At the Gate – Saturday

We have quite a day at Gulfstream Park this afternoon with 14 races including the $1 million Florida Derby (G1), which might put some semblance of normalcy into this crazy Road to the Kentucky Derby this year.

We also have the world’s richest race on tap, the $12 million Dubai World Cup that includes five invaders from the U.S. and a morning line favorite names North America.

And we have an outstanding 10-race card at Aqueduct today, all starter stakes races on New York Claiming Championship Day.

All that added up to about 20 hours of handicapping for this afternoon.

The race I am looking forward to the most is the Florida Derby, which drew a field of 11 including several runners that have pretty good credentials to be a factor on the first Saturday of May.

Hidden Scroll is the 5-2 morning line favorite despite the fact he weakened to finish fourth in the Fountain of Yuo9th (G2) in his stakes debut. The colt was part of a sharp early pace, and should work out a better trip, although he draws a tricky post breaking from the rail.

There are six supporting stakes on the card and plenty of excellent wagering opportunities as well as the Big A card, which is the one of the best we have seen over the past couple of months.

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

AQU Race 1 The Bill Gallenty (1:30 ET)
#6 Flashndynamite 6-5
#3 To the Flag 5-2
#1 Not About the Nail 3-1
#4 To the Flag 5-2

Analysis: Flashndynamite ships in from Philly for the Moore barn. The filly has won three of her five starts since the barn claimed her for $7,500 out of a win last fall. She came up short last out in a third-place finish against $12,500 starter allowance foes on the cut back from a route. Her wins have come around two turns but has shown enough tactical speed a seven-furlong sprint should suit her. She owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers and looking for her to rebound with a better effort.

To the Flag drew clear to beat $12,500 claimers last out at Philly in a sharp effort in her second start off the claim by the Taylor barn. She beat open $10,000 foes two back in her first start for the new barn after taking her from Lake for $7,500. She is a hard trying mare that looks back on track in her last pair. Looks like we could be starting of the day on the chalky side.

WIN: #6 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 3,6 / 1,3,6
TRI: no play

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Dubai:

MEY Race 9 The Dubai World Cup G1 (12:40 ET)
#3 North America 5-2
#10 Yoshida 8-1
#2 Capezzano 7-2
#1 Gunnevera 12-1

Analysis: North America was off poorly and never a factor in this race last year and has come back strong. He won Round 1 of the Al Maktoum Challenge (G2) by nine lengths and was just as sharp winning Round 2 by 2 1/4 lengths. He has now won 7 of his 11 trips over the main track here. He should sit a good trip just off what could be a sharp early pace. Speed was king last year during the Carnival and a bit less so this season.

Yoshida was our top pick int eh Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) last fall and he rallied to finish fourth but came up 1 3/4 length short at 14-1. He did not care for the yielding ground last out in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) and it is back on dirt here. Mott won this race with Cigar and should have this five-year-old primed for a top effort. Things should set up nicely for him as it looks like the early pace will be solid. We should get a decent price on this guy.

Capezzano trounced the field last out in Round 3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge (G1) by 9 1/2 lengths over last year's Dubai World Cup winner Thunder Snow. The gelding comes in here at the top of his game having won three in a row. He was a non-factor last year in the Godolphin Mile (G1) but comes into this race in better form off a career top Timeform rating.

WIN: #3 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 3,10 / 1,2,3,10
TRI: 3,10 / 1,2,3,10 / 1,2,3,5,10

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 9 The Stud Muffin (5:50 ET)
#7 Turco Bravo 3-1
#6 Shalako 4-1
#5 Colonel Juan 6-1
#8 Devine Dental 7-2

Analysis: Turco Bravo stalked the early pace while saving ground and came with a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot last out against $25,000 starter allowance foes at nine furlongs. The gelding makes his third start off the claim by the Kantarmaci barn that is having a strong meeting, hitting at a 26% clip. The gelding has a win and a second in four trips at this distance. He has landed in the exacta in each of his last six starts and looks as if he can do it again in this spot.

Shalako came with a good five wide rally to finish third beaten two lengths in the Bernardini last out here going 1 5/16 miles. He beat $25,000 starter handicap foes two back at 1 3/16 miles in gate to wire fashion. The fractions were slow that day and he basically just inherited the lead and it is not really his running style. Looks headed in the right direction for the Nevin barn.

WIN: #7 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 6,7 / 5,6,7,8
TRI: 6,7 / 5,6,7,8 / 3,5,6,7,8

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Gulfstream Park:

GP Race 13 The Pan American G2 (6:00 ET)
#9 Bigger Picture 6-1
#8 Soglio 3-1
#4 Canessar 7-2
#1 Focus Group 4-1

Analysis: Bigger Picture is coming off a sharp win at Sam Houston in the John Connolly (G3) at this distance off a two-month break. The gelding won just once in nine outings last year, winning the same race but was in the mix in some tough spots. He was third in the United Nations (G1), second in the Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) and was beaten just a neck two back in the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2). He owns a solid pace profile throughout and the 6-1 morning line looks generous, he likely takes more action.

Soglio is coming off a game second in the William McKnight (G3), beaten just a half-length for the top spot over yielding footing here. The winner of the race was Zulu Alpha, who came back to win the Mac Diamirda (G2) here in his next outing on March 2. Our second choice came out on the wrong ends of photos two and three back in the HA Jerkens at two miles on turf and the Red Smith three back at nine furlongs in a race taken off the turf. He has landed in the exacta in four of his five trips over the turf here.

WIN: #9 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 8,9 / 1,4,8,9
TRI: 8,9 / 1,4,8,9 / 1,3,4,8,9

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.

R2: #1 Timely Tradition 8-1
R3: #4 Watch My Dust 8-1
R4: #2 Deep Sea 10-1
R8: #1 King Koa 8-1
R9: #2 Mr. Brix 12-1

Good luck today!