Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:01 AM
At the Gate - Thanksgiving
The holiday weekend gets off to a fast start on Thursday afternoon as we have three stakes at Aqueduct highlighted by the $200,00 Fall Highweight Handicap (G3).
A field of nine was entered but it looks as if we are going to have a field of six as two were set to go Wednesday night at Penn and Command Post likely will scratch according to his trainer.
The co-features on the card are both carded for the turf. We actually were on the grass on Wednesday and we should be on the turf again today despite the frigid temperatures.
The $100,000 Central Park drew a field of seven juveniles that will go 1 1/16 miles on the outer turf. The $150,000 Winter Memories closes out the nine-race card. A field of 11 go in the 1 1/16 miles turf event on the inner turf.
We also will hang out at Churchill Downs this holiday weekend with six stakes on tap over the next three days.
We have a pair of stakes on Thursday’s card—the $100,000 Cardinal Handicap (G3) and the $200,000 Falls City Handicap (G2).
The Cardinal drew a field of 10 going 1 1/8 miles on turf. I Remember Mama is the 5-2 morning line favorite, but I am looking for more value with English Affair, who is 5-1 on the morning line.
It is going to be tough to beat the chalk in the Falls City. Devine Miss Grey is the 3-5 morning line favorite and she looks legit. She won the was a sharp winner of the Chilukki (G2) to close out Breeders' Cup Day over the main track in her last outing at a mile. She has just one start in her career at nine furlongs, a runner up finish two back in the Beldame (G1) at Belmont Park.
The winner of that race was Wow Cat, who came back to run second in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) in her next start. The fourth-place finisher Teresa Z exited the Beldame to win the Turnback the Alarm (G3) in her next outing.
Devine Miss Grey looks as if she will not have a problem handing the extra furlong.
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My Best Plays Report for Thursday includes my nine strongest plays from Aqueduct and Churchill Downs.
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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 (11:50 ET)
#6 Awesome Alana 5-2
#5 Lem Me Have It 6-5
#2 Galadriel's Light 7-2
#3 Fika 8-1
Analysis: Awesome Alana was the beaten chalk last out where the Brown trainee made her debut. She stalked the early pace, came with a five wide bid and did not have enough punch left late in a third-place finish. The runner up Forever Changed came back to graduate in her next outing on Nov. 8 here. The filly was a $90,000 Spa purchase, the first foal to race out of a stakes placed Bellamy Road mare. The barn hits at a 27% clip with second out maidens. She figures to move forward with a start and she has enough pedigree to handle the stretch out to a mile.
Lem Me Have It made a mild late rally to finish in the runner up spot in her debut in a race taken off the turf at six furlongs. She was 4 1/2 lengths clear of the rest of the field in the effort. She earned the top last out speed fig and looks as if she will appreciate the added ground. She is by Frost Giant out of an Arch mare that has dropped one other foal tor ace, no winners to date. Levine is 18% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from sprint to route.
WIN: #6 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 5,6 / 2,3,5,6
TRI: 5,6 / 2,3,5,6 / 1,2,3,5,6
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Churchill Downs:
CD Race 9 The Cardinal Hcp G3 (3:24 ET)
#5 English Affair 5-1
#1 I Remember Mama 5-2
#10 Bonnie Arch 4-1
#2 Amboseli 8-1
Analysis: English Affair cuts back from the 1/12-mile Dowager (G3) which was her graded stakes debut. In that outing she tracked the early pace and came up the inside and had to steady approaching the eighth pole and again late, checking in third and placed second via a DQ. The Rusty Arnold trainee looks capable of moving forward off that effort. Hernandez is off to ride our second choice, but we get a suitable replacement in Lanerie.
I Remember Mama caught soft ground last out at Keeneland and rallied from last to first to beat Alw-2 optional claimers in a sharp win. She was a good second two back in the restricted One Dreamer at Kentucky Downs. She was a game second to our third choice three back in the Ellis Park Turf. She showed last out she can handle less than firm conditions and we were off the turf here yesterday. Hernandez rode three of these in the field last out and he sticks with this filly.
WIN: #5 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 1,5 / 1,2,5,10
TRI: 1,5 / 1,2,5,10 / 1,2,5,9,10
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 The Fall Highweight G3 (3:20 ET)
#9 Heartwood 4-1
#5 Runaway Lute 7-2
#4 Celtic Chaos 9-2
#7 Always Sunshine 6-1
Analysis: Heartwood gets the call and it looks as if several of these are going to race at Penn Wednesday night with Lewisfield and Mesotherm likely to scratch and Command Post is going to scratch according to his connections. Our top pick caught slop last out in the Bet On Sunshine where he tracked the early pace and was no match for the winner in a runner up finish. He was in tough two and three back, a sixth in the Forego (G1) and a fourth in the Phoenix (G2) but he was only beaten 3 3/4 and 3 1/3 lengths in those two outings. He owns a solid pace profile throughout and his best makes him a major threat here.
Runaway Lute won the state bred Hudson last out off a 3 1/2-month break for the Contessa barn. This is just the second time this guy has stepped outside of the state bred ranks, a sixth in the Hopeful (G1). The colt owns a solid pace profile throughout and makes just his fourth start this year, foot issues keeping him on the sidelines throughout his career. Three really quick works since his last outing.
WIN: #9 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 5,9 / 4,5,9
TRI: no play
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: #3 Fika 8-1
R5: #2 Proletariat 10-1
R6: #1 Wild William 10-1
R6: #2 Novus 8-1
R7: 32 Market Bubble 8-1
R7: #6 Good Good 12-1
R9: #4 Andina Del Sur 8-1
Good luck today!