Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:01 AM

At the Gate - Saturday

It was nice to finally be back on turf on Friday at Aqueduct, and a couple of longshots won, but again Saturday we may have to sweat out the weather.

Rain was falling Friday evening and there will be some give to the ground on Saturday. Both stakes are carded for the grass.

The feature is the $150,000 Artie Schiller which drew a solid field that will go a mile on the inner turf. The Chad Brown trained Bricks and Mortar is the 5-2 morning line favorite despite being on the shelf for over a year. Brown also saddles Projected (4-1) who was beaten just a nose in the BWI Cup (G3) at Laurel Park over yielding ground in his last outing.

I landed on Blacktype, who is coming off a gate to wire win in the Knickerbocker (G2) on good ground at Belmont Park in his last start. The 9-2 morning line seems generous on this guy and we may have to settle for a bit less.

Del Mar opened its fall meeting on Friday and I found four races that I included in today’s Best Plays Report.

The feature is the $75,000 Let It Ride, a one-mile turf test that drew a field of seven. As you can see below, I went with Afleet Ascent. The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee stretches out from 6 ½ furlongs and is coming off a game win against second level optional claimers.

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My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my eight strongest plays from Aqueduct and Del Mar.

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

AQU Race 1 Md Sp Wt (12:20 ET)
#7 Quiet Out East 3-1
#8 Scotty Brown 2-1
#2 Wacky Pal 9-2
#1 Worth a Shot 6-1

Analysis: Quiet Out East makes his third career start and is coming off a good effort last out in a third-place finish beaten two lengths over yielding ground last out at Belmont Park. The gelding is by Broken Vow out of a Langfuhr mare that has roped one other foal to race, no winners to date. He likely catches ground with give to it again after overnight rain.

Scotty Brown set the early fractions and could not match strides late with the winner in a runner up finish, beaten a half-length for the top spot. The Terranova trainee caught good ground two back where he set the early fractions and weakened to finish fourth. There is not much speed signed up to go here which should make him tough if he is able to set moderate fractions. He is out of a stakes placed Wheelway mare that has dropped five winners and two have won on turf.

Wagering
WIN: #7 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 7,8 / 1,2,7,8
TRI: 7,8 / 1,2,7,8 / 1,2,4,7,8

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 8 The Artie Schiller (3:47 ET)
#5 Blacktype 9-2
#1 Qurbaan 3-1
#6 Bricks and Mortar 5-2
#9 Projected 4-1

Analysis: Blacktype has done some of his best running on less than firm conditions which he figures to get again today. The gelding is coming off a career top speed fig taking the field gate to wire to win the Knickerbocker (G2) over good ground at Belmont Park, defending the title he won last year which was also over good ground. The Clement trainee is not a need to lead type and there is a couple of foes in here capable of running with him early. The cut back to a mile is no problem for this guy.

Qurbaan made a good late rally to finish third in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) last out over good ground at Keeneland in his second start since landing in the U.S. with the McLaughlin barn. Three exited that race to run back in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), a race his connections would have liked to go to, with Analyze It running the best with a third beaten just ¾ of a length. Two back off a 11-month layoff the five-year-old got up late to win the Bernard Baruch ‘Cap (G2) by a nose at the Spa over firm ground. He handled ground with some give to it overseas including a third in the Prix de Vichy (G3) in France over good to sift ground. He looks primed for a top effort here third off the bench.

Bricks and Mortar is one of two in here sent out by the Brown barn. The colt makes his first start since last October where he made a good late run to finish a close up third in the Hill Prince (G3) going nine furlongs. He won his first four career starts including the Hall of Fame (G2) at the Spa last summer. Decent works on the morning tab for a barn that is 26% winners with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. The main questions are the possible short price and fact he has not proven himself over ground with some give to it.

Wagering
WIN: #5 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 1,5 / 1,5,6,9
TRI: 1,5 / 1,5,6,9 / 1,2,5,6,9

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

DMR Race 7 The Let It Ride (3:30 PT)
#1 Afleet Ascent 3-1
#7 Calexman 7-2
#3 Choo Choo 5-1
#2 Prince Earl 5-2

Analysis: Afleet Ascent tracked the early pace and finished gamely to get up late and beat Alw-2 optional claimers going 6 1/2 on the downhill at Santa Anita over good ground. Three back over the turf here on opening day of the summer meeting he was a game second in the Oceanside at today's mile distance. His last effort should set him up nicely for the stretch out here for the Hollendorfer barn that is 20% winners moving runners from sprint to route.

Calexman dueled for the early lead and weakened to finish fifth in the same race our top pick exits. He comes back with blinkers added and he should move forward with firmer footing and more ground. Two back he dueled for the early lead and held on for third in the La Jolla 'Cap (G3) and was just a half-length behind our top pick three back in a third in the Oceanside. He makes his second start off a 2 1/2 month break here.

Wagering
WIN: #1 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,7 / 1,2,3,7
TRI: 1,7 / 1,2,3,7 / 1,2,3,6,7

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.

Aqueduct
R2: #2 Gio Lucky 8-1
R3: #7 Illume 8-1
R4: #5 Pocket Player 10-1
R6: #2 Neverland Rock 8-1

Good luck today!

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