Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:06 AM

At the Gate - Thursday

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has another serious Kentucky Derby (G1) candidate in Mourinho, who rolled to victory in Monday’s $150,000 Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park.

The colt was going two turns for the first time and took the field gate to wire, drawing clear to win by 3 ¼ lengths as the betting favorite, returning $3.20.

The colt earned a 99 Beyer Speed Figure, the second highest to date in a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race and picked up 10 points toward entry into the Run for the Roses.

The only higher number so far was the 100 that has been earned twice—by Bolt d’Oro in the Frontrunner (G1) at Santa Anita and by Good Magic in his victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Del Mar.

Mourinho was a $625,000 Ocala purchase, by Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver out of a stakes placed More Than Ready mare.

He broke his maiden in his debut and then ran second in the Speakeasy at Santa Anita ands the Bob Hope (G3) at Del Mar.

Next up likely would be the $900,000 Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn Park, a race that Baffert has won six times in the last eight years.

Before the Smarty Jones we could have received odds of 125-1 on Mourinho for the Kentucky Derby at Wynn in Las Vegas but those odds will surely shrink this week. He is at 15-1 at [...] this morning and not yet listed at [...].

To purchase my Aqueduct Report for Thursday click here .

Here is the second race (the opener looks chalky and a short field) from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:

AQU Race 2 Clm $25,000 (12:50 ET)
#2 Brimstone 3-1
#5 Bluegrass Prevails 5-2
#3 Sol the Freud 9-2
#6 Global Positioning 4-1

Analysis: Brimstone cuts back from a mile and drops into an easier spot here for the Englehart barn. Last out going a mile versus state bred Alw-2 optional claimers the gelding set the early fractions and weakened late to finish third. His last win came at 6 1/2 furlongs last July where he beat open Alw-2 foes. Lopez picks up the call and he looks well spotted taking on state bred $25,000 foes.

Bluegrass Prevails was washed out despite the cold weather and chased the early pace and finished up well in a runner up finish at this level in his first start off the claim by the RRod barn. He was taken two back in a win versus open $12,500 foes. He owns solid early and mid pace numbers and owns back numbers versus tougher.

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

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 8 OClm $25,000N1X (3:50 ET)
#7 Danebury 6-1
#6 Taoiseach 9-2
#8 Iron Power 7-2
#5 Becker's Galaxy 3-1

Analysis: Danebury makes his second start off the bench here for the Baker barn. He returned last out of off the bench and took some play, sent off at 5-2 but faded to finish ninth going six furlongs against state bred Alw-1 foes. He stretches out and did his best work going two turns, breaking his maiden on the inner track going two turns by a dozen lengths. The barn is 21% winners with runners making the second start off a +180 day layoff. He should be fitter here and the 6-1 morning line looks fair enough.

Taoiseach returns off nearly a two month break and races as a gelding for the first time where for the Schettino barn. He was vanned off two back at the Spa last summer and then ran a decent third last out against open $10,000 claimers. Decent works on the morning tab, able to get in a pair of works in December and one this month. He is in light with the bug and may end up setting overlooked on the tote for a barn that has been on the cold side in recent months.

WIN: #7 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 6,7 / 5,6,7,8
TRI: 6,7 / 5,6,7,8 / 5,6,7,8,9

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: #5 Frosty Margarita 8-1
R4: #3 Starlite Mission 12-1
R5: #6 Bar None 10-1
R6: #3 Danny California 12-1
R9: #6 Platinum Nugget 8-1
R9: #2 O Shea Can U See 8-1

Good luck today!

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