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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:59 PM

At the Gate - Wednesday

One of the biggest questions going into this year’s Kentucky Derby (G1) was answered yesterday. Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith has chosen to ride Omaha Beach in the Run for the Roses.

Omaha Beach won the Arkansas Derby (G1) on Saturday at Oaklawn Park, backing up his victory in the Rebel (G2) in his previous start, which was his stakes debut.

Smith was also the jockey on Roadster for trainer Bob Baffert. The colt won the Santa Anita Derby (G1) on April 5.

Omaha Beach has dropped to +700 in early betting odds, the second choice in the betting behind Baffert’s Game Winner at +600. Roadster is now the third choice at +800.

Smith’s departure on Roadster opened up the mount, and the beneficiary was Florent Geroux.

One other jockey announcement made yesterday was Manny Franco getting the call on Louisiana Derby (G2) winner Spinoff (+3300).

Next in line in early Derby betting at [...] are Improbable at +900, Maximum Security at +1000 and Tacitus at +1200.

Depending on how the top contenders work the next couple of weeks, any of the top four could end up the betting favorite by the time they load them in the starting gate on the first Saturday of May.

If I had to guess right now, the addition of Smith on Omaha Beach might be enough to sway horseplayers enough to make him the favorite. Game Winner likely will be the first or second choice. Roadster gets the nod over Improbable for third choice.

While favorites have fared well in the race in recent years, this year’s edition certainly has the feel of a wide-open affair in which a case could be made for nearly half the field.

Now the hard part starts. I have just 17 days to come up with the winner.

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

To purchase my Aqueduct Report for Wednesday click here .

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)

7 Tesorina 4-1

1 Micromillion / 1a Mo Mystery 5-2

3 Lady Fatima 10-1

8 Tote Board 12-1

Analysis: Tesorina makes her debut for the Ward barn and the trainer stated he plans on scratching Lady Delaware which will likely make our top pick much lower than the 4-1 morning line. She is by American Pharoah who picked up his first winner overseas. The filly is out of the stakes winner Nonsuch Bay (747,078) who has dropped six runners with a pair of winners. Solid works and this barn has them ready to go, hitting at a 32% clip with first timers.

Pletcher sends out a pair of firsters and Mo Mystery may be the one. She is by Uncle Mo out of a Tale of the Cat mare, her first foal to race. The barn hits at a 23% clip with first timers. Solid looking works at Palm Beach Downs in Florida. Entrymate Micromillion is a $30,000 purchase. She is by Micromanage out of a Changeintheweather mare that has dropped two foals to race with one winner.

WIN: #7 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 1,7 / 1,3,7,8
TRI: 1,7 / 1,3,7,8 / 1,2,3,7,8

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 7 OClm $40,000N2X (4:42 ET)

2 Psychic Energy 10-1

1 We Should Talk / 1a Dowse's Beach 1-1

3 Shiraz 9-2

4 Catch a Cab 6-1

Analysis: Psychic Energy ships in from Fair Grounds where last out the gelding was bumped coming out of the gate, stalked the early pace and made a mild late rally to finish third against Alw-1 foes. He is back in with state breds here and he won at this level last April here on the turf. He picks up Castellano who has been on fire at Keeneland. Looks like the best shot of beating the chalky entry.

Dowse's Beach returns from Florida where last out the gelding tracked the early pace and weakened to finish sixth at even money against Alw-2 optional claimers. He ran huge here three back on yielding ground against optional claimers, taking the field gate to wire. He fits well here back with state breds. Entrymate We Should Talk got up to beat state bred $25,000 claimers last out in the slop. He was claimed out of the race by the Abreu barn that is 24% winners (with a +ROI) first off the claim. Just two tries on turf but he passed his first start bred condition on the weeds.

WIN: #2 to win at 6-1 or better.
EX: 1,2 / 1,2,3,4
TRI: 1,2 / 1,2,3,4 / 1,2,3,4,7

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: #3 Lady Fatima 10-1
R1: #8 Tote Board 12-1
R2: #6 Quintarelli 12-1
R4: #3 Candy for All 10-1
R6: #8 Inalienable Right 8-1
R6: #3 Hoard 8-1
R7: #2 Psychic Energy 10-1
R9: #3 Peggy Sue 12-1

Good luck today!

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