Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:01 AM

At the Gate - Wednesday

The Aqueduct meeting has been plodding along for the past few weeks with a ton of races taken off the turf and a few too many short fields, but things are looking brighter (literally) as we head into the holiday weekend.

The Big A starts today with a $263,299 Pick 6 carryover and then from Thursday though Sunday we have 13 stakes over the four days of action.

There is an early post time on Thanksgiving Day with the first race going off at 11:50am ET. The traditional Turkey Day stake is the $200,000 Fall Highweight Handicap (G3).

This year’s edition drew a field of nine with the Gary Contessa trained Runaway Lute the 7-2 morning line favorite. The colt will tote 126 pounds and is coming off a victory in the state bred Hudson at Belmont Park in his last outing.

The James Chapman trained Heartwood (4-1) ships in from Kentucky where in his last outing he ran second in the Bet On Sunshine in the slop at Churchill Downs.

The $100,000 Central Park gets the stakes action started on Thursday with a field of seven two-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the outer turf course. The weather appears likely to cooperate, at least with sunny skies. However, the high tomorrow will be just 28 degrees.

The nightcap on Thursday is the $150,000 Winter Memories which is on the inner turf for three-year-old fillies.

In addition to Aqueduct I will have a Best Plays Report each day along with my strongest plays from Churchill Downs which hosts six stakes over the holiday including Friday’s $500,000 Clark Handicap (G1) and Saturday’s $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (G2).

Now is the perfect time to purchase my Monthly Package for just $99.95. It gives you a month of Aqueduct daily and my Best Plays Report each Saturday and Sunday.

To purchase my Aqueduct Report for Wednesday click here.

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

AQU Race 1 Md $40,000 (12:20 ET)
#7 Le Gros Bill 6-1
#3 Baffin Bay 7-5
#4 Lone Pioneer 7-2
#5 Catch Me If U Can 4-1

Analysis: Le Gros Bill makes his debut for the Baker barn that is 22% winners (with a +ROI) with first time starters. The gelding is by Mizzen Mast out of the stakes winner Paro Manceau ($247,980), her first foal to race. A three week gap between his last two works but this looks like a good spot debuting for a $40,000 tag with the bug up. He should be a fair price.

Baffin Bay was sixth in his debut at 9-1 and last out shipped to Penn where he was fourth as the beaten chalk on the stretch out to a mile. The winner Dunph came back to win the restricted Spendthrift Juvenile at Churchill Downs in his next outing on Oct. 28. He returns with blinkers added and some equipment removed (he is now a gelding). He is out of the stakes winner Open Water ($310,366) who has dropped one other foal to race, stakes winner Raucous (2 for 7, $113,260). The gelding cuts back to one turn here and the barn is off to a good start at the meeting after struggling a bit at the Spa and Belmont Park.

WIN: #7 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 3,7 / 3,4,7,8
TRI: 3,7 / 3,4,7,8 / 3,4,5,7,8

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 8 OClm $40,000N2X (3:47 ET)
#7 Stoney Bennett 5-1
#8 Cerretalto 8-1
#9 Blewitt 9-5
#6 Benevolence 6-1

Analysis: Stoney Bennett caught a sloppy track last out where the gelding carved out the early fractions, had a clear lead heading for home and got run down, settling for the runner up spot and snapping a two race winning streak. He beat state bred Alw-1 foes and then $50,000 claimers in his first two starts after landing in the Rice barn. The gelding owns solid early and mid pace numbers and willing to give him another look to wire this group.

Cerretalto returns off a three-month beak here for the Bond barn. Last out the gelding chased the early pace and weakened to finish third against Alw-1 foes off nearly a seven-month layoff. He won at this state bred condition two back over the main track here in February. He has run well off breaks throughout his career although there have been a few too many. He should get a good tracking trip sitting off the pace and is perfect in his two trips over the main track here.

WIN: #7 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 7,8 / 6,7,8,9
TRI: 7,8 / 6,7,8,9 / 2,6,7,8,9

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.

R4: #5 Dr. English 8-1
R4: #9 Sea of Hope 8-1
R6: #9 Dublin Leprechaun 10-1
R8: #8 Cerratalto 8-1
R9: #2 Fox Rules 8-1

Good luck today!

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