Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:00 AM

At the Gate - Wednesday

With Aqueduct dark until Friday I had to do something with my time, so we will head out to Santa Anita for Opening Day on Wednesday with an outstanding 10-race card on tap.

We have five stakes including a pair of Grade 1 races—the $300,000 Malibu and the $300,000 La Brea.

The Malibu drew 16 with 14 set to start led by a quartet of Bob Baffert runners. The 7-2 morning line favorite is Baffert’s McKinzie, who is looking to bounce back off his dud in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) where he prompted the early pace and faded to finish a well beaten 12th.

In his previous start he returned off the layoff to win the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) at Parx Racing. He crossed the wire in front in all three of his trips at Santa Anita, getting disqualified for the win in the San Felipe (G2) back in March.

The La Brea is for three-year-old fillies and drew a solid field of nine led by the Baffert trained Dream Tree. The filly is perfect in five starts but missed the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) due to an entrapped epiglottis.

Among her foes are Happy Like a Fool (4-1) from the Wesley Ward barn and Spiced Perfection (5-1), a winner of the state bred Betty Grable in her last outing.

We also have competitive editions of the $200,000 Mathis Brothers Mile (G2) and $300,000 San Antonio (G2).

Aqueduct will be back in action on Friday afternoon.

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To purchase my Santa Anita for Wednesday click here.

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

SA Race 1 Clm $25,000 (11:30 PT)
#9 Orchestral 3-1
#7 Comes the Dream 6-1
#5 Twentytwentyvision 4-1
#6 Little Scotty 7-2

Analysis: Orchestral is back on turf after prompting the early pace and weakening to finish fifth beaten a length last out on the fake stuff at Golden Gate Fields against Alw-2 optional claimers. He was making his first start off the claim by the Herbertson barn that took him two back for $32,000 out of a win on turf. This guy has won 9 of his 15 career starts on turf. He drops in class into a good spot here.

Comes the Dream also returns to turf after making a mid late rally to finish third at Del mar for this tag. He has done his best work on turf, a six-time winner, two of those wins coming on the grass here. The switch back to turf should suit him and he looks headed in the right direction form wise. Decent value if he goes off near his 6-1 morning line.

Wagering
WIN: #9 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 7,9 / 5,6,7,9
TRI: 7,9 / 5,6,7,9 / 2,5,6,7,9

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Santa Anita:

SA Race 9 The Malibu G1 (4:00 PT)
#7 Seven Trumpets 12-1
#13 McKinzie 7-2
#6 Axelrod 10-1
#3 Copper Bullet 8-1

Analysis: Seven Trumpets prompted the early pace and faded to finish a well beaten eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) last out at Churchill Downs. He came into that race with two solid efforts sprinting, a third in the Gallant Bob (G3) after getting off a beat slow and a second three back in the Alan Jerkens (G1) at the Spa going seven furlongs. In that effort he was off a step slow and came with a good late rally, 1 ¼ lengths behind Promises Fulfilled, who exited that race to win the Phoenix (G2) at Keeneland and then run fourth in the Dirt Mile. His third in the Jerkens was his lone go at seven furlongs and he is better than he showed last out. Looking for him to rebound in this spot, he should get some pace to run at and is going to be a generous price in a wide-open race.

McKinzie is one of five in here entered by Baffert, who won this race in 2011 and 2013. The colt pressed the early pace and faltered badly in a 12th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at 4-1. He had won the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) two back at nine furlongs off a six-month layoff. His lone start around one turn came in his debut where he drew off to win by 5 ½ lengths at seven furlongs. The colt has worked sharply since the Classic and his numbers two and three back going long stand out. The main knock is going to be the price, which could end up on the light side.

Axelrod, trained by Michael McCarthy, he was in over his head in the Classic where he checked in ninth at 51-1 and has done his best running around two turns. However, it looks as if he enough tactical speed to handle the cut back to seven furlongs. He ran a good second to McKinzie in the Pennsylvania Derby two back at 10-1 and came into that race off back to back wins in the Indiana Derby (G3) and Smarty Jones (G3). Johnny V picks up the call and it appears this guy is going to be a decent price here.

Wagering
WIN: #7 to win at 6-1 or better.
EX: 7,13 / 3,6,7,13
TRI: 7,13 / 3,6,7,13 / 3,6,7,8,13

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.

Santa Anita
R2: #8 Easter Dream 10-1
R4: #2 Animosity 12-1
R5: #8 Alleva 12-1
R8: #9 Beach View 8-1
R9: #7 Seven Trumpets 12-1
R9: #6 Axelrod 10-1
R9: #3 Copper Bullet 8-1
R10: #6 Souter 8-1
R10: #5 Trojan Spirit 8-1

Good luck today!

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