Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:06 AM

At the Gate - Thursday

We are back in action at Aqueduct on Thursday after a three-day break and we have a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race coming up at the Big A on Saturday.

Only six will line up in Saturday’s $250,000 Withers (G3) with 10-4-2-1 points up for grabs for entry into the Kentucky Derby (G1).

However, it is a solid group led by Firenze Fire, who won last year’s Champagne (G1) at Belmont Park picking up 10 Derby points and then earned another 10 by winning the Jerome over the Big A main track on Jan. 13 in his last outing.

The Jason Servis trainee is currently sitting at a generous +4500 in Kentucky Derby wagering at [...].

Trainer Todd Pletcher will be well represented, sending out three runners—recent maiden winner Marconi, Mucho Macho Man runner up Bal Harbour and Jerome third place finisher Coltandmississippi.

Marconi is +3500 in early Derby betting at [...] while Bal Harbour is +5500 and Coltandmississippi is not yet listed.

Completing the field are Avery Island, the runner up in the Remsen and California Night, who broke his maiden in his debut for the Mike Maker barn.

There are two other Road to the Kentucky Derby points races on Saturday—the $350,000 Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park and the $150,000 Robert B. Lewis (G3) at Santa Anita.

I will have selections and analysis for all three Derby points races in Saturday’s Best Plays Report.

To purchase my Aqueduct Report for Thursday click here .

Here is the opening race from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:

AQU Race 1 Clm $14,000N3L (12:50 ET)
#1 Expresly   3-1
#2 B Three   7-5
#3 Queenofthechannel   9-5
#5 Alabama Bound   6-1

Analysis: Expressly prompted the early pace and faded to finish sixth last out against $35,000 non-winners of three in her first go off a three-month break. She has been beaten double digit lengths in each of her last three starts but now drops into a much softer spot here for Breen who has won with three of four starters at the meet. Garcia sticks and she should be tighter second off the short break.

B Three was a sharp winner two back beating $16,000 non-winners of two and then faded to finish fifth last out in the same race our top pick exits. The mare had run three good races in a row and looking for her to bounce back in this soft spot.

WIN: #1 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1 / 2,3
TRI: no play

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 7 Alw $67,000N1X (3:58 ET)
#1 Lion in Wait   6-1
#4 Greatreviews   4-1
#3 Full House   9-5
#2 Tasteful   2-1

Analysis: Lion in Wait makes her first start on dirt since her debut on the inner track here last March where she faded to finish sixth. Last out against $50,000 starter allowance foes she dueled for the early lead and finished gamely in a runner up finish. Two back she took the field gate to wire to beat $40,000 non-winners of two in her first start after breaking her maiden. The runner up and third place finisher both came back to win next out, beating $40,000 and $25,000 non-winners of two. The Cox barn is 27% winners moving runners from turf to dirt. Carmouche takes the call and with the rail draw she figures to be sent.

Greatreviews went turf to dirt to pick up her maiden score last out in her fourth career outing. She prompted the early pace, took over the lead and held on to win by 3/4 of a length. The runner up Total Control came back to graduate here on Jan. 21. The Mott trainee makes just her third career start on dirt and looks as if she still has some upside.

WIN: #1 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 1,4 / 1,2,3,4
TRI: 1,4 / 1,2,3,4 / 1,2,3,4,7

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.

R4: #4 Mister Hayes   8-1
R6: #1 Rock On Sandy   8-1
R8: #5 Nyromaniac   12-1

Good luck today!

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