At the Gate – Saturday

It’s last call for the Kentucky Derby (G1) this afternoon, with the final two Road to the Kentucky Derby points races on tap.
The $200,000 Lexington offers up 20-8-4-2 points and there are several runners in the field that are looking to add to their totals and make it into the Kentucky Derby field.
Anothertwistafate sits with 30 points and needs to win to stamp his ticket to Louisville. A runner up finish and eight points might get him in, but it will be close. Right now the cut off is at 37.5 points and there are 170 more points being divvied up at Oaklawn Park.
The $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) is the final prep that offers 100-40-20-10 Derby points. If a couple of runners without any points complete the exacta, several top horses could find themselves on the outside looking in.
Among those is Omaha Beach, who is in 19th place with 37.5 points He needs to pick up some points this afternoon to assure he makes the Derby field.
For the likely favorite Improbable, he must finish in the top three places to earn his ticket to the Run for the Roses.
The colt was beaten by a neck in the Rebel (G2) but remains one of the top three betting choices in early Kentucky Derby wagering.
If he gets a tough trip or has an off day, plenty of future tickets are going to be ripped to shreds later today.
My Best Plays for Saturday includes my 11 strongest plays from Aqueduct, Keeneland and Oaklawn Park.
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Here is the opening race from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 OClm $62,500N2X (1:30 ET)
#4 Driven to Compete   3-1
#3 Timber Ghost   7-5
#2 Exulting   2-1
#1 Roaming Union   5-1
Analysis: Driven to Compete dueled for the early lead and weakened in the stretch to finish third last out at Philly at this level. Her first two career wins came at Gulfstream Park at a one turn mile and the gelding should appreciate the extra ground and perhaps a more moderate pace here as there is not much early speed in this spot. The Pletcher barn is 21% winners moving runners from sprint to route. Looks capable of moving forward in his second start off the bench.
Timber Ghost came off a four month break with a good second last out. The winner got the jump on him going around the far turn and he finished well, coming up 1 1/4 lengths shy of the winner. He tires a mile for the first time but has plenty of pedigree to handle the one mile. The Jerkens barn is 34% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from sprint to route. He reunites with Junior who was board for his maiden score.
WIN: #4 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 4 / 2,3
TRI: no play
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 The Top Flight Inv. (5:21 ET)
#5 My Miss Lilly   7-2
#6 Forever Liesl   2-1
#4 Frostie Anne   5-2
#3 Jump Ruler    9-2
Analysis: My Miss Lilly came off a 7 1/2-month layoff last out with a decent third against Alw-2 optional claimers going a one turn mile at Gulfstream Park. That should set her up for a good effort here. She won the Gazelle (G2) over the main track here at nine furlongs last April. She has worked steadily since her return effort and should move forward enough off her last start to beat this compact group.
Forever Liesl tracked the early pace in the slop and was no match for the top pair last out in a third-place finish in the Heavenly Prize last out here at a mile. She won the Ladies Handicap two back here in the slop at nine furlongs, earning a career top speed fig. The stretch back out to today's distance suits her. She seldom runs a bad one, landing in the money in 14 of her 17 career starts.
WIN: #5 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 5,6 / 4,5,6
TRI: no play
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Keeneland:
KEE Race 9 The Lexington G3 (5:34 ET)
#4 Anothertwistafate   2-1
#9 Zenden   6-1
#3 Sueno   5-1
#5 Harvey Wallbanger   7-2
Analysis: Anothertwistafate tracked the early pace while in between foes, had to take back and wait for some running room briefly and finished up well when clear to just miss by a neck in the Sunland Derby (G3), his first route on dirt. He won the El Camino real Derby two back at Golden Gate Fields on the fake stuff. A cleaner trip makes him tough to beat in this spot. He picks up Castellano who has been on fire at the meeting.
Zenden set the early fractions and weakened to finish fourth last out in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) in his first start around two turns. The winner Tacitus came back to win the Wood Memorial (G2) at Aqueduct in his next outing on April 6. The coot makes his third start of his current form cycle and he has shown improvement with each outing for the Barboza barn. Worth tossing in the mix here if he goes off near his 6-1 morning line.
WIN: #4 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 4,9 / 3,4,5,9
TRI: 4,9 / 3,4,5,9 / 3,4,5,7,9
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Oaklawn Park:
OP Race 11 The Arkansas Derby G1 (6:43 CT)
#7 Galilean   10-1
#1 Improbable   8-5
#3 Omaha Beach   2-1
#6 Gray Attempt    8-1
Analysis: Galilean takes the blinkers off after pressing the early pace down along the inside and was unable to go with Long Range Toddy and Improbable late, checking in third in the Rebel (G2) while beaten 2 ½ lengths.  The colt won three of his first four starts winning a restricted stake in his debut and beating Cal breds two and three back. The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee was a $600,000 purchase, by Uncle Mo out of an El Prado mare that should be able to handle nine furlongs and he is bred to like a wet track. He makes his third start of his current form cycle and looks as if he still has some upside. The extra ground and likelihood of a wet track makes this guy a player here at a decent price. Three of the last four winners of this race exited the Rebel.
Improbable is going to need to fire to get into the Kentucky Derby field as he is sitting with just 25 points. He beat our top pick last out in the Rebel where he stalked the early pace, headed for home tight the lead and got caught by Long Range Toddy in the final jumps. It appeared he may have idled a bit when he got the lead and now Baffert adds blinkers on this guy here. The barn is 40% winners (with a +ROI) when adding the hood. He won his first three starts last year and may have needed his last as he was coming off a three-month break. An off track likely would be a plus for this colt. He is by City Zip out of a A.P. Indy mare.
Omaha Beach took five tries to finally break his maiden and was sent off at 9-2 in the Rebel where he battled for the early lead, opened up and just held on to win by a nose over Game Winner. The barn always touted this colt as a good one and his first three starts came on turf last year and he missed by a nose and a neck in his second and third career outings. The colt owns a solid pace profile throughout and he showed he can handle a wet track, breaking his maiden in the slop at seven furlongs at Santa Anita by nine lengths. He is bred to like the off going, by War Front out of a Seeking the Gold mare that has dropped three other winners including multiple stakes winner Take Charge Brandi ($1.69 million). He is a legit threat here, but his price is likely going to be on the short side.
WIN: #7 to win at 6-1 or better.
EX: 1,7 / 1,3,6,7
TRI: 1,7 / 1,3,6,7 / 1,3,6,7,8
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.
R4: #4 Morgantown   8-1
R5: #3 Timely Tradition   8-1
Good luck today!