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At the Gate - Friday
It turned out to be a good day at Aqueduct on Thursday with three winners on top in the eight races, paying $7.70, $10.80 and $8.70.

It would have been four except for Mo Focused, who was my top pick at 4-5 in the fifth race. The gelding was battling for the lead with Cournoyer in the stretch and looked as if he was getting ready to get the best of his rival when he bore out badly.

So badly I thought he was going into the clubhouse for a hotdog and a Coke. Somehow jockey Manuel Franco was able to stay aboard and despite trying to correct him, the damage had been done. He did manage to fight back late while barely in the picture to hang on to the runner up spot.

Despite the eventful trip, he was still better than 14 lengths clear of the rest of the field.

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That type of behavior we rarely see out of a runner trained by Todd Pletcher. The colt was coming off a two-turn effort on the inner track where he was beaten just ¾ of a length for the top spot.

He did show some problems in his previous starts, veering in three back and bolting away from the jockey whip in his second career start, so maybe I should not have been so surprised.

Perhaps his connections should have named him No Focused.

To purchase my Aqueduct Report for Friday click here.

Here is the opening race from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:

AQU Race 1 Alw $50,000s (1:20 ET)
#5 Fahan Mura 6-1
#1 Bareeqa 8-5
#8 Lillie's Answer 2-1
#6 Queenofthechannel 5-1

Analysis: Fahan Mura graduated two back at Gulfstream Park over ground with some give to it which she might catch again today. Last out in her first start against winners she checked in fourth against $50,000 starter optional claimers. The filly was keen early and had to steady on the backstretch. The fifth-place finisher Notaprasaprice came back to beat Alw-1 optional claimers in her next outing. She makes her second start off a 2 1/2 month break here for the Clement barn and among the top three is going to offer the best value for the top spot.

Bareeqa returns off a two month break here after a fourth last out at this level at Gulfstream Park. She beat $30,000 non-winners of two and three in her two previous starts. She catches an easier group here and does not need to move forward much off her last effort to win here.

Wagering
WIN: #5 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 1,5 / 1,5,8
TRI: no play

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 7 OClm $75,000N1X (4:44 ET)
#3 Bonita Springs 8-1
#5 Addictive 6-5
#6 Tiz a Kitten 4-1
#1 Five Each Way 6-1

Analysis: Bonita Springs returns off a two month break after a fifth-place finish at Gulfstream Park last out against Alw-1 optional claimers. She had to be eased back after getting steadied heading down the back stretch and did not have enough punch left late. Two back at the level at Gulfstream Park she checked in fifth behind a pair of next out winners. She will appreciate the return to the state bred ranks here and her 8-1 morning line looks fair enough. She handled yielding turf pretty well three back in a fourth-place finish and there may will be some give to the ground today.

Addictive broke her maiden in her debut at Tampa Bay Downs in impressive style after getting off a beat slow. The Mott barn usually does not have them fully cranked first out and this gal was a $825,000 Ocala purchase. She is out of a Menifee mare that has dropped two other winners. She looks capable of moving forward off her debut as she take son New York breds but her price is going to be on the light side.

Wagering
WIN: #3 to win at 5-1 or better.
EX: 3,5 / 1,3,5,6
TRI: 3,5 / 1,3,5,6 / 1,3,4,5,6

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: #6 Foxy Posse 8-1
R4: #4 No Entiendo 8-1
R7: #3 Bonita Springs 8-1
R8: #8 tannery Row 10-1
R8: #7 Communion Money 8-1

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.
The 2015 Triple Crown saw Mike correctly predict American Pharoah to win both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Mike nailed the Exacta and Trifecta in the Belmont Stakes.

Mike had a solid 2014 Triple Crown race season, 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.

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