At the Gate – SundayI thought we could beat one of the Bob Baffert trainees in yesterday’s split Rebel Stakes (G2) and it turned out they both lost at very short prices, making the Road to the Kentucky Derby as confusing as ever.
First up was Improbable, undefeated in three starts and sent off at 2-5 in a field of seven. The Baffert trainee had the lead heading for home but got run down by our second choice Long Range Toddy, who returned $18.80 We knocked down the recommended exacta which paid pretty well, returning $45.80.
Long Range Toddy had missed in the Smarty Jones by just a neck and then was third in the Southwest (G3) in his two previous starts.
Next up was Baffert’s Game Winner, who before the Rebel was sharing favoritism honors for the Kentucky Derby with Improbable at +600.
The colt came with a good late rally and came up just a neck short of getting to the winner Omaha Beach, who paid $10.80 and topped a $2 exacta that paid $22.60 which we missed.
Omaha Beach is trained by Richard Mandella, who has been very high on this colt. It took five tries for him to break his maiden, winning by nine lengths in the slop at Santa Anita on Feb. 2. Now he should have enough points to make into the starting gate on the first Saturday of May.
As for Baffert’s two runners, let’s not give up on them yet. They were being pointed toward the San Felipe (G2) last week which got canceled. They had to ship to Los Alamitos to train and then had to ship to Oaklawn Park.
They both were making their first starts of the year, and they certainly can get right back into the mix of things in their final Derby prep next month.
My Best Plays for Sunday includes my eight strongest plays from Aqueduct and Gulfstream Park.
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Here is the opening race from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Alw $50,000s (1:30 ET)
#1 Expert 2-1
#2 Binskter 4-1
#5 Where's Rudy 6-5
#3 Potomac 6-1
Analysis: Expert dueled for the early lead, opened up a clear lead and held on in deep stretch to beat $40,000 non-winners of three last out. The runner up Royal Albert Hall came back to win the Bernardini in his next start on March 2 here. Our top pick as claimed out of his last outing by the Rice barn that is 32% winners first off the claim. The colt owns a solid pace profile throughout and comes in here off back to back career top speed figs. Looks capable of winning right back here.
Binkster caught a muddy track last out where the gelding took the field gate tow roe to beat $25,000 non-winners of three in his first start off a seven-month layoff. The runner up One River Place came back to beat $25,000 non-winners of three in his next outing on Feb. 24. The gelding won at a mile two back beating $25,000 non-winners of two at Belmont Park. He looks like a good fit here and the 4-1 morning line looks fair enough to give him a look.
WIN: #1 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 1 / 2,5
TRI: no play
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 OClm $40,000N2X (5:21 ET)
#2 Speightful Kitten 5-1
#5 Ready to Escape 8-5
#7 Sudden Surprise 10-1
#9 Candid Desire 8-1
Analysis: Speightful Kitten stalked the early pace while saving ground and finished evenly in a runner up finish last out, catching a racing strip that was playing to speed. A few too many misses at this condition but he has been right in the mix in five starts. The Rice trainee owns a solid pace profile throughout and Franco is off longshot Formal Start who won last out to reunite with this gelding.
Ready to Escape prompted the early pace and finished gamely to beat state bred Alw-2L foes last out in his second try. He was the chalk two back in his first start against winners, checking in third. His last out speed fig towers over the rest of the field here and it was 15 points higher than his previous top. He certainly could regress off his latest and his price may end up on the light side, but he is lightly race compared to the rest of this group.
WIN: #2 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 2,5 / 2,5,7,9
TRI: 2,5 / 2,5,7,9 / 1,2,5,7,9
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Gulfstream Park:
GP Race 10 OClm $35,000SAL (5:37 ET)
#2 Isadorable Aida 7-2
#10 Yako 5-2
#3 Dance TIll Dawn 9-2
#4 Sand Drift 10-1
Analysis: Isadorable Aida stalked the early pace, made a middle move to get into contention but then did not have enough punch left late in a fifth-place finish in the Mrs Presidente. Two back this gal raced near at the back of the pack early behind a slow pace and came with a good late rally to finish third, beaten four lengths. She has a win at this level three back and catches a group here she should be able to handle.
Yako finished ahead of our top pick in her last three starts. Among those was a win two back in the Andromeda at a mile here. The Sano trainee is the logical one to beat but her price may end up on the light side and she does not draw as well as she did in her last few starts.
WIN: #2 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 2,10 / 2,3,4,10
TRI: 2,10 / 2,3,4,10 / 2,3,4,6,10
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: #5 Bourbon Boy 8-1
R5: #1 Turn and Bern 8-1
R6: #1 Suremoney 15-1
R8: #7 Sudden Surprise 10-1
R8: #9 Candid Desire 8-1
R9: #13 Flat Out Funky 15-1
R9: #4 Charming Cara 8-1
Good luck today!
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