Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:00 AM

At the Gate - Sunday

Florida Derby (G1) winner and Kentucky Derby (G1) third place finisher Audible got beat in yesterday’s Harlan’s Holiday but not with the foe I thought.

The Todd Pletcher trainee was sent off at 1-9 in his prep for the $9 million Pegasus World Cup and came up a half length short.

I tired to beat him for the top spot with Village King, but it was 25-1 longshot Sir Anthony that took to the sloppy conditions the best, returning his backers $53.80 for the win.

“He never really seemed like he fired. You hate to use the track as an excuse, but obviously it rained quite a bit and they sealed the track,” Pletcher said. “It seemed like he was just never really taking him there and handing the track the way we would have hoped. We just let Javier ride his race, but he was never really taking him. He had to kind of ask him to get into every position he tried to.”

The question remains whether he still heads to the Pegasus, but with the sloppy track as an excuse I am guessing Pletcher likely moves forward with him.

The feature on Sunday at Aqueduct is a New York Stallion Series race. The race for two-year-olds drew a field of 12 and I am going with Kosciusszko , who was third in the state bred Notebook in his last outing. He should be forwardly pace, and I am hoping he takes to the track which likely will be wet with rain in the forecast.

My Best Plays Report for Sunday includes my eight strongest plays from Aqueduct and Gulfstream Park.

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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)

2 Hurricane Sheila 8-1

7 Thread the Needle 7-2

1 Hattie L 5-2

4 Communal 9-5

Analysis: Hurricane Sheila chased the early pace and faded to finish a well beaten seventh last out with the five-pound bug aboard. Two back in the slop off a five-month layoff she battled for the early lead and held on to the runner up spot. She gets a jock upgrade back to Maragh as she makes her third start off the bench. She owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers and is bred to like a wet track. Decent value if she goes off near her 8-1 morning line.

Thread the Needle dueled for the early lead and weakened to finish fifth in the slop going long at Keeneland. The winner Skeptic came back to beat Alw-1 foes and won the Monmouth Oaks (G3). She in the mix in her first three starts sprinting. The barn is 11% winners with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. She is out of a Jump Start mare that has dropped four winners and two are stakes winners, top earner The Lewis Dinner ($260,125).

WIN: #2 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 2,7 / 1,2,4,7
TRI: 2,7 / 1,2,4,7 / 1,2,3,4,7

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 8 The NY Stallion Series (3:47 ET)

4 Kosciuszko 3-1

12 Thorny Tale 9-2

3 Kadens Courage 6-1

5 Bustin Hoffman 8-1

Analysis: Kosciuszko made her stakes debut last out in the mud in the state bred Notebook where he dueled for the early lead and weakened to finish third. The colt broke his maiden two back in his third career start, drawing off to win by 6 1/4 lengths. The runner up Beachside came back to graduate in his next start and then was fourth against state bred Alw-1 foes while third place finisher Lost in Manhattan broke his maiden by eight lengths in his next start and is in here. This guy owns solid early and mid pace numbers and has a decent enough off-track pedigree.

Thorny Tale was a good-looking maiden winner in his debut at Belmont Park in a race taken off the turf. he returned in the Notebook where he tracked the early pace and weakened to finish fourth as the beaten favorite. He came back with a good breeze since his last start and at least pedigree wise he should like a wet track. He fits if he can run back to his maiden effort.

WIN: #4 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 4,12 / 3,4,5,12
TRI: 4,12 / 3,4,5,12 / 3,4,5,6,12

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Gulfstream Park:

GP Race 7 Md Sp Wt (3:03 ET)

3 Ballston 10-1

1 Nasq 5-1

5 Kitty Foyle 4-1

9 Dig Deeper 7-2

Analysis: Ballston drew a tough post last out at Keeneland, shot to the lead and set the factions before weakening in the stretch to finish fourth. Two back at Monmouth Park she had to steady in traffic on the first turn, finishing evenly for third. The winner Agreeable came back to beat Alw-1 optional claimers in her next start on Sept. 20. This gal makes her eighth start here but looks as if she is going to be a decent price. She is out of the stakes winner Cayuga's Waters who has dropped four turf winners and a pair of stakes winners, top earner Glorious View ($307,190).

Nasq debuts for the Brown barn that is 20% winners with first timers. This filly was a $350,000 Keeneland purchase, by Malibu Moon out of a Galileo mare that has dropped one foal to race, two-time turf winner Val's Lemon Drop ($43,636). Solid looking works on the morning tab. Wagering
WIN: #3 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 1,3 / 1,3,5,9
TRI: 1,3 / 1,3,5,9 / 1,3,5,8,9

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.

R1: #2 Hurricane Sheila 8-1
R5: #6 Elizabeth Nicole 8-1
R7: #2 Gypsum Johnny 10-1
R8: #5 Bustin Hoffman 8-1
R9: #9 Mats Checkride 20-1
R9: #7 Weekend Forecast 10-1

Good luck today!

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