At the Gate - Thursday
January 15, 2014
By Mike Dempsey
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Entries were drawn yesterday for the Sunshine Millions program at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, six stakes for Florida breds with purses that total $1.3 million. Among those entered to run is Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) champion Mucho Macho Man.
The Kathy Ritvo trainee is the 2-5 morning line favorite in the $400,000 Sunshine Millions Classic where the six-year-old will take on five foes going nine furlongs on the main track.
Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens has the return call on the son of Macho Uno, who capped off his 2013 campaign with victories in the Awesome Again (G1) and then the $5 million Classic. He made five starts on the year and earned $2,984,000.
It is going to be a big day for the “Man” as later in the evening he is up for the Eclipse Award for top older male and Horse of the Year. He won the 2012 Sunshine Millions Classic, and then last year in the race as eased over an off track.
The bridge jumpers may be out, as it appears his five foes are badly overmatched. Mucho Man Man has earned triple digit Beyers in eight of his last 11 starts. Only Bernie the Maestro has earned a triple digit Beyer, and it was last March against $16,000 starter allowance foes.
We have a Derby points race coming up on Saturday, which is part of Road to the Derby Kickoff Day, with five stakes races including the $200,000 Lecomte (G3). The winner of the race will earn 10 points toward a ticket to the Run for the Roses.
The race drew a field of nine led by Sugar Bowl winner Albano for the Larry Jones barn. Anne Smith will saddle Smarty’s Echo, runner up in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) who was not a threat in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) in a 10th place finish.
Gold Hawk, a $450,000 Keeneland purchase, will be sent out by trainer Steve Asmussen seeking his third win in as many starts. The colt is coming off a sharp win against first level optional claimers in his last outing.
I will have selections for the stakes action from Gulfstream Park and Fair Grounds in Saturday’s Multi-Track Report.
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Here is today’s opening from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Clm $25,000N2L (12:25 ET)
5 Margaret Ownzit 5-2
3 Foxbeau 7-5
1 Possetivevibration 7-2
4 Kiss Cat 8-1
Analysis: Margaret Ownzit was a good-looking maiden winner last out in her sixth career start, graduating against state bred $25,000 foes. The runner up Possetivevibration came out of the race to break her maiden in her next outing on Dec. 19 for a $25,000 tag while taking advantage of an inside speed favoring racing strip and is in here. Our top pick was claimed out of her maiden win by the RRod barn that is 26% winners (with a +ROI) first off the claim.
Foxbeau tracked the early pace and did not have enough punch left late in a third place finish against $50,000 starter optional claimers in her first go against winners. Jacobson claimed this gal from Asmussen out of her debut for $50,000 and it took three tries for her to pick up her maiden win. She drops into a softer spot here and does not need to move forward much off her last effort to get the job done in this spot.
WIN: #5 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 3,5 / 1,3,5
TRI: no play
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 Alw $62,000N1X (3:38 ET)
1 Little Rocket / 1a Jonata 5-2
7 Aliana 7-5
3 The Magic Stone 5-1
5 Cubicle Queen 15-1
Analysis: Little Rocket stalked the early pace while down along a deep rail and did not have enough punch left late in a fourth place finish against Alw-1 optional claimers in her first go off a two month break. The third place finisher in the race was Cape Cod Carol, who came back to beat Alw-1 company in her next outing on Jan. 2. Two back our top pick ran a game second against Alw-2 optional claimers, beaten just 3/4 of a length for the top spot. She beat state bred Alw-1 foes over the inner track and she is going to get a great pace set up here.
Aliana was bumped coming out of the gate, prompted the early pace and finished gamely to pick up her diploma last out. The runner up Katie's garden came back to beat Alw-1 foes in her next outing on Jan. 12 at Santa Anita. Two and three back the Mott filly ran second behind repeat winners. She still looks as if she has some upside and is the logical one to beat here at a light price.
WIN: #1 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 1,7 / 1,3,5,7
TRI: 1,7 / 1,3,5,7 / 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: #4 Kiss Cat 8-1
R3: #4 Dan’s Gold 10-1
R4: #4 Velvet Cap 8-1
R5: #1 First Penny 10-1
R7: #8 Voodoo Tales 12-1
R7: #10 No Means No 12-1
R8: #5 Cubicle Queen 15-1
R9: #8 Ballybrit 12-1
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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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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