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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:59 PM

At the Gate - Friday

It was a chalky day at Aqueduct on Thursday with a few too many short fields. The biggest winner of the day paid $9.10 and we started off the day with winners that paid $2.90 and $3.30, combining for a $2 daily double that paid a paltry $5.60.

The Friday card holds a bit more potential and we have a decent list of live longshots this afternoon that can spice up the exotics.

There is a lull in the action this weekend with no Road to the Kentucky Derby points races. In fact, the overall graded stakes menu is quite slim.

On Saturday there is just two graded stakes in the U.S.— the $100,000 Hal’s Hope (G3) at Gulfstream Park and the $200,000 Buena Vista (G2) at Santa Anita.

The feature at Aqueduct on Saturday is the $100,000 Franklin Square for New York bred three-year-old fillies.

The race drew a field of six led by 8-5 morning line favorite Forgotten Hero. The filly is perfect in two starts, breaking her maiden in her debut and coming back to win a New York Stallion Series race on Dec. 15 in her most recent start.

Her main foes figure to be Stonesintheroad (2-1) who is perfect in two starts and Flush (3-1) who broke her maiden in her debut by 7 ½ lengths in her last outing.

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

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 opening race from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:

AQU Race 1 Md Sp Wt (12:50 ET)
#2 Deputy Flag 5-2
#5 Castle Casanova 6-5
#1 Givetheman a Cigar 3-1
#4 Bad Guy 10-1

Analysis: Deputy Flag set the early fractions and could not match strides with the winner in the stretch in a runner up finish for a $40,000 tag in her second career start. It was her first go since last June where she was eighth in her debut. He steps back up to the maiden special weight ranks but looks capable of moving forward off her last effort. She is out of a Personal Flag mare that has dropped four other foals to race, all winners, top earner stakes winner Bluegrass Flag ($206,162).

Castle Casanova was a good second in the slop in her debut where she was sent off at 4-5. He returned against open maidens last out where he checked din third, no match for the top pair. He is back with state breds here which makes him tough, but the price is going to be on the light side. He is a half to four winners including stakes winner Hidden Vow ($295,372).

WIN: #2 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 2,5 / 1,2,4,5
TRI: 2,5 / 1,2,4,5 / 1,2,4,5,7

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 5 Md $20,000 (3:00 ET)
#9 Alrahaal 9-2
#2 Racing Raven 9-5
#4 Somebody 2-1
#6 Support Our Cause 5-1

Analysis: Alrahaal caught a muddy track last out when dropping back in for a tag. The gelding tracked the early pace and weakened to finish a distant fifth. The winner Siena Magic came back to beat $50,000 non-winners of two in his next outing on Feb. 8. He stretches back out to a mile and was a game second in his debut at a mile behind repeat winner Domain. He starts here for the first time for the Rice barn that is 30% winners first off the claim. He is jammed in here for $20,000 and the barn is 30% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from sprint to route.

Racing Raven has caught off tracks in four of his six career starts including both of his last two starts after coming back off the bench. He was the beaten favorite last out where he checked in third, making a mild late bid. He has the pedigree to go a mile, out of an Elusive Quality mare that has dropped three winners, top earner stakes winner Lost Raven ($359,050).

WIN: #9 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 2,9 / 2,4,6,9
TRI: 2,9 / 2,4,6,9 / 2,4,6,7,9

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.

R1: #4 Bad Guy 10-1
R4: #3 Too Many Tales 8-1
R4: #7 Topline 8-1
R6: #1 Halloween Horror 8-1
R7: ## Felix in Fabula 8-1
R7: #7 Let Me Go First 8-1
R8: #8 Laura’s Posse 8-1
R8: #2 Buss the Bell 10-1

Good luck today!

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