At the Gate – Saturday

We are back in action for Saturday after racing was canceled in New York on Thursday because of frigid temperatures. I thought for sure Friday would be canceled as well with a first post temperature of 19 degrees and 11-degree windchill, but they ran.

Well I messed that up, but it did give me more time to go over Saturday’s races. I have my full card reports up for both Aqueduct and Gulfstream Park and we have three Derby points races this afternoon.

Click here for today’s Gulfstream Park Report.

The Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita drew a field of six Derby hopefuls led by the Bob Baffert trained Mucho Gusto. The colt ran second to his stablemate Improbable in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) in his last outing.

There are several inches of rain in the forecast for Arcadia, so expect a sloppy track.

At Gulfstream Park a field of 10 go in the $350,000 Holy Bull (G3). Maximus Mischief is the even money favorite, coming off a victory in the Remsen (G3) at Aqueduct in his last start. He is going to be a light price and we will attempt to beat him for the top spot.

At Aqueduct, where the temperatures will be a balmy 36 today, a field of seven go in the $250,000 Withers (G3). Tax, the Remsen third place finisher is the 2-1 morning line favorite.

As you can see below, I am looking for a bit more value with Not That Brady, the New York bred coming off a victory in the Damon Runyon in his last outing for trainer Rudy Rodriguez.

My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my 12 strongest plays from Aqueduct and Gulfstream Park including the three Derby preps.

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To purchase my Aqueduct, Gulfstream Park and Best Plays Reports for Sunday click here.

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

AQU Race 1 Hcp $20,000 (12:20 ET)
#2 Stay Fond 7-5
#4 Daria's Angel 8-5
#5 Mia Bella Rossa 5-2
#1 Madame Barbarian / 1a She'sakittykat 6-1

Analysis: Stay Fond came up a nose short last out in a tough beat. The mare prompted the early pace and then shied away from the stick in the stretch while finishing gamely. The winner was taking full advantage of a racing strip that was kind to inside speed. It looks as if the mare can turn the tables here and she owns back speed figs earned three and four back that makes her tough.

Daria's Angel set the early fractions and held on to beat our top pick last out. She was making her first start for former Diororo assistant Atras who has started off the meeting here going 5 for 8. I don't think she is going to find things as easy up front in this spot.

WIN: #2 to win at 7-5 or better.
EX: 2 / 4,5
TRI: no play

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 9 The Withers G3 (4:30 ET)
#7 Not That Brady 4-1
#3 Moretti 3-1
#1 Tax 2-1
#5 Lucky Lee 7-2

Analysis: Not That Brady
took the field gate to wire to win the state bred Damon Runyon last out over a wet track in his first start against winners. He did it over a racing strip that day that was playing to outside stalkers and closers. The RRod barn claimed this guy for $50,000 out of his debut and picked up his maiden score two back where he rolled to a 11 1/4 length win. He steps up into a tougher spot but looks capable of moving forward off his last effort and handle the extra furlong.

Moretti faces winners here after a smart looking maiden score in his second career start for the Pletcher barn. He ran well in a runner up finish two back in his debut at a mile and handled the stretch out to nine furlongs last out. He returns with blinkers added and still looks as if he has a ton of upside. He was a $900,000 purchase, out of the stakes winner Rigoletta ($184,070) who has dropped two other foals to race, both winners, top earner stakes winner Battle of Midway ($1.46 million).

Tax was claimed for $50,000 out of his maiden score and came back and ran a decent third in the Remsen. That race was won by Maximus Mischief, the even money morning line favorite for today's Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream Park. This race will be run first. His last out number was 27 points higher than his first two figs. Not sure what to expect out of this guy but his price is going to end up on the light side.

WIN: #7 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 3,7 / 1,3,5,7
TRI: 3,7 / 1,3,5,7 / 1,3,5,6,7

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

GP Race 10 The Swale G3 (4:40 ET)
#5 Call Paul 3-1
#4 High Crime 4-1
#11 Country Singer 5-1
#8 Seismic Jolt 6-1

Analysis: Call Paul
has not run a bad one in five starts, including winning the Saratoga Special (G2) last summer in his first start against winners and the Pennsylvania Nursery last out by five lengths. The runner up in that race was Jump for Alex, who came back to beat Alw-1 optional claimers in his next outing on Jan. 19. His two losses came at a mile in graded stakes company and seven furlongs looks ideal for this guy. Of course Servis is having a strong meeting, hitting at a 44% clip.

High Crime was a decent second on poly in his debut and ran huge last out over the main track here, drawing clear to win by 7 3/4 lengths and earning the top last out speed fig. He won't be on the lead here as this race is top heavy with early speed but he hinted in his debut effort he does not need the lead. Out of a Smart Strike mare, he is bred to handle a wet track.

WIN: #5 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 4,5 / 4,5,8,11
TRI: 4,5 / 4,5,8,11 / 4,5,8,9,11

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.

R3: #2 Regalian 8-1
R4: #5 team Win 8-1
R5: #13 Centrall 8-1
R5: #9 Too Many Tales 8-1
R7: #5 Zap Zap Zap 8-1
R7: #8 Conquest Prankster 8-1
R8: #1 Ro Bear 8-1

Good luck today!