Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:59 AM

At the Gate - Sunday

Just when I think I might have a handle on who the top contenders for the Kentucky Derby (G1) are, along comes a former $16,000 claimer who wins the $1 million Florida Derby (G1).

Yes, the Jason Servis trained Maximum Security made his debut on Dec.20 for $16,000 where he trounced the field by 9 ¾ lengths. He then won a pair of starter optional claimers by 6 ½ lengths and 18 ¼ lengths.

The colt was sent off at 9-2 yesterday, was able to set comfortable early fractions of 24.42 and 48.98 and took the field gate to wire, returning $11.60.

My top pick was Hidden Scroll, who got bet down to 9-5, an underlay. The colt was eager to go, tucked down along the inside tracking the early pace and had no response when they turned for home, fading to finish sixth.

The Bill Mott trainee was fourth in the Fountain of Youth (G2) after being part of a very fast early pace duel and everyone including me thought he would bounce back with a big effort and go to Louisville as one of the Derby favorites. Now, he won’t even get into the field.

Code of Honor was the winner of the Fountain of Youth and he made a decent late rally to finish third, while the other late runner in the field, Bourbon War checked in fourth. Neither got the early pace duel they needed.

We have had five consecutive favorites win the Kentucky Derby and the final preps were for the most part formful. This year has been different, but we have the Blue Grass, Santa Anita Derby and Wood Memorial next Saturday, so perhaps the Derby picture will become clearer next week.

Now is the perfect time to purchase my Monthly Package for just $99.95. It gives you a month of Aqueduct daily and Best Plays Report each Saturday and Sunday.

To purchase my Aqueduct and Best Plays Reports for Sunday click here .

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

AQU Race 1 Clm $12,500 (1:30 ET)
#1 Elizabeth Nicole 6-5
#5 Yourcreditisgood 5-1
#4 Moondance Joy 7-5
#3 Ribbonite 10-1

Analysis: Elizabeth Nicole dueled for the early lead, opened up and could not go with the winner in the stretch in a runner up finish last out at this level over a wet track. She was five lengths clear of the rest of the field in the effort. She draws the rail and owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers. The Contessa trainee should be able to shake loose early from these four foes. The day starts chalky.

Yourcreditisgood cuts back from a mile where over a sloppy track she dueled for the early lead and faded to finish a well beaten ninth. It was her first go off a 6 1/2-month layoff for the Englehart barn. She has landed in the money in 8 off 11 trips at today's distance. She figures to be tighter second off the bench here.

WIN: #1 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 1 / 4,5
TRI: no play

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 8 The Maddie May (5:21 ET)
#4 Shelley Ann 3-1
#8 Flush 5-1
#5 Elegant Zip 7-2
#7 Cheatham Hill 8-1

Analysis: Shelley Ann prompted the early pace and drew clear late to beat state bred Alw-1 optional claimers in a sharp effort. Two back in the mud she set the early fractions and could not go with the winner in a runner up finish. The winner Espresso Shot came back to win the Busher in her next outing on March 9. She owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers and showed two back she can handle a wet track which we might see today.

Flush was a much the best maiden winner two back in her second career start and then came back with a third last out in the state bred Franklin Square in her first start against winners. She finished behind a couple of these in her debut three back but looks capable of turning the tables here. She has enough pedigree to handle her first trip at a mile and a wet track if we get it. She is by Violence out of a Menifee mare. She figures to rebound with a better effort in this spot.

WIN: #4 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 4,8 / 4,5,7,8
TRI: 4,8 / 4,5,7,8 / 2,4,5,7,8

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

GP Race 9 OClm $20,000SAL (5:10 ET)
#2 Delicious Pursuit 6-1
#5 Cordele 7-5
#3 Awesomedensome 4-1
#1 Summer French 10-1

Analysis: Delicious Pursuit broke outward coming out of the gate, prompted the early pace and faded to finish a well beaten ninth last out behind the chalk in here. She was a good second behind a repeat winner two back in the slop and three back was second and placed first over the grass here against similar company. She has won 4 of 11 on turf and she is better than she showed last out. She gets a more aggressive eider in Saez and looking for her to bounce back at a decent price here.

Cordele has crossed the wire first in her last three trips on turf, getting DQ'd three back for interference. She got pace to run at last out and not sure she is going to see that type of pace in this spot. If she works out a trip she will be tough but her price is going to be on the short side.

WIN: #2 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 2,5 / 1,2,3,5
TRI: 2,5 / 1,2,3,5 / 1,2,3,5,6

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.

R1: #3 Ribbonite 10-1
R3: #5 Bestinthebusiness 8-1
R4: #1 Seed Money 8-1
R6: #6 Prince Halo 10-1
R6: #1 Wilson’s Holiday 15-1
R8: #7 Cheatham Hill 8-1
R9: #10 Quietude 12-1

Good luck today!

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