At the Gate – Saturday

After battling a chalky day at the Big A on Friday, the card on Saturday looks much better and we have a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race at Fair Grounds.

The $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) offers up 100-40-20-10 points toward entry into the Run for the Roses, meaning the winner locks in a spot and the runner up likely will make it into the starting gate on the first Saturday of May.

The 5-2 morning line favorite is My Boy Jack, who came up the rail to win the Southwest (G3) in the mud at Oaklawn Park in his last outing. The colt is currently listed at +3000 in early Kentucky Derby betting odds at [...].

The last four, and seven of the last nine winners of the Louisiana Derby exited the prep race, the Risen Star (G2) which was won by Bravazo. It was Bravazo at 21-1 followed by the runner up Snapper Sinclair at 41-1.

It was a strange result, but I liked the effort of the third-place finisher Noble Indy, who was making his stakes debut for the Todd Pletcher barn. He returns with blinkers added and the barn’s three-year-olds have been hitting on all cylinders recently and he gets the call as my top pick.

There is an outstanding undercard at Fair Grounds today including the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), $300,000 Muniz Memorial Handicap (G2) and the $400,000 New Orleans Handicap (G2) and I have included my selections and analysis for all of the graded stakes in today’s Best Plays Report.

My Best Plays Multi Track Report for Saturday includes my 10 strongest plays from Aqueduct and Fair Grounds.

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 Clm $14,000N3L (1:20 ET)
#6 Archie 3-1
#5 Ransom Note 8-5
#4 Mineralogy 9-2
#7 Hard Hitter 6-1

Analysis: Archie was bumped coming out of the gate, tracked the early pace and weakened to finish fourth last out at this level going a mile. The runner up Fielding Gold came back to beat $14,000 non-winners of three in his next outing on Feb. 17. The gelding appears to be heading in the right direction after coming back off the bench after getting eased in back to back races. Junior sticks and catches a soft group here. The barn is 16% winners moving runners from route to sprint.

Ransom Note took the field gate to wire to beat $16,000 non-winners of two and steps up a condition here. He owns solid early and mid pace numbers but there are several in here that can keep up with him early. Rice is having a strong meeting, hitting at a 27% clip overall and this gelding fits with his best but is going to be a light price.

WIN: #6 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 5,6 / 4,5,6,7
TRI: 5,6 / 4,5,6,7 / 1,4,5,6,7

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 9 Alw $57,000N1X (5:27 ET)
#5 Side Tracks 12-1
#11 Rock Doc 4-1
#7 Wicked Macho 8-1
#8 Breeze Burner 5-1

Analysis: Side Tracks stalked the early pace while down along a dead rail, angled out three wide in the stretch and finished evenly in a third-place finish against $25,000 non-winners of two last out. He makes his third start against winners and is back in with state breds here. His maiden score came three back in frontrunning fashion. He looks as if he still may have some upside and is going to be a decent price in this spot.

Rock Doc was bumped coming out of the gate, stalked the early pace and could not make up enough ground late in a fourth-place finish at this level, beaten 2 1/2 lengths for the top spot. The winner was Cerretalto, who came back to beat state bred Alw-2 optional claimers in his next start on Feb. 3. He prompted the early pace and weakened late to finish fourth two back behind another repeat winner. Three back in his first go against winners he was a game second, beaten just a half-length. He owns solid early and mid pace numbers and fits in this spot.

WIN: #5 to win at 6-1 or better.
EX: 5,11 / 5,7,8,11
TRI: 5,11 / 5,7,8,11 / 5,7,8,10,11

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Fair Grounds:

FG Race 11 The Louisiana Derby G2 (4:37 CT)
#2 Noble Indy 7-2
#9 My Boy Jack 5-2
#6 Hyndford 8-1
#1 Bravazo 7-2

Analysis: Noble Indy was bumped coming out of the gate, tracked the early pace and finished evenly in a third-place finish in the Risen Star (G2), beaten two lengths for the top spot. It was the colt’s first start against stakes company in just his third start overall. He returns with blinkers added and Johnny V. sticks on this colt. The colt appears to have more upside than most of these and has moved forward in each outing. The barn is 28% winners with adding blinkers for the first time. The colt is by Take Charge Indy out of the stakes winner Noble Maz ($327,340). Seven of the last 10 winners of this race came through the Risen Star including the last four and this guy can make up the two lengths to turn the tables here.

My Boy Jack came up the inside with a good late run and drew away late to win the Southwest (G2) last out in the mud at Oaklawn Park. The switch back to the main track seems to have suited this guy. He ran well two back in a third-place finish in the Sham (G3) after a seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) last fall. McKinzie exited the Sham to cross the wire first in the San Felipe (G2) but was disqualified for interference and placed second. The colt owns solid late pace numbers, but the question is whether he is going to see enough pace to set things up for him.

Hyndford was pointing toward the Sunland Derby (G3) on Sunday but could not get into the race and sticks here. He set the early fractions and could not hold off the winner late in a runner up finish against Alw-1 optional; claimers last out. The winner of that race was his stablemate Magnum Moon, who came back to win the Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn Park in his next outing on March 17. The colt was a $200,000 Keeneland purchase by Street Cry and the first foal to race out of a Candy Ride mare. The more ground the batter for this guy. He looks ready for his stakes debut for Pletcher who won this race in 2013 with Revolutionary and in 2010 with Mission Impazible.

WIN: #2 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 2,9 / 1,2,6,9
TRI: 2,9 / 1,2,6,9 / 1,2,6,7,9

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.

R2: #2 Fox Rules 8-1
R2: #3 Carradine 12-1
R3: #8 Blinded Vision 8-1
R4: #3 Cause We are Loyal 10-1
R5: #10 Freudian Analyst 12-1
R6: #8 The Vow Is Lit 8-1
R7: #6 Wrong Ben 8-1
R8: #3 Missile Bomb 10-1
R9: #5 Side Tracks 12-1
R9: #7 Wicked Macho 8-1
R10: #7 Sweeping Vista 8-1

Good luck today!