Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:03 AM

At the Gate - Sunday

By the time the Travers (G1) came along on Saturday afternoon I was already questioning my career choice as it was not a good day at all and my bankroll was bleeding and on a respirator.

My prospects going into the Travers did not look good either as my top choice was Gronkowski, who figured to be last early over a racing strip that seemed to be kind to inside speed most of the day.

I did have hopes my second choice Catholic Boy would take to the return to dirt, so I did not feel completely without hope.

Sure enough Catholic Boy got a perfect trip sitting just off of the pacesetter Mendelssohn, who was my fourth choice in the race.

Catholic Boy got the best of Mendelssohn in the stretch, drawing clear to win by four lengths and return $16.20 while Mendelssohn managed to hold onto the runner up spot at 13-1.

I was hoping our recommended exacta would come back at around $200 and was pleasantly surprised at the $290.50 payoff.

It felt like I had just completed a Hail Mary pass.

Then came the Ballston Spa (G2) in the following race and we hit the recommended exacta which was good for $77.50 with my second choice Quidura winning at $9.50 with my third choice Hawksmoor completing the exacta.

The favorite A Racing Beauty weakened to finish fourth under jockey Irad Ortiz. Jr, the leading jockey at the Spa meeting who had a really lousy day.

He went 0 for 12 on the day, seven of his mounts going off at 3-1 or less. One of his mounts that hurt the most was my top pick Classic Covey at 9-2, flying at the end to miss by a neck. He also was outfoxed by Mike Smith in the Personal Ensign (G1) where he was aboard Elate.

Abel Tasman got a perfect ride from Smith and won by a neck, surviving an objection with a little bumping in the stretch.

A dreadful day turned around with two big exactas in less than 30 minutes. Here is hoping Sunday gets off to a better start.

My Best Plays Report for Sunday includes my seven strongest plays from Del Mar and Saratoga.

Now is the perfect time to purchase my Monthly Package for just $99.95. It gives you a month of Saratoga (and then Belmont Park) and my Best Plays Report each Saturday and Sunday.

To purchase my Saratoga and Best Plays Reports for Sunday click here.

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

SAR Race 1 Clm $16,000 (1:00 ET)

7 Engineers Report 8-1

3 Mr. Fixit 3-1

6 Niko Strong 2-1

5 Can'tweallgetalong 9-2

Analysis: Engineers Report came with a wide trip and was not a threat in a seventh-place finish last out in the slop and has been beaten double digit lengths in each of his last four starts. Six of his 10 starts have been on wet tracks and two on turf. His two fast main track tries were against tougher at a mile. He looks like a good fit here dropping in with $16,000 foes and straight three-year-olds. One more shot here for the RRod barn, picks up Franco and should be a decent price.

Mr. Fixit pressed the early pace and weakened to finish fourth last out in the mud here against straight $20,000 foes in his first start off the claim by the Rice barn. he was taken for $40,000 where he faded to finish a well beaten sixth. He drops another notch here into a soft spot taking on $16,000 foes. He owns solid early and mid pace numbers and looks capable of bouncing back with a better effort here.

WIN: #7 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 3,7 / 3,5,6,7
TRI: 3,7 / 3,5,6,7 / 2,3,5,6,7

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:

SAR Race 9 The Smart N Fancy (5:40 ET)

8 Morticia 4-1

5 Tillie's Lily 5-1

12 Epping Forest 9-2

3 Chanteline 5-1

Analysis: Morticia did not care for the soft going last out in a fourth-place finish in the Caress here on July 23. The filly won the Penn Ladies Dash on turf two back in a sharp effort which as her 11th straight trip in the money including seven wins. She owns solid early and mid pace numbers and will get firmer ground today unless the afternoon thunderstorms come. She figures to bounce back with a much better effort for the Arnold barn with firmer ground.

Tillie's Lily took the field gate tow ire to beat Alw-3 optional claimers last out over good ground at Belmont Park in her first start off a seven-month layoff. She is now perfect in four starts, breaking her maiden in her debut in the slop and then zipping through her first two allowance conditions last fall on turf. She figures to be tighter in her second start off the bench for former Pletcher assistant Thomas.

WIN: #8 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 5,8 / 3,5,8,12
TRI: 5,8 / 3,5,8,12 / 3,5,6,8,12

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Del Mar:

MR Race 9 The Torry Pines G3 (6:05 PT)

2 Thirteen Squared 3-1

9 Just Grazed Me 5-2

3 Spring Lily 8-1

4 Lemoona 7-2

Analysis: Thirteen Squared stretched back out to two turns last out in the Summer Oaks (G2) where she was sent up to set the early fractions and she battled on gamely in the stretch to miss by just a neck while 4 1/4 lengths clear of the third-place finisher Chocolate Martini. She does look quick enough to set the early fractions here but should get a good tracking trip sitting just off the pace for Baffert.

Just Grazed Me was a sharp winner of the state bred Fleet Treat last out in her first start against winners and goes two turns for the first time here. The D'Amato barn is 12% winners moving runners form sprint to route. She looks as if she will appreciate the extra ground but her pedigree lands toward sprinting, out of a Cuvee mare. She has worked sharply since her last outing and Baze, who was aboard our top pick last out sticks with this gal.

WIN: #2 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 2,9 / 2,3,4,9
TRI: 2,9 / 2,3,4,9 / 2,3,4,5,9

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.

R1: #7 Engineers Report 8-1
R2: #11 Varenka 8-1
R3: #7 Tricked Up 8-1
R5: #2 Malibu Mischief 12-1
R6: #1 Holiday Bonus 8-1
R10: #4 La manche 10-1
R10: #7 Thefinalcrazydude 30-1

Good luck today!

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