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At the Gate - Friday
Just when I thought we would see our first racing at Aqueduct in 2018, the track decided the racetrack was unsuitable for racing and canceled the nine-race card on Thursday.

It is the seventh consecutive card that has been canceled due to snow, frigid temperatures and now the track being deemed unsuitable.

Racing at the Big A on Friday it not a sure thing, as the forecast calls for rain through most of the day.

The feature on Friday afternoon is the $100,000 La Verdad which drew a field of seven, but Holiday Disguise will scratch.

Trainer Linda Rice’s barn at Belmont Park is under quarantine after an unraced three-year-old trained by Rice tested positive for the equine herpesvirus.

Rice has 40 horses stabled at Belmont Park and they will not be able to run until the filly gets a clean test and will force Rice to scratch four runners out of today’s card.

The morning line favorite for the La Verdad is Quezon (7-5) who is coming off a victory in the Garland of Roses over a wet track at the Big A in her last outing.

I am going with Absatootly (3-1), who dueled for the early lead and weakened to finish third in the Garland of Roses. She likes a wet track and may be able to turn the tables.

Coming up on Saturday we have a pair of Road to the Kentucky Derby points races—the $200,000 LeComte (G3) at Fair Grounds and the $150,000 Jerome (G3) at Aqueduct.

A field of 13 likely goes in the LeComte if the filly Wonder Godot scratches. The 5-2 morning line favorite is Principe Guilherme, who won his first two career starts by a combined 18 lengths.

The Steve Asmussen trainee was a $600,000 Keeneland purchase and looks very talented, although he did not draw well with the 12 post.

The Jerome drew a field of eight including Firenze Fire, who won the Sanford (G3) and Champagne (G1) last year and was seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) in his last outing.

I will have selections and analysis for the two Derby preps in tomorrow’s column.

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 (12:20 ET)
#1 Mr. Dougie Fresh 7-2
#5 Hembree 2-1
#6 Vilma 9-5
#3 Brianbakescookies 5-1

Analysis: Mr. Dougie Fresh goes turf to dirt here for the McLaughlin barn. Last out this gelding put in a solid effort in a runner up finish in a 12-horse field, beaten a length for the top spot. He graduated on the main track at Philly last February and beat $40,000 non-winners of two on turf two back. These are not as tough as he faced last out and he is bred to love a wet track, by Ghostzapper out of a Pulpit mare.

Hembree exits the same race as our top pick. He dueled for the early lead and weakened to finish third, a head behind our top pick. He is 0 for 2 on the main track including a fifth in the slop at Churchill Downs against Alw-1 optional claimers last May. A decent off track pedigree and he is in light with the seven-pound bug.

WIN: #1 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,5 / 1,5,6
TRI: no play

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 8 The La Verdad (3:50 ET)
#2 Absatootly 3-1
#6 Quezon 7-5
#4 Holiday Disguise 5-2
#1 Wonderment 12-1

Analysis: Absatootly dueled for the early lead and weakened in the stretch to finish third last out in the Garland of Roses over a wet track here on Dec. 9. She won a pair of stakes last year including the state bred Iroquois two back where she came from off the pace, earning a career top speed fig. She owns a solid pace profile throughout and there is not a ton of true speed in here and she can either be sent or sit just off the pace. Her best and she can turn the tables on the favorite in here. She has landed in the money in seven of her eight trips on wet tracks.

Quezon made a good late rally to get up and win the Garland of Roses last out. She ran second to our top pick tow back. She has done her best work on wet tracks which she is not going to get today. She is the logical one to beat but our top pick is going to offer a bit more value for the top spot.

WIN: #2 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 2,6 / 1,2,4,6
TRI: 2,6 / 1,2,4,6 / 1,2,3,4,6

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.

R2: #2 Lillard Hall 8-1
R3: #6 Baronet 12-1
R7: #6 Gypsy Janie 10-1
R8: #1 Wonderment 12-1
R9: #3 Starlite Mission 15-1
R9: #5 Orchid Party 12-1

Good luck today!

· Dempsey: At the Gate - Thursday
· News: 2019 Kentucky Derby Odds
· Crhis Kay resigns as CEO of NYRA
· Accelerate made favorite to win Pegasus
· Santa Anita cancels due to heavy rain
· '3-horse spill' hospitalizes jockeys
· Kentucky Derby purse up to $3 million
· Gunmetal Gray rallies to win Sham
· Espinoza returns to exercising horses
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!

ike 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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