Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:00 AM

At the Gate - Saturday

We have a pair of stakes this afternoon with Kentucky Derby ramifications, the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Park and the $100,000 Sham (G3) at Santa Anita, the latter a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race.
 
The Mucho Macho Man drew a field of six including the highly regarded Code of Honor, the runner up in the Champagne (G1) at Belmont Park last October. The Shug McGaughey trainee would have been one of the top favorites for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), but he spiked a fever on the morning of the race, forcing a scratch.
 
The colt is the 7-5 morning line favorite as he makes his three-year-old debut. This is likely his first step toward the Florida Derby (G1) in a couple of months.
 
At such a short price I am going to give Mihos (7-2) a look. The Jimmy Jerkens trainee was a good-looking maiden winner in his second career start. He ran into a nice runner in Vekoma in his debut where he was third. Veokma came back to win the Nashua (G3) in his next start.
 
The Sham drew seven led by the Bob Baffert trained Coliseum, the even money favorite. Baffert has won the Sham in three of the last five years.
 
The colt was no secret when he made his debut and rolled to a 6 ¾ length win and earned a solid Beyer Speed Figure of 91.
 
The feature at Aqueduct today is the $100,000 La Verdad for state bred fillies and mares. A field of 10 was entered but Satisfy (5-2) will scratch.
 
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 $25,000 (12:25 ET)
#3 Got the Gist   6-1
#1 Youmakemeblush   9-5
#4 Promise Me Roses   7-2
#5 Love Is Laine   20-1
 
Analysis: Got the Gist weakened to finish sixth last out in her return off a year layoff last out for the De La Cerda barn. The mare showed some ability in her earlier races including a runner up finish in the slop at the Spa in her third career start. The mare should move forward second off the shelf here and catches a pretty weak looking group. She is bred to handle a wet track which we may see today.
 
Youmakemeblush makes her ninth career start here and has landed in the bottom half of the exacta four times. She was third last out over a wet track here as the beaten favorite. She makes her second start at this level and does not need to move forward much off her last outing to pick up her diploma here. Both of her trips over wet tracks were solid.
 
Wagering
WIN: #3 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 1,3 / 1,3,4
TRI: no play
 
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
 
AQU Race 8 The La Verdad (3:59 ET)
#7 Sunset Ridge   6-1
#10 Pauseforthecause   7-2
#6 Palladian Bridge   12-1
#3 Kathryn the Wise   9-2
 
Analysis: Sunset Ridge makes her third start off the long layoff here for the Brown barn. Off the bench she ran a good second to Satisfy, who will scratch out of here. She then was the beaten chalk last out at the same level going a mile. She won her first four career starts ranging from 6 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles including a 6 1/4 length win in the state bred Fleet Indian. She is bred to handle a wet track and her career top speed fig came at today's seven-furlong distance. She looks to be sitting on a good one here.
 
Pauseforthecause earned a career top speed fig last out beating Alw-1 foes here going six furlongs. She is stakes placed against state breds and ran a decent third on a wet track in the state bred Franklin Square last February. She was fourth in her lone go at seven furlongs, coming in the state bred Joe A. Gimma in the fall of '17. Looks as if she will appreciate the extra furlong here.
 
Wagering
WIN: #7 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 7,10 / 3,6,7,10
TRI: 7,10 / 3,6,7,10 / 1,3,6,7,10
 
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Gulfstream Park:
 
GP Race 10 The Mucho Macho Man (4:41 ET)
#6 Mihos   7-2
#4 Code of Honor   7-5
#3 Trophy Chaser   4-1
#1 Garter and Tie   6-1
 
Analysis: Mihos faces winners and stretches out to a route of ground for the first time here in his third career start. He was a god looking maiden winner last out going six furlongs at the Big A. He ran third in his debut behind a pair of next out winners. The winner Vekoma came back to win the Nashua (G3) in his next outing on Nov. 4. The Jerkens barn is 41% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners form sprint to route. He has the best shot of upsetting the chalk.
 
Code of Honor makes his first start since running a good second in the Champagne (G1) in his second career start. He would have been a player threat in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) but spiked a fever the morning of the race. He has worked sharply at Payson for his return for the Shug barn that is 18% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff. He is out of the stakes winner Reunited ($326,771). This guy looks ready to fire a big one but his price is going to likely be less than his 7-5 morning line.
 
Wagering
WIN: #6 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 4,6 / 3,4,6
TRI: no play
 
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Santa Anita:
 
SA Race 9 The Sham G3 (4:04 PT)
#6 Gunmetal Gray   5-2
#5 Coliseum   1-1
#7 Much Better   6-1
#3 Savagery   10-1
 
Analysis: Gunmetal Gray was outrun early after breaking from the outside and made a mild late run to finish fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), beaten 12 ½ lengths behind the winner Game Winner.  Third place finisher Signalman and seventh pale finisher Mind Control have exited the Juvenile to win stakes in their next starts. Two back in the American Pharoah (G1) in his stakes debut our top pick tracked the early pace after bobbling at the break and was no match for game Winner in a runner up finish, beaten 4 ½ lengths. The $225,000 Ocala purchase is out of a stakes placed Include mare and has the experience edge over the chalk with three routes under his belt.
 
Coliseum was taking action in the Kentucky Derby future pools before he even made his debut and he did not disappoint. Sent off as the chalk in a field of six he took the field gate to wire and drew clear to win by 6 ¾ lengths. The Godolphin owned colt has a nice pedigree, by Tapit out of the stakes winner Game Face ($799,348). The colt has worked sharply in the mornings since his debut and certainly has the pedigree to handle two turns. Baffert is 39% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from spring to route ad n was lights out over the last six months of 2018 with juveniles. The main knock is this guy is likely going to be 3-5.
 
Much Better is also sent out by Baffert. The son of Pioneerof the Nile broke his maiden in his debut on the main track at Del Mar, then Baffert elected to move him to turf. He was a good second in the Zuma Beach and then had a rough trip in a 14th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) on yielding turf.  It is back to dirt here and he has been working sharply over the main track. Baffert is 24% winners with runners going from turf to dirt dating back three years. Looks like decent enough value if he goes off near his 6-1 morning line.
 
Wagering
WIN: #6 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 5,6 / 3,5,6,7
TRI: 6 / 3,5,7 / 2,3,5,7
 
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.
 
Aqueduct
R1: #5 Love Is Laine   20-1
R3: #3 Tzipi   8-1
R6: #9 Hushion   8-1
R8: #6 Palladian Bridge   12-1
R9: #7 Carmine’s Honor   10-1
 
Good luck today!

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