At the Gate – Saturday

There is no shortage of good betting races among the stakes on Saturday afternoon highlighted by the $300,000 American Oaks (G1) at Santa Anita, the final Grade 1 race of the 2018 calendar year.  
A field of eight go to the post and it is tough to separate the top three main contenders—Paved, Competitionofideas and Californiagoldrush.
The co-feature on the card at Santa Anita is the $150,000 Robert J. Frankel (G3) for fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles on turf. Eight go to the post with Fahan Mura the 5-2 morning line favorite.
There are six stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday and that is where I ended up spending most of my time. I came up with selections for four of the stakes, which are all wide-open races led by big fields in the $75,000 Tropical Park Oaks and Tropical Park Derby.
Even the pair of stakes at Aqueduct, the $100,000 East View for juvenile fillies and the $100,000 Alex M. Robb for three-year-olds and upward are competitive races.
My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my 10 strongest plays from Aqueduct, Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita.
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Here is the opener from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Md $30,000 (12:30 ET)
#7 Brazen Prince   3-1
#5 Midnight Entrée   4-5
#2 Angelo's Corner   6-1
#3 Morris Island   12-1
Analysis: Brazen Prince was a decent third in his debut at Delaware Park and then was sent off as the 9-5 favorite last out at Philly where he caught mud and made a mild late run to finish fifth. He comes back pretty quick here for the Sacco barn and does not need to move forward much off his debut effort to pick up his diploma against this weak group. He is the first foal to race out of a Mineshaft mare.
Midnight Entree showed some ability with a third in his debut but then faded to finish a well beaten sixth second out. Now he goes from Pletcher to RRod who is 27% winners (with a +ROI) with newcomers to the barn. He faced much tougher than he catches here and sports three decent works on the morning tab since coming up from Florida. Blinkers are added on this colt, who is out of a Forest Wildcat mare that has dropped three winners including stakes winner Beyond Blame ($238,630).
WIN: #7 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 5,7 / 2,3,5,7
TRI: 5,7 / 2,3,5,7 / 2,3,4,5,7
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 The Alex M. Robb (3:47 ET)
#2 Mr. Buff   2-1
#3 Twisted Tom   5-1
#6 Control Group   9-5
#1 Winston's Chance   8-1
Analysis: Mr. Buff comes in off back to back wins, taking the field gate to wire last out to beat Alw-2 optional claimers at nine furlongs. The gelding has won 3 of 4 at the distance and has done some of his best running here where he has landed in the exacta in 6 of 8 trips. His last start in state bred company was a third in the Empire Classic three back. He owns solid early and mid pace numbers and this guy comes in here in very sharp form for the Kimmel barn.
Twisted Tom returns off a four-month break and goes for the Mott barn that is 19% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff. He won the state bred Empire Classic last October for the Brown barn and in two starts this year has been beaten double digit lengths. A winner of 7 of his first 10 career starts including a pair of stakes in Maryland, he has worked sharply for his return here.
WIN: #2 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 2,3 / 1,2,3,6
TRI: 2,3 / 1,2,3,6 / 1,2,3,6,8
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Gulfstream Park:
GP Race 8 The Tropical Park Oaks (3:39 ET)
#1 Too Cool to Dance   7-2
#3 Hogans Holiday   12-1
#4 American Frolic   10-1
#9 Mrs. Romana G.   4-1
Analysis: Too Cool to Dance came off nearly a three-month break with a good effort against Alw-1 optional claimer so turf at the Spa. The filly came from last and made a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot, beaten 3/4 of a length for the top spot. She graduated on turf going 1 1/4 miles in her third career starter and missed beating Alw-1 foes by just a nose in her first start against winners. She is bred to be a good one. She is out of a stakes placed Unbridled's Song mare that has dropped two other winners and they are both stakes winners—Sharp Kitty ($73,220) and Nomorerichblondes ($237,388).
Hogans Holiday made a good late rally to get up late and win the Cellars Shiraz last out at GP West going a mile at 40-1. Vitali claimed this gal for $40,000 and after misfiring in her first go for the barn she has won back to back races at generous prices. She steps into a tougher spot and will be a decent price again here. She looks headed in the right direction form wise.
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Santa Anita:
SA Race 8 The American Oaks G1 (3:34 PT)
#6 Paved   3-1
#8 Competitionofideas   4-1
#9 Californiagoldrush   5-2
#2 Colonia   6-1
Analysis: Paved is back with three-year-olds here after a rough trip in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1). In that outing she broke outward coming out of the gate, was bumped and had to check hard going into the first turn and never got untracked in a 12th place finish. Two back over the turf here at this distance against older she came with a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot in the Rodeo Drive (G1), beaten a half-length for the top spot. The winner was Vasilka, who came back to win the Goldikova (G2) in her next outing on Nov. 4. The Michael McCarthy trainee won the Honeymoon (G2) back in June over the turf here.; She will appreciate the return to facing here own age here and figures to bounce back with a much better effort.
Competitionofideas ships in for the Chad Brown barn from New York where she is coming off a third in the off the turf Winter Memories which was her stakes debut. She was last early and was fanned out eight wide and made some good ground late, beaten 1 ¾ lengths for the top spot and she really did not get much pace to run at. She was an impressive maiden winner three back at Belmont Park and then beat Alw-1 foes in her first start against winners. She was a $325,000 Keeneland purchase, out of the stakes winner Devil by Design ($268,041). She looks as if she still has a ton of upside.
Californiagoldrush shipped to New York last out won the won the Sands Point (G2) on yielding ground at nine furlongs in a sharp effort earning a career top speed fig. The third-place finisher was Colonia, who came back to win the Valley View in her next start at Keeneland on Oct. 19. Her lone loss was two back when she was third in the Del Mar Oaks (G1) which was her stakes debut and first start off a 6 ½ month layoff. Now she comes back off a three-month break for a barn that is 22% winners (with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff.
WIN: #6 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 6,8 / 2,6,8,9
TRI: 6,8 / 2,6,8,9 / 2,5,6,8,9
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: #3 Morris Island   12-1
R3: #2 Saturdaynightfling   12-1
R5: #6 Effiemeister   8-1
R6: #4 Elegant Zip   10-1
R8: #1 Winston’s Chance   8-1
R9: #1 Eddie Boy   12-1
R9: #7 Causeforcelebration   12-1
Good luck today!