Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:00 AM

At the Gate - Friday

The Road to the Kentucky Derby makes a stop at Santa Anita on Saturday for the $100,000 Sham (G3) which offers up 10-4-2-1 points toward entry into the Run for the Roses.

It should come as no surprise that trainer Bob Baffert sends out the favorite. Coliseum is the even money favorite off a smart looking maiden win in his debut at Del Mar going seven furlongs. He took the field gate to wire and earned a 91 Beyer Speed Figure, the top last out number among the field of seven.

The colt is one of a large group of Derby contenders for Baffert and this colt was taking serious action in the Kentucky Derby future wager before he even made his debut.

Baffert also sends out Much Better (8-1), who was 14th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) in his last start. The Hall of Fame trainer has won the Sham in three of the last five years including last year with McKinzie.

The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee Gunmetal Gray (5-2) looks like the biggest threat to the Baffert duo. The colt ran second in the American Pharoah and then was fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) in his last outing.

I will have selections for the race in tomorrow’s column and we will also take a look at the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man from Gulfstream Park that features Code of Honor, the runner up in the Champagne (G1) who got knocked out of the Juvenile when he spiked a fever the morning of the race.

Now is the perfect time to purchase my Monthly Package for just $99.95. It gives you a month of Aqueduct daily and my Best Plays Report each Saturday and Sunday.

To purchase my Aqueduct for Friday click here.

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

AQU Race 1 Md Sp Wt (12:50 ET)
#5 Paynterbynumbers 8-5
#3 Fancy That 7-2
#1 Moon and Stars 8-1
#6 Silk Assassin 6-1

Analysis: Paynterbynumbers was off a beat slow, prompted the early pace and battled on gamely in the stretch battling with a foe who came in on her and forced her to check right before the wire. The runner up Alisio came back to graduate in her next outing on Dec. 29 here by 7 1/2 lengths. The Weaver trainee was a $200,000 purchase out of a stakes placed Cherokee Run mare. A couple of bullet works since her last start and she looks tough as the chalk in the opener.

Fancy That makes her first starts since her debut at the Spa back in September. In that outing she was sent off at 14-1 in a field of nine, trailed early and was not a threat in a fifth-place finish. The McLaughlin barn usually moves them forward second out, winning at a 25% clip (with a +ROI). The extra ground should suit this gal, who is by Street Sense out of the stakes winner Sara Louise ($400,435).

WIN: #5 to win at 7-5 or better.
EX: 3,5 / 1,3,5
TRI: no play

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 7 OClm $40,000N2X (3:59 ET)
#7 Storm Prophet 5-2
#5 Gio d'Oro 9-5
#6 Singapore Trader 5-2
#1 Playthatfunnymusic / 1a Cause I'm Alex 8-1

Analysis: Storm Prophet stalked the early pace and weakened to finish fifth last out against open Alw-1 foes. The top two came out of the race to win next out, the winner Mr. Buff winning the state bred Alex M. Robb in his next outing last Saturday here. He has a habit of landing for minor shares but is back in weight state breds for the first time since winning at this condition last December.

Gio d'Oro set the early fractions and had a clear lead heading for home but could not hold off the winner late, racing in the 3-4 path much of the trip on a day the outer paths were the best place to be. This is his first trip at nine furlongs and third start of his current form cycle. He has enough pedigree, by Gio Ponti out of a Medaglia d'Oro mare.

WIN: #7 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 5,7 / 1,5,6,7
TRI: 5,7 / 1,5,6,7 / 1,2,5,6,7

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: #1 Moon and Stars 8-1
R2: #1 Classic Romeo 8-1
R4: #7 Stay Smart 8-1
R7: #1 Playthatfunnymusic / 1a Cause I’m Alex 8-1
R8: #7 Frosty Linz 15-1

Good luck today!

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