Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:59 AM

At the Gate - Saturday

The return of Instagrand is the highlight of a great day of betting on Saturday, the promising colt the even money favorite in the $300,000 Gotham (G3) at Aqueduct.

This colt won the Best Pal (G2) last August at Del Mar and looked headed to being a major player in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), but his connections pulled the plug on his juvenile season.

He returns off a seven-month layoff looking to pick up Derby points. The Gotham is a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race with 50-20-10-5 points toward entry into the Run for the Roses up for grabs.

Instagrand is the current co-fourth choice in early Kentucky Derby odds at +1600.

As you can see below, I am not too excited about backing him at even money or less and looking for more value with Haikal, the colt coming off a game win in the Jimmy Winkfield at seven furlongs in his last outing.

The $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2) also offers up 50-20-10-5 Derby points. A field of 11 will line up led by Win Win Win, who won the Pasco by 7 ¼ lengths in his last outing.

The third Derby points race is the $200,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park over the synthetic surface. The race is worth 20-8-4-2 Derby points.

A field of 11 head to the starting gate led by John Battaglia winner Somelikeithotbrown, the 8-5 morning line favorite. The Mike Maker trainee really took to the polytrack last out.

My Best Plays for Saturday includes my 10 strongest plays from Aqueduct, Turfway Park.

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

AQU Race 1 Md Sp Wt (12:20 ET)
#2 Invest 5-2
#3 Papa Jim 4-1
#4 Oh My Papa 5-1
#5 Tizgame 2-1

Analysis: Invest had to steady when swerving over coming out of the gate, got checked and fought the bit early. He pulled some early but once settled he ran well and made a mild late bid to finish second, no match for a seven-length winner but well clear of the rest of the field. The Rice barn is 33% winners (with a +ROI) with second out maidens. The $240,000 purchase is out of the stakes winner Intentional Fever ($219,266) who has dropped two other foals to race with one winner.

Papa Jim has caught off tracks in both starts, a runner up in his debut in the mud and then he regressed last out in a sixth in the slop at seven furlongs. The top pair came out of that race to win next out. The winner London House beat state bred Alw-1 optional claimers in his next outing on Feb. 18. He came back with a bullet work on March 3. He is out of a Cuvee mare that has dropped two other foals to race with one winner to date.

WIN: #2 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 2,3 / 2,3,4,5
TRI: 2,3 / 2,3,4,5 / 2,3,4,5,6

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 10 The Gotham G3 (5:09 ET)
#5 Haikal 6-1
#6 Instagrand 1-1
#7 Not That Brady 5-1
#4 Much Better 10-1

Analysis: Haikal made his stakes debut in the Jimmy Winkfield at seven furlongs. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee stalked the early pace while three wide, tucked to the inside on the far turn and was in tight for a bit and was up late to win by a neck. He caught a racing strip that was kind to speed that day. The extra furlong here should suit him. He is by Daaher out of a Distorted Humor mare that has dropped one other winner, stakes winner Takaful ($451,500). The colt just needs to see some pace in front of him here. Decent value if he goes off near his 6-1 morning line.

Instagrand, a highly regarded Jerry Hollendorfer trainee was put on the bench after winning his first two starts by a combined 20 ¼ lengths, the owner electing to save him for this year. The $1.2 million purchase broke his maiden by 10 lengths at Los Alamitos in his debut, then came back to win the Best Pal (G2) by 10 ¼ lengths. He has been working sharply in the mornings at Santa Anita for his return. The barn is 13% winners with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. This looks like a good spot going a one turn mile, but his price is going to be very much on the light side.

Not That Brady cuts back from nine furlongs where he set the early fractions and battled on gamely in the stretch to coming up just a head short in the Withers (G3). He won the state bred Damon Runyan two back over a wet track at today’s one turn mile distance. He owns solid early and mid pace numbers and there is not a ton of early zip signed up to go in here. He will appreciate the cut back to a mile. He owns the top last out speed fig.

WIN: #5 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 5,6 / 4,5,6,7
TRI: 5,6 / 4,5,6,7 / 3,4,5,6,7

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Tampa Bay Downs:

Tam Race 11 The Tampa Bay Derby G2 (5:25 ET)
#4 Dream Maker 4-1
#5 Well Defined 7-2
#6 Outshine 8-1
#7 Win Win Win 5-2

Analysis: Dream Maker came off a four month break with a smart looking win versus Alw-1 foes, drawing off to win by 8 1/2 lengths. The runner up and fourth place finisher both came back to win next out. The Casse trainee broke his maiden in his debut and then was fifth in the Hopeful (G1) and 12th in the Breeders' Futurity (G1). The barn is 18% winners with runners making their second start off a 45-180-day layoff. Geroux sticks and this guy figures to move forward second off the bench.

Well Defined took the field gate to wire to win the Sam F. Davis (G3) last out over the main track here. He bounced back after getting beaten double digit lengths in the Mucho Macho Man and Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) in his two previous starts. The O'Connell trainee owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers and there really does not appear to be a ton of early zip in this spot.

WIN: #4 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 4,5 / 4,5,6,7
TRI: 4,5 / 4,5,6,7 / 4,5,6,7,11

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.

R5: #5 Eddie Boy 12-1
R5: #8 Ten Twenty Nine 10-1
R7: #10 No Stone Unturned 10-1
R9: #1 Curlin’s Honor 15-1
R10: #4 Much Better 10-1
R11: #2 Espresso Shot 8-1

Good luck today!

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