes company last out in the Nashua (G2). He was bumped coming out of the gate and made a good late rally after coming six wide in the stretch to finish third, again at a generous price of 16-1. The $200,000 purchase is going to be a much shorter price in this spot. The colt is a half to graded stakes placed Mambo Fever ($124.010).
Scotland is still a maiden but this guy appears to still have a ton of upside. The Tony Dutrow trainee made a good late rally to just miss in his debut by a head at Laurel Park as the beaten favorite. Second time out the colt came with a four wide rally to finish in the runner up spot and looks as if he is going to appreciate the stretch out to two turns. The barn is 21% winners moving runners from sprint to route.
WIN: #7 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 1,7 / 1,2,7,8
TRI: 1,7 / 1,2,7,8 / 1,2,3,7,8
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Gulfstream Park:
GP Race 10 The Spectacular Bid (5:03 ET)
3 Corfu 5-2
2 Trail Blaze 3-1
8 Elusive Blueboy 5-1
4 C. Zee 6-1
Analysis: Corfu is one of two in here sent out by the Todd Pletcher barn. The colt has lost three in a row after winning the Saratoga Special (G2) back in August in his second career start. Last out he shipped to Laurel Park for the James F. Lewis where he did not get off as quick and chased the early pace from the outside before weakening to finish fifth. The fourth place finisher Joint Custody came back to win the Marylander and then the Maryland Juvenile Championship in his next two starts. Pletcher comes back with blinkers added which should put enough early zip into this guy he will be on the lead. The barn is 23% winners with first time blinkers.
Trail Blaze is also sent out by Pletcher and this guy was a god looking maiden winner in his debut at the Big A on Nov. 20. The colt tracked the early pace and drew off late to win by 4 3/4 lengths in good time. The third and fourth place finishers in the race both came back to graduate in their next starts. The colt put in a bullet drill on Dec. 30 at Palm Meadows. He is a half to graded stakes placed Trendy Lady ($199,299).
WIN: #3 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 2,3 / 2,3,4,8
TRI: 2,3 / 2,3,4,8 / 2,3,4,7,8
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 Pegasus Beba 8-1
R6: #8 Derek’s Girl 10-1
R7: #7 Erin Enchanted 15-1
R9: #7 Merryland Moon 8-1
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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