Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:01 AM

At the Gate - Sunday

Signalman proved that his third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at 67-1 was no fluke by rallying to win the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) yesterday at Churchill Downs.

The colt won by a neck over 14-1 longshot Plus Que Parfait, returning $9.20 for the win and topping a $2 exacta that paid $97.00.

We suffered a bad beat in the co-feature, the $200,000 Golden Rod (G2). My top pick Restless Rider came up a nose short to my third choice Liora who was sent off at 26-1. My second choice High Regard finished third at 26-1.

If you boxed the three the exacta paid $141.80 and the $1 trifecta paid $390.70. I made the mistake of keying my top pair in both wagers and whiffed on both.

I don’t box my top three picks often, but when two are at 26-1, it was a dumb move not having at least a small saver wager, and that cost me a couple of nice scores.

We have three stakes on tap on a good betting card at Aqueduct this afternoon, with two of the stakes carded for the turf. The turf was labeled as firm yesterday but seemed to play slow and more rain fell overnight.

My Best Plays Report for Sunday includes my eight 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 $25,000 (12:20 ET)
#2 Union Patriot 12-1
#5 Tequila Sunday 4-5
#1 Causin' Trouble 9-2
#4 First Dawn 10-1

Analysis: Union Patriot drops in for a $25,000 tag here and returns off a two-month break. She was fourth last out behind a six-length winner and two back was third behind a 5 1/4 length victor, both of those races taken off the turf. She ran on turf in her first five outings. Pedigree wise she seems more suited for the main track and catches a pretty weak group here. The $90,000 Ocala purchase is out of a Distorted Humor mare that has dropped two other foals to race with one winner. Decent value here if she goes off near her 12-1 morning line.

Tequila Sunday pressed the early pace, took over and had a clear lead heading for home and got nailed late, missing by a neck. She was stretching out from six furlongs and making her first start for the Cannizzo barn. She owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers and there is not much speed or talent signed up here.

WIN: #2 to win at 8-1 or better.
EX: 2,5 / 1,2,4,5
TRI: 2,5 / 1,2,4,5 / 1,2,4,5,6

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Churchill Downs:

CD Race 7 Alw $78,500N1X (3:57 ET)
#1 Nocturnal Mission 7-2
#5 Dictate Cool 3-1
#4 Ascot Day 5-2
#3 Volodina 7-2

Analysis: Nocturnal Mission has come out on the wrong ends of photos in her last two starts against $50,000 starter allowance foes. She battled on gamely last out to miss by a neck and two back at Belmont Park was beaten a neck by repeat winner Souper Echo who beat Alw-1 foes and then ran second against Alw-2 foes in her next two outings. She owns a solid pace profile throughout and she adds blinkers and picks up Santana. She makes her third start of her current form cycle and looks capable of handling this group.

Dictate Cool makes her first start since March where she checked in fourth against $35,000 starter allowance foes. She lands with the Cox barn that is 26% winners with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. She showed plenty of promise breaking her maiden in her debut for the De Paz barn. This looks like a good spot for a sharp barn that does good work with newcomers to the barn.

WIN: #1 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 1,5 / 1,3,4,5
TRI: 1,5 / 1,3,4,5 / 1,3,4,5,8

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 8 The Autumn Days (3:47 ET)
#11 Broadway Run 8-1
#3 Fire Key 3-1
#12 Compelled 7-2
#6 Fear No Evil 5-1

Analysis: Broadway Run prompted the early pace, took over the lead and could not match strides late with the winner in a runner up finish in the Christiecat last out at Belmont Park over good ground. She won the Coronation Cup two back at the Spa in her stakes debut and that also was over good ground. She sports a couple of bullet works for her first go off a 2 1/2 month break here for the Terranova barn that is 23% winners (with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff. This gal appears to still have some upside.

Fire Key stalked the early pace and came with a good late rally to win the Floral Park last out on yielding ground. The mare is back in sharp form after tossing in a dud three back, rebounding to win the Sensible Lady Turf Dash two back at Laurel Park. She won this race last year at 5-1 on firm ground. She looks tough here but likely is going to be less than her 3-1 morning line.

WIN: #11 to win at 5-1 or better.
EX: 3,11 / 3,6,11,12
TRI: 3,11 / 3,6,11,12 / 3,5,6,11,12

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: #2 Union Patriot 12-1
R1: #4 First Dawn 10-1
R7: #1 Early Time 8-1
R7: #4 Flying the Colors 8-1
R7: #3 No More Fast Women 20-1
R8: #11 Broadway Run 8-1

Good luck today!

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