At the Gate – Sunday

Omaha Beach won the Arkansas Derby (G1) yesterday at Oaklawn Park in impressive style locking in his spot for the Kentucky Derby (G1) on the first Saturday of May.

Improbable, one of the early betting favorites for the Kentucky Derby stamped his ticket to Louisville with a runner up finish, beaten a length. The colt came into the race with 25 points, and he earned 40 which moved him up to 11th in the Derby points standing with 65.

Anothertwistafate needed to win the Lexington (G3) at Keeneland but came up short, running second and picking up eight points. That puts him at 38 points, and he is now sitting in 23rd place in the point standings and will need some defections to get into the Derby field.

The cut off to get into the field is 40 points, with the Todd Pletcher trained Spinoff the last Derby horse in. Next in line is Bodexpress, who also has 40 points but has less non-restricted stakes earnings. Signalman is next I line if there are defections with 38 points.

Throughout this Derby trail I just did not see a performance that stands out, and I am not even sure who will actually go off as the betting favorite on the first Saturday of May.

Among the Baffert trio, Roadster could end up the favorite. There are still many that like Game Winner despite his two losses and Improbable could easily move forward off his runner up finish yesterday.

Omaha Beach looks legit, Maximum Security will get some action, and Tacitus sure looked good winning the Wood Memorial (G2) although the race has not produced much in the last few years.

At least we have three weeks to figure it out

My Best Plays for Sunday includes my seven 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 Sp Wt (1:30 ET)
#4 Red Zinger 3-1
#2 Fort Worth 2-5
#1 Papa Jim 6-1
#6 He'smyluckyfellow 20-1

Analysis: Red Zinger makes his second start off the bench after just missed last out. The colt stalked the early pace and finished gamely to miss by just a neck while six clear of the rest of the field. He was making his first start off a seven-month layoff. Contessa hist at a 27% clip (with a +ROI) with runners making their second start off a +180-day layoff. Blinkers are added to the mix here and he may move forward enough to beat the chalk in here. The $170,000 purchase is out of the stakes winner Stowe White ($207,774) who has dropped two other runners with one winner.

Fort Worth was bounced around coming out of the gate, tracked the early pace and was no match for the top pair in a third-place finish, getting bet down to the chalk. The $550,000 Ocala purchase is by City Zip out of a stakes placed Indian Charlie mare that has dropped two other foals tor ace with one winner.

WIN: #4 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 2,4 / 1,2,4
TRI: no play

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 8 The Mizdirection (5:15 ET)
#6 Fashion Faux Pas 12-1
#9 Queen of Bermuda 5-2
#1 Chelsea Cloisters 9-5
#3 Golconda 5-1

Analysis: Fashion Faux Pas set the early fractions and faded to finish a well beaten ninth last out at Gulfstream Park in the Forward Gal (G3) going seven furlongs on the main track. She broke her maiden in her second career start gate to wire at Laurel Park and then came right back to win the Sandpiper at Tampa Bay Downs in the slop. This is her first go on turf. She is out of an Arch mare that ash dropped four other winners and two have won on turf. The Delacour barn is 18% winners moving runners from dirt to turf. If she takes to the surface as I think she will she is going to be in the mix at a generous price.

Queen of Bermuda was fourth in her U.S. debut in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint against the boys on yielding footing. She stalked the early pace while wide, had to check and steady when caught in tight on the far turn, came eight wide and finished up ell. She adds lasix here for the Motion barn that is 12% winners with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. She won a Group 3 at Ayr last September and has landed in the exacta in 7 of her first 10 starters overseas. She has shown she can handle ground with some give to it which we might see today.

WIN: #6 to win at 8-1 or better.
EX: 6,9 / 1,3,6,9
TRI: 6,9 / 1,3,6,9 / 1,3,6,7,9

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Keeneland:

KEE Race 8 Alw $81,000N1X (4:57 ET)
#5 Aife 7-2
#4 Saracosa 4-1
#2 Support 3-1
#3 Foxtail 7-2

Analysis: Aife was bumped coming out of the gate, stalked the early pace, was bumped again at the 3/16's and made up some ground late to finish third last out at Fair Grounds. Two back the mare was a game second behind Lady Cleopatra, who came back to beat $10,000 starter allowance foes and was one of three to exit that race to win next out. The mare was a game second three back in her lone go over a wet track and she is bred top and bottom to handle the off going.

Saracosa tracked thee early pace, drifted outward a few paths and then finished up well while unable to get to the winner in a runner up finish at Gulfstream Park. It was her first go off a 4 1/2-month break. She figures to move forward off that effort for the Walsh barn and she is bred to like a wet track.

WIN: #5 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 4,5 / 2,3,4,5
TRI: 4,5 / 2,3,4,5 / 2,3,4,5,7

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: #6 He’smyluckyfellow 20-1
R3: #2 Conquest Hardcandy 8-1
R3: #3 Silent Sonet 12-1
R4: #5 Mass Appeal 12-1
R5: #3 Twelthofneverland 8-1
R6: #5 Awesome Adversary 8-1
R7: #1 Swiping Dan 15-1
R8: #6 Fashion Faux Pas 12-1

Good luck today!