At the Gate – Friday

We have a pair of Road to the Kentucky Derby points races coming up this weekend—the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) on Saturday and the $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3) on Sunday.

The Louisiana Derby is worth 100-40-20-10 points while the Sunland Derby offers up 50-20-10-5.

War of Will is the 6-5 morning line favorite for the Louisiana Derby and the Mark Casse trainee is seeking to sweep the Derby preps in New Orleans. The colt won the LeComte (G3) and Risen Star (G2) and is the leader in the clubhouse with 60 Derby points, plenty to already have his ticket stamped to Louisville.

Horses exiting the Louisiana Derby and the six-week break have not fared very well in the Run for the Roses.

Louisiana Derby alumni have run well in recent years in the Run for the Roses despite not winning. Gun Runner was third in 2016, Commanding Curve was the runner up in 2014, Golden Soul was second in 2013 and Revolutionary was third. In 2011 Nehro ran second and Mucho Macho Man was third.

War of Will is the current third choice in early odds at +1200.

Mine That Bird put the Sunland Derby on the map in 2009, pulling off the upset in the Kentucky Derby at 50-1 that year. Firing Line exited the 2015 Sunland Derby to run second in the Kentucky Derby.

This year’s field drew a field of 10 with the Bob Baffert trained Mucho Gusto the 8-5 morning line favorite.

The colt has won three of his four career starts, taking the Robert B. Lewis (G3) in the slop at Santa Anita in his last outing on Feb. 2.

While Baffert’s duo of Game Winner and Improbable are the co-favorite sin early odds at +600, Mucho Gusto is sitting at +1800.

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

AQU Race 1 Clm $16,000 (1:30 ET)
#5 Stretch's Stone 7-2
#2 Spartiatis 6-5
#4 Malibu Action 8-5
#3 Nolinksi 5-1

Analysis: Stretch's Stone was not off cleanly in his debut prompted the early pace and weakened to finish fourth last out against state bred $25,000 claimers. His last win came in the slop four back at Philly where he beat $25,000 starter allowance foes. He drops in for $16,000 while facing open company. The Levin trainee looks capable of moving forward off his last effort and among the top three here likely is going to offer the best value for the top spot in this compact field.

Spariatis was bumped coming out of the gate, stalked the early pace and finished gamely, coming up a neck and a head short in a third-place finish. He was claimed out of the race by the Servis barn that is 44% winners (with a +ROI) first off the claim. He won for this tag two back while in the RRod barn. The nine-year-old is just 1 for 11 over the Big A main track and 0 for 5 on wet tracks, but tough to pass on anything this barn sends out.

WIN: #5 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 5 / 2,4
TRI: no play

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 6 Md $50,000 (4:17 ET)
#5 Annette's Humor 9-2
#7 Delta Gamma 2-1
#2 Too Many Tales 3-1
#6 Cholmondeley 5-1

Analysis: Annette's Humor lunged at the break, leaned in a exchanged a few bumps with a foe, bumped with a foe again with a furlong to go and just missed the show spot in a photo. The filly ran second on off tracks in her two previous starts and may see a wet track again today. A clean trip makes the RRod filly the one to beat in this spot and the 9-2 morning line looks fair enough.

Delta Gamma tracked the early pace and could not get to the gate to wire winner last out in a runner up finish in her first start for a tag. She ran well in her first two starts versus tougher in runner up finishes, then was a distant ninth. She is the logical one to beat and has shown she can run over a wet track.

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

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 Poshky 12-1
R3: #5 Incubator 8-1
R5: #5 Call Me 10-1
R7: #1 Cross Multiply 8-1
R8: #5 Palladian Bridge 8-1

Good luck today!