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At the Gate - Sunday

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The Woodward (G1) turned out just about how I thought it might, with Itsmyluckyday turning the tables on Moreno. The colt returned $7.70 and topped an exacta that paid $22.80.
 
In their last meeting in the Whitney (G1) Moreno was able to set an easy pace and took the field gate to wire. However, trainer Edward Plesa added blinkers on Itsmyluckyday, and jockey Paco Lopez rode a brilliant race, pushing the frontrunner the entire trip and taking over in the stretch.
 
A few bumps were exchanged and there was an inquiry and a jockey objection, but the result stood up.
 
Another exciting race was earlier on the card as two-time reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan returned off a four-month break and colic surgery to win the Bernard Baruch (G2). The gelding acted up a bit in the gate and then jockey John Velazquez was able to save some ground in the early going.
 
The gelding took over the lead late and had to hold off a late charge by longshot Optimizer, who came up just a nose short and looked to have his head in front a step beyond the wire.
 
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Wise Dan did not look 100% and he figures to move forward in his next outing, which likely will be the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland on Oct. 4. The ultimate goal is a third Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).
 
It is going to be a bittersweet day at the Spa today as track announcer Tom Durkin will hang up the microphone after calling the 10th race, the Spinaway (G1).
 
We have had the pleasure of hearing his calls for more than two decades, and he will be missed. There are so many incredible calls between racing in New York, the Breeders’ Cup and the Triple Crown races.
 
We only have 10 more races to enjoy the greatest announcer the sport has ever seen.
 
My Best Plays for Sunday includes my nine strongest plays from Del Mar and Saratoga.
 
To purchase my full card reports for Saratoga and Best Plays for Sunday click here.
 
Here is today’s opening race from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:
 
SAR Race 1 Alw $25,000s (1:00 ET)
11 Flamingo Lane   5-2
5 One Penny Piece   5-1
4 Chelsea Road   8-1
9 High Jinks   7-2
 
Analysis: Flamingo Lane had a three-race win streak snapped last out when she was beaten a tough neck against Alw-1 foes trying to get nine furlongs. The filly acted up a bit at the gate, set the early fractions and just could not hold off the winner in deep stretch. Two back she tracked the early pace and finished gamely to beat $40,000 claimers with the runner up in that race coming back to win for a $25,000 tag in her next start. Adsit finds a good spot for her here facing $25,000 starter allowance foes.
 
One Penny Piece checked in fourth last out in the mud in a race washed off the turf. The filly has done some of her best work on turf landing in the exacta in five of nine trips. She was a game second two back against $20,000 starter allowance foes going a mile. She fits here with her best and Serpe is sending out live runners at the meeting.
 
Wagering
WIN: #11 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 5,11 / 4,5,9,11
TRI: 5,11 / 4,5,9,11 / 4,5,8,9,11
 
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:
 
SAR Race 6 The Glen Falls G3 (3:39 ET)
8 Watsdachances   6-1
2 Viva Rafaela   5-1
3 Aigue Marine   5-2
7 Cat's Claw   3-1
 
Analysis: Watsdachances stalked the early pace and made a mild late run to finish third in the Matchmaker (G3) last out at Monmouth Park off a two-month break. The filly ran well in a runner up finish in the Galorette (G3) two back at Pimlico off a 6 1/2 month layoff. She ran well over the Spa turf here last summer, running second in the Lake George (G2) and Lake Placid (G2), the latter via DQ. She won the P.G. Johnson here as a juvie two summers ago. She makes her third start since November and the Brown barn has been on a nice roll the past couple of weeks at the meeting, particularly with turf runners. The 6-1 morning line looks generous.
 
Viva Rafaela tracked the early pace, made a good middle move around the far turn to get to the front and could no match strides late with the winner in a runner up finish in the Waya last out here going 1 1/2 miles. Two back she ran a decent third in the New York (G2). She was in the mix in a couple of graded stakes at Gulfstream Park earlier this year but has managed just an Alw-2 win in nine starts since landing in the U.S. She looks as if she may be sitting on a good one here in her third start of her current form cycle and her 5-1 morning line looks fair enough to give her a look here for Pletcher.
 
Wagering
WIN: #8 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 2,8 / 2,3,7,8
TRI: 2,8 / 2,3,7,8 / 2,3,4,7,8
 
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Del Mar:
 
DMR Race 9 The Del Mar Derby G2 (6:05 PT)
7 Flamboyant   5-2
5 Enterprising   9-5
1 Home Run Kitten   6-1
4 Talco   8-1
 
Analysis: Flamboyant came up short in a couple of tries at Belmont Park, last out rallying to finish third in the Belmont Derby (G1) in a good effort. The runner up in that race was Adelaide, who came back to win the Secretariat (G1) at Arlington park in his next start. He won the La Puente in his U.S. debut which came at Santa Anita back in April. It looks as if he should get some pace to run at here and it looks like nine furlongs may be his best distance.
 
Enterprising came up the inside with a good late rally to get up and win the La Jolla 'Cap (G3) last out and is perfect in two trips over the turf here. He won the restricted Oceanside here on opening day two back. He finished third behind our top pick three back in the La Puente. Fits with his best and this could be a chalky exacta.
 
Wagering
WIN: #7 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 5,7 / 1,4,5,7
TRI: 5,7 / 1,4,5,7 / 1,4,5,6,7
 
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.
 
Saratoga
R1: #4 Chelsea Road   8-1
R3: #5 Candyman E   8-1
R3: #2 Honorable Dillon   12-1
R4: #11 Q Two   15-1
R4: #1 Goodnewsisnonews   12-1
R5: #11 Escapist   8-1
R7: #3 Etiquette   10-1
R8: #2 Taghleeb   10-1
R11: #1 Lay It Down   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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