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At the Gate - Thursday
The dust is starting to clear regarding the Breeders’ Cup, with Classic winner Mucho Macho Man back at Gulfstream Park and his connections already thinking ahead to 2014.
The Kathy Ritvo trainee capped off the year with back-to-back Grade 1 wins, taking the Awesome Again followed by the Classic. It looks as if he will be back on the track in 2014 and may take a trip to Dubai for the $10 million Dubai World Cup.
It is an interesting plan because the five-year-old has never raced on a synthetic surface. Meydan has a synthetic Tapeta surface.
The beaten favorite in the Classic was Game On Dude, who now twice has gone into the Classic as the betting favorite with a shot of clinching Horse of the Year honors, and he failed miserably both times. Last year he was seventh and this year checked in ninth.
His trainer Bob Baffert said yesterday that the gelding may make another start this year. Baffert said the gelding may head to Churchill Downs later this month for the $500,000 Clark Handicap (G1) on November 29.
The gelding ran second in the 2011 Classic over the Churchill Downs main track.
Coming up this Saturday at Churchill Downs the feature is the $100,000 Cardinal Handicap (G3) for fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles on turf.
The race drew a solid field of 10 led by Miz Ida, who won the Mint Julep Handicap (G3) over the Churchill Downs turf back in June and Abaco, who is coming off a solid runner up finish in the Athenia (G3) at Belmont Park in her last outing.
The ladies will also compete in the feature at Belmont Park on Saturday. Eight were entered in the $200,000 Long Island Handicap (G3) at 1 ½ miles.
Waya Stakes runner up Anjaz is the 5-2 morning line favorite for trainer Tom Albertrani. Her main rival looks to be Strathnaver, who is coming off a victory in the Lady Baltimore at Laurel Park.
I will have selections for both stakes in Saturday’s column.
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Here is today’s opening from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Md Sp Wt (12:20 ET)
4 Great Minds   6-1
2 Matterhorn   2-1
5 Rebranded   4-1
7 Rare Eagle   3-1
Analysis: Great Minds makes his third career start here for the Bill Mott barn. The colt's first two trips were on turf, a game second in his debut where he was beaten just a neck and then last out he regressed, weakening in the stretch to finish fourth. Pedigree wise he seems better suited for the main track. The barn is 12% winners moving runners from turf to dirt. The colt, has three sibs to race, all winners, top earner Regal Nurse ($272,211).
Matterhorn debuts for the Todd Pletcher barn that is 28% winners with first timers. The colt was a $625,000 purchase, by Tapit (13% winners with debut runners) out of the stakes winner Winter Garden ($902,788) who has dropped three foals to race, all winners, top earner stakes winner Title Contender ($220,705). Solid works but going nine furlongs at less than 2-1 makes him tough to play for the top spot.
WIN: #4 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 2,4 / 2,4,5,7
TRI: 2,4 / 2,4,5,7 / 2,4,5,6,7
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 OClm $35,000N2X (3:43 ET)
4 Hot Stones   7-2
6 Kitty Panda   4-1
8 La Verdad   2-1
1 Haldane   8-1
Analysis: Hot Stones is coming off a sharp win last out against state bred Alw-1 optional claimers where she tracked the early pace and pulled away to win by 5 3/4 lengths as the 7-5 chalk. The filly owns a solid pace profile throughout and with Johnny V. out hurt this gal is reunited with Rosario who rode her in her first three career starts. She should get a good tracking trip sitting just off the pace.
Kitty Panda also beat state bred Alw-1 foes in her last outing, drawing away to win by 8 3/4 lengths. The filly jumped off and earned a career top speed fig in her win.  She could be a bounce candidate but is in good hands with the Clement barn and leading toward the trainer just having her on her game now.
WIN: #4 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 4,6 / 1,4,6,8
TRI: 4,6 / 1,4,6,8 / 1,2,4,6,8
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.
R3: #7 Normandy   8-1
R4: #6 Valar Dohaeris   12-1
R4: #8 Gone Country   10-1
R5: #3 House Latitudes   10-1
R6: #8 The Culchie   10-1
R8: #1 Haldane   8-1
R9: #4 Gimme Credit   12-1
Good luck today!

· Justify to resume training in California
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· Baffert has winning day, 3 times over
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.

Mike also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby, winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively.

No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track!

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

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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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