Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:59 AM
At the Gate - Friday
The final two Road to the Kentucky Derby points races are coming up on Saturday—the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park and the $200,000 Lexington (G3) at Keeneland.
There is a difference in points. The Arkansas Derby offers up 100-40-20-10 points while the Lexington top four will earn 20-8-4-2 points.
The Arkansas Derby drew a field of 11 led by the Bob Baffert trained Improbable, the 8-5 morning line favorite. The colt was beaten a neck in the Rebel (G2) in his last outing and is currently sitting with 25 Derby points, not enough to draw into the field.
Improbable has bene one of the top three early betting choices for the Kentucky Derby, currently the second choice at +800, but he needs points.
A top three finish stamps his ticket to Louisville and a fourth would put him right on the bubble.
His biggest threats are Omaha Beach and Long Range Toddy, who each won a division of the split Rebel.
The Lexington drew a field of 10. The 2-1 morning line favorite is Anotehrtwistafate, who was beaten by a neck in the Sunland Derby (G3) in his last start.
The colt is in 23rd in the Road to the Kentucky Derby points stands with 30. A win and he is in, a runner up finish would put him right at the cutoff point.
As of now there are 19 spots available as Master Fencer won the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby points race. Sitting in 19th right now with 37.5 points is Omaha Beach.
Sueno comes into the Lexington with 28 points, placing him 25th in the point standings. Harvey Wallbanger, who won the Holy Bull (G2) and then was eighth in the Florida Derby has 10 points, placing him 29th in the standings.
I will have selections for the Derby prep races in Saturday’s Best Plays Report.
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Here is the opening race from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Alw $75,000N1X (1:30 ET)
#5 Free Kitty 5-2
#4 No Hayne No Gayne 6-5
#1 Out of Orbit 3-1
#2 Pink Twist 6-1
Analysis: Free Kitty stalked the early pace, made a good middle move to get to the front and could not match strides late with the winner in a runner up finish at this level. The mare was nearly four lengths clear of the rest of the field in the effort. Two back in her first start off the claim by the RRod barn she beat $50,000 starter allowance foes on the stretch out from six furlongs. She owns a solid pace profile throughout and looks capable of handling these although she has a habit of landing in the bottom half of the exacta.
No Hayne No Gayne tracked the early pace and weakened to finish fourth last out in the state bred Biogios Rose. The winner of that race was Frostie Anne, who came back to beat $16,000 starter allowance foes in her next outing on March 1. Two back the Asmussen trainee rolled over state bred Alw-2 optional claimers by 7 3/4 lengths with a career top speed fig. She is the logical one to beat but at a light price.
WIN: #5 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 4,5 / 1,4,5
TRI: no play
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 7 Clm $14,000N3L (4:42 ET)
#6 Fillet of Sole 3-1
#7 Admiral Blue 5-1
#5 Big Muddy 2-1
#2 Regal Quality 8-1
Analysis: Fillet of Sole cuts back from nine furlongs where he prompted the early pace and weakened in the stretch to finish fourth at this level. The winner Never Nevermore came back to beat allowance foes at Laurel Park in his next outing on April 5. Two back our top pick checked in fourth against $40,000 non-winners of three with the top trio in that race all coming back to win next out. Servis is off to a slow start at the meeting here going 1 for 10 but that should turn around soon.
Admiral Blue tracked the early pace and was no match for a seven-length winner in a runner up finish against $25,000 non-winners of three in his first start off the claim by the Cannizzo barn. He drops in for $14,000 here and Carmouche sticks. He has landed in the money in his last four starts and has a habit of only getting minor shares but willing to give him one more shot here as this is not a tough looking spot.
WIN: #6 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 6,7 / 2,5,6,7
TRI: 6,7 / 2,5,6,7 / 1,2,5,6,7
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 Harlan’s Harmony 12-1
R4: #4 Friendship Seven 12-1
R5: #4 El Hermanio 8-1
R5: #8 Beas Mafia 12-1
R7: #2 Regal Quality 8-1
R8: #7 Riken 12-1
R9: #9 It’s a Lovely Day 8-1
Good luck today!