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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:59 PM

At the Gate - Friday

We have a great weekend of stakes action coming up with a pair of Road to the Kentucky Derby points races on tap.

We are now just 78 days away from the first Saturday of May, and the $400,000 Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds is the first Derby points race that offers up 50-20-10-5 points to the top four finishers. The winner is virtually assured a starting spot in the gate for the Run for the Roses.

A full field of 14 will head to the gate in the Risen Star led by War of Will (5-2) who won the Lecomte (G3) as our top pick on Jan. 19.

The Mark Casse trainee drew a 14 post and will break from the 13 with the scratch of the Bob Baffert trained Kingly.

There are several others in the field that may end up offering more bang for the buck. Among those are Mr. Money (12-1) who makes his first start since a fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and Country House (20-1) who was a good-looking maiden winner in his last start for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.

I will have selections and analysis for the Risen Star in tomorrow’s column.

The other Derby points race is the $100,000 El Camino Real Derby. The race is on the synthetic surface and offers up 10-4-2-1 Derby points.

A field of 12 was entered and Baffert’s Kingly is the 2-1 morning line favorite.

On Monday the $500,000 Southwest (G3) will offer up 50-20-10-5 Derby points. With Monday a holiday I will have my full card report for the Big A along with a Best Plays Report with races from Oaklawn Park, with three stakes on their card.

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

To purchase my Aqueduct Report 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 Replicator 3-1
#1 Zealous 1-1
#6 Mutaraabit 7-2
#4 Rucksack 6-1

Analysis: Replicator makes his third career start here for the Chad Brown barn. The colt caught sloppy tracks in each of his first two starts, both fourth place finishes. The son of Paynter has come back with decent works and adds blinkers today. The barn is 39% winners (with a +ROI) when adding the hood for the first time. This guy was a $520,000 Keeneland purchase, out of the stakes winner Bobbie Use ($104,969) who has dropped three winners and two are stakes winners, top earner Starship Truffles ($445,035).

Zealous lunged coming out of the gate, tracked the early pace and was no match for the winner in a runner up finish. He was 5 1/2 clear of the rest of the field and two back in his runner up finish he was 6 1/4 clear of the third-place finisher. His last three figs are tops in here but he now makes his 10th career start and our top pick may have a bit more upside.

WIN: #5 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,5 / 1,5,6
TRI: no play

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 8 Clm $16,000N2L (4:40 ET)
#6 Magari 4-1
#7 Ouro Verde 6-5
#9 Tequila Sunday 8-1
#4 Missbigtimes 5-1

Analysis: Magari prompted the early pace, took over the lead and weakened inside the final furlong in a fourth-place finish at this level at 6 1/2 furlongs. Two foes came out of that race to win next out. Two back off a four month break the mare came with a mild late bid to finish fourth. The winner of that race was She'sakittykat, who came back to beat $14,000 non-winners of three in her next outing. Now our top pick returns off a two month break and she owns solid early and mid pace numbers. She catches a pretty weak group here.

Ouro Verde makes her third start off a 6 1/2-month layoff here. It took this mare a while to break her maiden and she always seems to be in the hunt but rarely wins. She is 1 for 18 and has landed din the money in 14 of her career starts. Herr last pair of figs look good enough to handle this group but her price is going to be on the short side.

WIN: #6 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 6,7 / 4,6,7,9
TRI: 6,7 / 4,6,7,9 / 1,4,6,7,9

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.

R2: #2 Clonedsimmard 20-1
R6: #4 Asher the Dasher 10-1
R9: #9 Tequila Sunday 8-1

Good luck today!

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