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At the Gate - Saturday
After Thursday’s good day with six winners on top on the nine race card at Aqueduct, I went into Friday the 13th hoping not to bounce or be too superstitious.
 
We had four winners on top on the nine race card at the Big A on Friday and really it was a better day than Thursday. The winners paid $6.90, $8.50, $18.40 and $4.90. We had six recommended exactas: $12.40, $23.80, $23.00, $80.00, $56.50 and $23.60.
 
In the early Pick 5 we had three winners on top and my second choice won the other two races, the $1 payoff coming back at $4,736.50.
 
Now we head off to Saturday and we have the final two Road to the Kentucky Derby point races on tap—the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park and the $200,000 Lexington (G3) at Keeneland.
 
It is tough to get past the top two favorites in the Arkansas Derby as Magnum Moon and Solomini look tough. The latter needs points to assure a starting spot in the gate for the Run for the Roses.
 
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It is the same predicament for My Boy Jack, the morning line favorite for the Lexington, who is sitting in 20th place in the point standings with 32. His connections thought his close up third in the Louisiana Derby would be his final prep, but now he needs a few more points to stamp his ticket to Louisville.
 
The Lexington is worth 20-8-4-2 points. A win and he is in, a runner up finish he likely makes the field. He did not get the best of draws, breaking from the 12 post, and at a short price I am going to try and beat him today.
 
My Best Plays Multi Track Report for Saturday includes my 11 strongest plays from Aqueduct, Oaklawn Park and Keeneland including all of the major stakes action.
 
To purchase my Aqueduct and Best Plays Reports for Saturday click here.
 
Here is the opening race from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
 
AQU Race 1 Md $40,000 (1:20 ET)
#3 Flipped   6-5
#4 Hokulea   5-2
#6 Wushu Warrior   9-5
#5 Buss the Bell   12-1
 
Analysis: Flipped was the beaten favorite last out for a $30,000 tag, stalking the early pace and coming up empty in the stretch in a fifth-place finish. He put in a good effort two back against $40,000 foes in the slop where he tracked the early pace and finished up with some interest in a runner up finish. He was claimed out of his last outing by the Diodoro barn that is 21% winners first off the claim. He is out of a Storm Cat mare that has dropped five winners, He catches a slow group here and we will have to settle for a puny price to start off the day.
 
Hokulea faded to finish a well beaten eighth last out and drops in for a tag here in his eighth career start. His lone go for this tag came back in January and it was his career best effort, a game second beaten a length. A repeat of that effort and he will trounce this field, but his last was not very encouraging. The cut back to 6 1/2 furlongs suits him.
 
Wagering
WIN: #3 to win at 7-5 or better.
EX: 3,4 / 3,4,6
TRI: no play
 
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
 
AQU Race 8 The Bridgetown (5:17 ET)
#8 Nootka Sound   9-2
#3 All Systems Go   2-1
#2 Barbarossa   3-1
#4 Ambassador Jim   7-2
 
Analysis: Nootka Sound returns off the bench with a sharp win versus Alw-1 optional claimers at Gulfstream Park going 7 1/2 furlongs. He cuts back here to a sprint but has shown enough speed in his first two starts that she should be able to handle the cut back here as she takes on the boys. She graduated in her debut on the main track at Keeneland and that earned her a trip to Royal Ascot where she was in the mix early in the Windsor Castle Stakes but caught some trouble and then faded. She fits here, and the 9-2 morning line looks fair enough. Good to see Pino make the trip to NY, he does not leave home often.
 
All Systems Go dueled for the early lead and finished gamely to pick up his diploma in his debut going five furlongs on the turf at Gulfstream Park. The $450,000 Keeneland purchase is out of the stakes winner Just Louise ($98,104). The extra furlong here should suit her. Pletcher hits at a 30% clip (with a +ROI) overall in turf sprints.
 
Wagering
WIN: #8 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 3,8 / 2,3,4,8
TRI: 3,8 / 2,3,4,8 / 1,2,3,4,8
 
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Keeneland:
 
KEE Race 10 The Jenny Wiley G1 (6:12 ET)
#3 Off Limits   5-1
#7 Sistercharlie   7-2
#4 Dona Bruja   4-1
#8 La Coronel    9-2
 
Analysis: Off Limits is one of three in here sent out by the Chad Brown barn. The mare ran big winning the Matriarch (G1) two back at Del Mar and last out did not get enough pace to run at, making a mild late run to finish fifth beaten 1 1/2 lengths in the Hillsborough (G2) at Tampa Bay Downs off a 3 1/2 month break. There is enough pace in here to set things up nicely for her and the 5-1 miring line looks more than fair. She has handled ground less than firm which we could see today.
 
Sistercharlie is also sent out by Brown and she makes her first start since getting beaten a neck in the Belmont Oaks (G1) last July in her U.S. debut. She won a Group 3 and ran a good second in the Group 1 Prix de Diane at Chantilly last June. She adds lasix to the mix for Brown who is 26% winners with runners coming back off a +180 day layoff.
 
Wagering
WIN: #3 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 3,7 / 3,4,7,8
TRI: 3,7 / 3,4,7,8 / 1,3,4,7,8
 
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Oaklawn Park:
 
OP Race 10 The Oaklawn Hcp G2 (5:40 CT)
#4 Untrapped   10-1
#10 Accelerate   9-5
#11 City of Light   3-1
#7 Hedge Fund   4-1
 
Analysis: Untrapped just never seems to get the trip, landing in the money in 10 of his 14 career starts but he has just two wins. He got bottled up in the stretch last out, blocked and having to steady in the Essex 'Cap in a runner up finish and had some trouble two back in a fourth in the Razorback 'Cap (G3) in the mud. Now his main two foes have tough posts and after going off at 5-2 and 9-2 in his last two starts we should catch a more generous price here. He will get plenty of pace to run at and should be flying late. he gets eight pounds from the chalk.
 
Accelerate matches his career top speed fig with a sharp win in the Santa Anita 'Cap (G1), drawing clear to win by 5 1/2 lengths. He has ow earned trip digit Beyers in eight of his last 11 starts and five of his last six including a pair of 110's. He has enough tactical speed the outside post should not be too much of an issue. The price may be, as he seems likely to be south of his 9-5 morning line.
 
Wagering
WIN: #4 t win at 6-1 or better.
EX: 4,10 / 4,7,10,11
TRI: 4,10 / 4,7,10,11  / 4,5,7,10,11
 
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
R1: #5 Buss the Bell   12-1
R7: #7 Sir Ballentine   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 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.

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