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At the Gate - Friday
As expected, Saturday’s Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park will be split into two divisions. The racing office said the race would split if they received 20 entries but decided to go ahead with two races despite 19 entries.

Interest in the Rebel spiked after the cancelation of the San Felipe (G2) last Saturday at Santa Anita, leaving several Kentucky Derby hopefuls without a race including a pair of top contenders form the Bob Baffert barn.

Game Winner and Improbable are considered two of the favorites for the Run for the Roses and both were being pointed toward the San Felipe. Instead, they had to ship to Los Alamitos to train and now to Hot Springs to race.

Game Winner and Improbable are the co-favorites for the Kentucky Derby at BetOnline at +600, but they will not face each on Saturday.

Improbable will race first, drawing the nine post in the first division of the Rebel. The colt is perfect in three starts, winning the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) in his last outing on Dec. 8.

Two races later Game Winner will break from the five post in the second division, also making his three-year-old debut. The colt won all four of his starts last year, capping off his season by winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) on Nov. 2.

Baffert has won the Rebel six times in the last nine years. Todd Pletcher saddled the last two winners of the race. Pletcher is having a lean year with Derby contenders and sends no runners this year.

I will have selections and analysis for the Rebel in Saturday’s Best Plays Report.

Now is the perfect time to purchase my Monthly Package for just $99.95. It gives you a month of Aqueduct daily and Best Plays Report each Saturday and Sunday.

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 $25,000 (1:30 ET)
#4 Got the Gist 8-5
#5 Wanna Be Regal 3-1
#3 Causin' Trouble 5-2
#1 Highleelikelee 8-1

Analysis: Got the Gist returns off a 2 1/2 month break after getting beaten double digit lengths in her last two starts, last out in the slop. She returns to the Gargan barn that trained her back in '17. She was forwardly placed in some of her earlier starts including setting the early fractions in the slop at the Spa. She reunites with Carmouche who was aboard her four times and she catches a field without much early pace. Kendrick can steal this one. The barn is 23% winners runners coming back off a 61-180-day break.

Wanna Be Regal tracked the early pace and finished up well in a third-place finish last out, beaten a length for the top spot. Two back she ran third behind repeat winner Promise Me Roses who graduated next out and then beat $16,000 non-winners of two. She has been right in the mix in her last three start and fits here for a low-profile jock and barn.

WIN: #4 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 4,5 / 1,3,4,5
TRI: 4,5 / 1,3,4,5 / 1,3,4,5,8

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 7 OClm $75,000SAL (4:50 ET)
#2 Clench 3-1
#3 Stone Breaker 7-2
#6 Loverboy Lou 5-2
#4 Running Violence 4-1

Analysis: Clench dueled for the early lead and weakened to finish third last out at a mile and no cuts back to six furlongs. The colt graduated at 6 1/2 at Churchill Downs for a $30,000 tag and was third behind a pair of next out winners in the Heft in his stakes debut two back. The winner Alwaysmining came back to win the Miracle Wood and the runner up Win Win Win returned to win the Pasco and run third in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2). Servis is having a strong meeting here and is 28% winners moving runners from route to sprint.

Stone Breaker graduated in the mud last out against state bred $50,000 maiden claimers in his second career start. The third-place finisher Dr. Lloyd came back to graduate in his next outing on Jan. 26 against state bred maiden special weight foes. The colt earned the top last out speed fig and it was 20 points higher than what he earned in his debut two back. The Baker trainee has come back with three solid looking works and he still appears to have some upside.

WIN: #2 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 2,3 / 2,3,4,6
TRI: 2,3 / 2,3,4,6 / 2,3,4,6,7

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.

R1: #1 Highleelikelee 8-1
R2: #5 Cause I’m Alex 15-1
R3: #2 Too Many Tales 8-1
R5: #6 Moscows Got Talent 12-1
R6: #2 Lucid Dream 8-1
R6: #8 Wisecrack 12-1
R8: #4 Local Counsel 10-1
R9: #4 Dancetrack 15-1

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.

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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.

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