Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:01 AM

At the Gate - Sunday

I thought yesterday’s Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct set up really well for my top pick Sunny Ridge who was sent off at 6-1. All he needed was a pace battle up front, which it certainly looked as if he was going to get.
Instead jockey Jose Ortiz aboard Patternrecognition got a flyer breaking from the gate, jumped to the lead leaving Mendelssohn and Pat On the Back to chase and went gate to wire to score by three-quarters of a length and return $12.80.
We fared better at Del Mar where my top pick Raging Bull came with a wide run to rally for the win in the Hollywood Derby (G1), paying $5.80 and topping a cold exacta with River Boyne that paid $19.80.
We have another good one at Del Mar on closing day with a field of 14 going in the $300,000 Matriarch (G1) at a mile on turf.
There are six or seven contenders in the field that are legit, and I’ll look for a price with Dona Bruja (8-1) who was beaten just a head in her last outing in the First Lady (G1) at Keeneland.
There is no stake at Aqueduct today, but we have a solid eight race card, two races which likely will come off the turf with rain in the forecast.
My Best Plays Report for Sunday 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 Clm $14,000N3L (12:50 ET)
#1 Devine Entry   5-2
#6 I'm an Ocala Dude   7-2
#3 Baseline   3-1
#2 Javelin   9-5
Analysis: Devine Entry was not a threat last out in a seventh-place finish last out against $35,000 non-winners of three on good turf. Three back in the slop this guy ran well, dueling for the early lead and weakening to finish in the runner up spot against Alw-2 optional claimers. This is just his fourth start since February and looks like a good fit here for the Rice barn.
I'm an Ocala Dude drops out of a $40,000 claimer into a softer spot here for his first go off a four-month break. This guy has a win and a third in three trips on wet tracks. he returns a gelding here for Nevin who is 18% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180 day layoff.
WIN: #1 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 1,6 / 1,3,6
TRI: no play
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 7 Alw $75,000N1X (3:47 ET)
#6 Aveenu Malcainu   7-2
#1 Business Cycle   5-2
#5 Vincento   9-2
#4 Eagle Pass   8-1
Analysis: Aveenu Malcainu chased the early pace and faded to finish eighth last out in the Cherokee Run at Churchill Downs going seven furlongs. The colt came back off a three-month break with two good efforts against state bred Alw-2 optional claimers, getting the job done second off the break. She drops into a better spot here taking on Alw-1 foes for Englehart. She owns a solid pace profile throughout and is bred to handle a wet track, by Into Mischief out of a Trippi mare. He figures to bounce back with a better effort in this spot. He won going long two back and the extra furlong suits him
Business Cycle tracked the early pace from the outside, battled on gamely in the stretch and put away his foe late to break his maiden last out going a mile here in a race taken off the turf in his fifth career start. The Brown trainee does not need to move forward all that much off his maiden efforts to win at this level. He is bred to handle a wet track, by Curlin out of a Langfuhr mare.
WIN: #6 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 1,6 / 1,4,5,6
TRI: 1,6 / 1,4,5,6 / 1,3,4,5,6
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Del Mar:
DMR Race 7 The Matriarch G1 (3:30 PT)
#12 Dona Bruja   8-1
#9 Vasilika   7-2
#10 Mission Impassible   5-1
#14 Rymska   5-1
Analysis: Dona Bruja stalked the early pace and came with a good late rally to just miss winning the First Lady (G1) at Keeneland by a head. The winner A racing Beauty came back to run a good third in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) in her next outing. Two back she was ninth in the Beverly D. (G1) which is always a tough race and this year the winner Sistercharlie exited the race to win the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf and the runner up Fourstar Crook won the Flower Bowl (G1) before running seventh in the Filly & Mare Turf. Our top pick won three graded stakes in her first five starts in the U.S. but has now lost her last three. She has earned triple digit Beyers in four of her U.S. starts and she has shown an ability to set the pace or come from out of it. This is a tough field but she fits with her best and with the low-profile connections figures to get overlooked in the betting here.
Vasilika has won 9 of her 10 starts this year including a pair of wins over the turf here. Her lone loss was by a neck against Alw-1 optional claimers in her first go off the claim by Hollendorfer who took her for $40,000. She has racked up over $600,000 this year and is coming off a career top winning the Goldikova (G2) last out at Santa Anita at a mile. She won the Rodeo Drive (G1) two back for her first Grade 1 win but this is a tougher group she faces here.
Mission Impassible made her U.S. debut in the QEII Cup (G1) at Keeneland where she ran a good second behind Rushing Fall, who is 6 for 7 in her career for Chad Brown including a win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) last year. She won a Group 2 overseas and placed in a Group 1 at Chantilly. She now lands with former Bill Mott assistant trainer Rodolphe Brisset. She did her best work across the pond at a mile and will appreciate the cut back in distance and perhaps not as firm ground as there was some rain here earlier in the week.
WIN: #12 to win at 5-1 or better.
EX: 9,12 / 9,10,12,14
TRI: 9,12 / 9,10,12,14 / 9,10,12,13,14
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.
R2: #3 Reconsider It   10-1
R3: #5 Gravitating   8-1
R4: #5 Valmont   12-1
R4: #4 Theresa’s Boy   10-1
R5: #7 Shelley Ann   8-1
R5: #5 Cheatham Hill   8-1
R6: #7 Saratoga Heater   10-1
R7: 34 Eagle Pass   8-1
R8: #8 Fiveinthemorning   8-1
Good luck today!

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