At the Gate - Friday
March 20, 2014
By Mike Dempsey
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We are just 42 days away from the Kentucky Derby and there are just 10 Derby preps race left to be decided, two this weekend. The $550,000 Spiral (G3) at Turfway Park drew a field of 12 on Saturday and on Sunday, a field of nine will go to the post in the $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3).
The Spiral will be contested over polytrack and is no longer considered a “major” prep race for the Derby since the track switched to a synthetic surface. However, Animal Kingdom did use the race as a prep before winning the 2010 Kentucky Derby.
Went the Day Well ran in the Spiral in 2012 and was fourth in the Derby, while Hard Spun also prepped in the race prior to his runner up finish in the 2007 Derby.
Solitary Ranger won the local prep, the John Battaglia in gate to wire fashion, drawing away to win by 4 ¾ lengths. The Wayne Catalano trainee is listed at 6-1 on the morning line.
The morning line favorite is the Jerry Hollendorfer trained Tamarando, who won the El Camino Real Derby (G3) over the Tapeta surface at Golden Gate Fields in his last outing.
Sunday’s Sunland Park Derby drew a field of nine including the Bob Baffert trained duo of Chitu and Midnight Hawk. Baffert won last year’s running with Govenor Charlie.
Chitu is coming off a game runner up finish in the Robert B. Lewis (G2) at Santa Anita while Midnight Hawk is coming back off just a two-week break after running third in the San Felipe (G2).
I will have selections and analysis for both of the Derby preps in Saturday’s Best Plays Report.
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Here is today’s opening from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Alw $52,000N1X (1:20 ET)
5 Borovo 2-1
2 Mr. Masterpiece 8-5
6 Money in Action 3-1
4 Perfect Disco 6-1
Analysis: Borovo took the field gate to wire last out to defeat $25,000 non-winners of two at Philly. The gelding bounced back after getting beaten by double-digit lengths in his first three starts against winners. The gelding faces state breds for the first time here for a sharp Philly outfit. The gelding owns solid early and mid pace numbers and catches a below average group of state breds here.
Mr. Masterpiece was off a beat slow after lunging at the break, stalked the early pace and weakened to finish fourth last out at this level in his first start against winners. The gelding broke his maiden two back by nine lengths facing $16,000 state breds. A better break should put him in the mix here although tough to take too short a price on the low % connections.
WIN: #5 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 2,5 / 2,5,6
TRI: no play
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 OClm $30,000N2X (4:43 ET)
5 Irish Whisper 5-1
4 Your Time Is Up 5-2
1 Bird House 7-2
7 Run a Dubb Dubb 4-1
Analysis: Irish Whisper stalked the early pace and made a mild late rally to finish fourth last out, beaten two lengths for the top spot. The filly caught a racing strip that was kind to inside speed that day. Two back this gal took state bred Alw-1 foes gate to wire in a sharp effort. The runner up in that race was Spinit to Winit and the fifth place finisher both came back to win next out. Our top pick looks primed for a top effort in her third start off the bench for the Englehart barn.
Your Time Is Up pressed the early pace and finished gamely to beat $50,000 starter allowance foes last out. She rolled over state bred Alw-1 company two back going gate to wire and drawing away to win by nearly 10 lengths. She has won three of her four trips on the inner track and fits well in this spot. Our top pick is likely going to end up offering more value for the top spot.
WIN: #5 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 4,5 / 1,4,5,7
TRI: 4,5 / 1,4,5,7 / 1,2,4,5,7
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.
R2: #5 Insighting 8-1
R4: #6 Confederate Bay 8-1
R7: #1 Bargaining Table 8-1
R9: #1 Royal Posse 10-1
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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HORSE RACING EXPERT
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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