Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:59 AM
At the Gate - Sunday
Three more Road to the Kentucky Derby points races are in the books leaving just three left, one overseas along with the Lexington (G3) and Arkansas Derby (G1) next Saturday.
The Cardinal Condition Stakes at Chelmsford is worth 30 Derby points to the winner. The Lexington winner gets 20 while the Arkansas Derby is worth 100 to the winner.
We saw some normalcy returns to the Derby preps with a pair of favorites winning along with a second choice.
The most impressive was Roadster, who rallied from the back of the pack to win the Santa Anita Derby (G1) over his stablemate Game Winner by a half-length.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s duo of Game Winner and Improbable have been the top two betting choices for the Kentucky Derby for most of the past two months but Roadster figures to take plenty of action in the next few weeks.
Tacitus followed up his win in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) with a victory in the Wood Memorial (G2) at Aqueduct by 1 ¼ lengths and will head to Louisville as a major player.
Vekoma got the job done as the favorite in the Toyota Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland, holding on to win by 3 ½ lengths. If you did not see the race go back and watch his unusual gait. He looked much like I do when running out of a bar at Happy Hour.
My Best Plays for Sunday includes my eight strongest plays from Aqueduct and Keeneland.
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Here is the opening race from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Md $25,000 (1:30 ET)
#5 Miss Flambe 6-1
#7 First Forever 6-5
#6 Wanna Be Regal 5-1
#1 Causin' Trouble 3-1
Analysis: Miss Flambe stalked the early pace, came with a five wide bid and finished up well for third last out in her first go off nearly a three-month break. The Englehart barn claimed her for $30,000 three back and she did not fire in her first go for the barn in the mud. She improved last out and now gets a jock upgrade to Carmouche. She is out of the stakes winner Peach Flambe ($430,832) who has dropped four winners, top earner stakes winner Berning Rose ($223,800).
First Forever tracked the early pace and could not go with the winner in the stretch in a runner up finish. She was 4 1/2 lengths clear of the rest of the field in the effort. She tires a mile for the first time and has enough pedigree, by Take Charge Indy out of a Colonel John mare, her first foal to race. The Rice barn is 30% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from sprint to route.
WIN: #5 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 5,7 / 1,5,6,7
TRI: 5,7 / 1,5,6,7 / 1,4,5,6,7
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 7 Alw $75,000N1X (4:42 ET)
#6 Morning Breeze 7-2
#1 All Systems Go 8-1
#5 Wegotoldyougotsold 6-5
#2 Tap Master 5-1
Analysis: Morning Breeze dueled for the early lead and battled on to prevail by a neck to beat state bred Alw-2 optional claimers last out. He steps outside of the state breds ranks here and his last try on the main track produced a career top when running second at this level last October at Belmont Park. The gelding owns a solid pace profile and looks like a good fit in this spot.
All Systems Go makes his first start since last April and his first on dirt. He graduated on turf in his debut at Gulfstream park last February where he was up front. Next in the Bridgetown he was a dozen lengths back early after breaking a beat slow and made up some ground late in a fifth-place finish, beaten 1 3/4 lengths for the top spot. The Terranova barn has won with 4 of his last 9 starters (with a +ROI) coming back off a +180-day layoff.
WIN: #6 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 1,6 / 1,2,5,6
TRI: 1,6 / 1,2,5,6 / 1,2,4,5,6
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Keeneland:
KEE Race 8 The Appalachian G2 (4:57 ET)
#9 Regal Glory 4-1
#4 The Mackem Bullet 6-1
#1 Clause 3-1
#11 Primela 12-1
Analysis: Regal Glory is one of two in here sent out by the Chad Brown barn. The filly came off nearly a three month break in the Sweet Chant (G3) at Gulfstream park where she ran a good second. She won her first two starts including the Stewart Manor at the Big A, both at six furlongs. She is bred to handle more ground, by Animal Kingdom out of the stakes winner Mary's Follies ($338,889) who has dropped two other winners including stakes winner Night Prowler ($475,682). She looks capable of moving forward off her last effort which would make her tough in this spot.
The Mackem Bullet stalked the early pace and finished evenly in a fourth-place finish in the John Battaglia on poly. The winner Somelikeithotbrown came back to win the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) in his next outing. The Ward trainee missed winning the Group 1 Cheverly park Stakes at Newmarket last fall at six furlongs by just a neck. The barn is 24% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from synth to turf. Like the surface switch here and the 6-1 morning line looks fair enough.
WIN: #9 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 4,9 / 1,4,9,11
TRI: 4,9 / 1,4,8,11 / 1,4,5,9,11
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: #7 Hampton Point 15-1
R5: #1 Awesome Saturday 10-1
R6: #5 Romantic Pursuit 8-1
R7: #1 All Systems Go 8-1
R8: #7 Keota 12-1
R9: #7 Vinda Machine 12-1
Good luck today!