Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:59 PM
At the Gate - Sunday
The Kentucky Derby picture did not get any clearer after yesterday’s $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds.
War of Will, winner of the LeComte (G3) and Risen Star (G2) was sent off at 4-5 and just as I suspected, he failed to fire, checking in a dull ninth.
Our top two picks were Spinoff at 9-2 and Sueno at 8-1 and turning for home they both were right in the mix. However, they had to settle for second and third with By My Standards pulling off the big upset, returning $47.00 and stamping his ticket to the Run for the Roses.
Trained by Bret Calhoun, the colt was coming off a maiden victory over the Fair Grounds main track in his fourth career start, and his career best Beyer Speed Figure coming into the race was a 78.
Perhaps we will see a major contender for the Kentucky Derby come out of Sunday’s $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3).
Trainer Bob Baffert sends out the 8-5 morning line favorite Mucho Gusto, who has been overlooked most of the year with the barn having the two early Derby favorites in Game Winner and Improbable, who both lost last weekend in the Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn Park.
Mucho Gusto has some serious talent. He is coming off a win in the Robert B. Lewis (G3) at Santa Anita, his third win in four career starts. He could jump up the Baffert depth chart with another move forward on Sunday.
If he wins big it is possible by Monday that Baffert could have the three top early Derby favorites as both Game Winner and Improbable are still taking some betting action in the future betting despite both coming up short last Saturday.
My Best Plays for Sunday includes my eight strongest plays from Aqueduct and Sunland 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 $20,000 (1:30 ET)
3 Racing Raven 4-5
1 Platinum Nugget / 1a Friendship Seven 4-1
6 Flat Out Jayvien 2-1
4 No No Noah 12-1
Analysis: Racing Raven can get the day off to a chalky start. This gelding cuts back from a mile where he was fifth over a wet track. he has caught off tracks in five of his seven starts. He was third in his two previous starts earning speed figs good to enough to handle this group with ease. He owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers and only real knock is his light price. He is a half to stakes winner Lost Raven ($359,050).
Platinum Nugget set the early fractions and weakened to finish fourth last out. He has come up short 13 times with a second and a third. His runner up finish was two back where he ran into a 14 3/4 length winner. The stronger half of the entry. He is a half to a pair of stakes winners, top earner Dance Away Capote ($586,773).
WIN: #3 to win at 6-5 or better.
EX: 1,3 / 1,3,6
TRI: no play
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 Alw $70,000N1X (5:36 ET)
3 Free Kitty 7-2
8 Storm Rising 7-2
6 Out of Orbit 5-2
1 Sun Studio 5-1
Analysis: Free Kitty prompted the early pace, took over and drew clear to a sharp win versus $50,000 starter allowance foes last out in her first start off the claim by the RRod barn. She was taken two back out of a runner up finish against $40,000 non-winners of two. The winner of that race was Science Fiction, who came back to beat $50,000 starter allowance foes in her next start on Feb. 8. It took her awhile to break her maiden and she tends to land for minor shares but earned a career top in her first start for the barn and looks headed in the right direction. This is not a real tough looking Alw-1 foes she catches here.
Storm Rising was bumped hard coming out of the gate in her debut, recovered to take over the lead and won for fun going six furlongs at Tampa Bay Downs. She was bet down to 4-5 for her unveiling. She has plenty of pedigree to handle the extra ground. The Clement trainee is by Medaglia d'Oro out of a Storm Cat mare. The barn is 17% winners moving runners form sprint to route.
WIN: #3 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 3,8 / 1,3,6,8
TRI: 3,8 / 1,3,6,8 / 1,2,3,6,8
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Sunland Park:
SUN Race 11 The Sunland Derby (5:30 MT)
1 Mucho Gusto 8-5
5 Cutting Humor 8-1
4 Wicked Indeed 6-1
2 Anothertwistafate 3-1
Analysis: Mucho Gusto tracked the early pace in the slop and drew off smartly in the stretch to win the Robert B. Lewis (G3) last out at Santa Anita. His lone loss was to his stablemate Improbable two back in the Los Al Futurity (G1). The $625,000 purchase should have no problem with the added ground. he is by Mucho Macho Man out of a Giant's Causeway mare, her first foal to race. Baffert won this race in 2013 and 2014 and two of the last four winners have come out of the Lewis. He owns a solid pace profile throughout with the main concern how low the price goes.
Cutting Humor makes his stakes debut in the Southwest (G3) at Okinawan park where he was sent off as the 2-1 favorite. He raced near the back, made a middle move to get into the mix and then ran out of gas in the stretch, checking in seventh. He was a good second two back against Alw-1 optional claimers in his first start of the year. He was beaten by Bourbon war, who returned to run second in the Fountain of Youth (G2) in his next outing. Pletcher is not ready to give up on this guy so he figures to bounce back with a better effort. The $400,000 purchase is out of a Pulpit mare that has dropped two other winners including stakes winner Irish You Well ($330,147).
Wicked Indeed was the beaten favorite in the Mine That Bird over the main track here last out. The colt made a good late rally, coming up a length short of the top spot while three clear of three rest of the field. He was fourth in LeComte (G3) two back behind repeat winner War of Will, winner of the Risen Star (G2) next out and the favorite for yesterday's Louisiana Derby (G2). The colt looks as if he still has some upside. He is out of the stakes winner Wicked Dee ($85,560) who has dropped four other winners and two are stakes winners, top earner My Miss Lilly ($295,800).
WIN: #1 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 1,5 / 1,2,4,5
TRI: 1,5 / 1,2,4,5 / 1,2,3,4,5
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 No No Flash 12-1
R3: #6 Suremoney 8-1
R4: #1 Roses From Ben 15-1
R4: #7 Flying Plesantly 10-1
R6: #3 Disciplinarian 8-1
R9: #9 Mac’s Revolution 10-1
Good luck today!