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At the Gate - Friday
I often get asked about handicapping contests and tournaments and my response is usually the same—just put the money through the betting window.

Handicapping contests can lead to collusion among the players and we have seen it in the past in some of the biggest and richest contests, and it is tough to prove.

The latest is the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, and The Daily Racing Form is reporting that payments to players are being held up as it performs an internal investigation of the strategies used by several of the players who earned prize money.

Contest players put up $10,000 with $7,500 of used as alive betting bankroll.

Nine tournament players sent in a letter stating they thought there was collusion among some of the players including the winner, Nisan Gabbay, and the ninth-place finisher, Eric Moomey.

Gabbay has a co-own a limited-liability company with fellow tournament player Kevin McFarland.

McFarland told the DRF that he and Gabbay “handicap the races together, they made their own plays during the tournament. McFarland forcefully denied that the duo “colluded” on their plays.

“I play the races with him all the time,” McFarland said. “He’s my best friend since high school. But I have my own mind, and he has his own mind.” He added: “This is a joke. This is people who are sore losers.”

It will be tough to prove but will be interesting to see how this plays out.

It is tough enough to win money playing the ponies, and any time you enter a contest there is a chance you are going to get double or triple teamed by contestants playing together.

Contests are just not for me.

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 Md $40,000 (12:20 ET)
#4 Lillard Hall 8-1
#3 Latrevo 2-1
#2 Two Shy 5-1
#1 Toni Rox / 1a Gia Michael 6-1

Analysis: Lillard Hall tracked the early pace and weakened to finish sixth in her debut for a $50,000 tag at Belmont Park and took a little action, sent off at 5-1 in a field of eight. The $110,000 Keeneland purchase is out of a Storm Cat mare that has dropped two other foals to race, both winners. She catches a pretty weak looking field here and if she moves forward it should be enough to put her in the mix here at a decent price.

Latrevo dueled for the early lead and weakened to finish fifth going long on turf for a $75,000 tag. She was third in her debut in the mud in a race taken off the turf and then was forwardly placed and weakened to finish sixth going six furlongs on turf in her second start. She catches a softer spot here but Violette, who is solid with maidens is 0 for his last 20 moving runners from turf to dirt.

WIN: #4 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 3,4 / 1,2,3,4
TRI: 3,4 / 1,2,3,4 / 1,2,3,4,7

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 8 OClm $62,500N2X (3:47 ET)
#8 Spring in the Sky 3-1
#7 End Play 5-2
#4 War Stroll 5-1
#1 Blackout / 1a Next Shares 4-1

Analysis: Spring in the Sky set sharp fractions over a fast firm turf last out and got caught late in a runner up finish at this level last out at Belmont Park. The gelding has not won since taking a turf event at Belmont Park in July of '16. He owns solid early and mid pace numbers and with Carmouche up he will be sent. He could be a danger here if able to shake loose early.

End Play exits the same race as our top pick. he tracked the early pace and finished up well, beaten just 3/4 of a length. he was coming off a two month break and he beat Alw-1 foes at Belmont park back in June and is now 0 for 3 at this condition, but has been in the mix in each outing. he should get a good trip sitting just off the pace and if our top pick gets some pressure this guy should be right there to pick up the pieces.

WIN: #8 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 7,8 / 1,4,7,8
TRI: 7,8 / 1,4,7,8 / 1,2,4,7,8

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.

R1: #4 Lillard Hall 8-1
R4: #8 Seeking the Blue 8-1
R6: #6 Glowing Ember 10-1

Good luck today!

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Mike Dempsey Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year-round as well as covering the biggest events including the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup.
A professional handicapper and horseplayers for more than three decades, no handicapper in the industry works harder and been more successful in bringing horseplayers analysis that produces profits at the track!

Mike has owned racehorses and knows the racetrack from the backstretch to the finish line.

Mike is in his second decade of producing great results for the readers of Vegas Insider. Among his scores in the Kentucky Derby include winning with his top pick Animal Kingdom who paid $43.80 in 2011 and Super Saver at $18.00 in 2010.

While favorites have dominated the Run for the Roses in recent years, Mike’s full card analysis for every race on each card is always looking for value for horseplayers looking to pad their wagering bankroll.

Mike's Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card each day.

Check out Mike’s daily column At the Gate where he offers up free selections and live longshots.

Join Mike daily with top picks from Aqueduct or grab winners in the Weekend Best Plays Report in the horse racing Multi-Track package. Want more action? Sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
Jerry Sessa Jerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins.
Jerry opened the 2016 Triple Crown season by hitting his Derby Day best bet, Nyquist. He also nailed the Derby exacta for a $30.60 payout. On 4/16/16 at Keeneland, Jerry hit an $819 exacta that led to a $38k Trifecta & a $300k Super.

In the 2015 Belmont Stakes Jerry dominated races 8-11 by hitting a $4,400 Pick 4, 3 Daily Doubles, 2 Pick 3's and calling American Pharoah as the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years.

Jerry is always looking to repeat his 2012 Triple Crown success, when he selected the winning horses for The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes.

Jerry looks forward to working with everyone and making money for anyone who invests in his picks on a daily basis.

Join Jerry daily with picks from Santa Anita or choose a package that contains selections from Multiple Tracks for the LOW PRICE of $19.95! Or better yet, how about 30 Days of horse racing picks with his Monthly Racing Package for ONLY $99.95!
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