At the Gate – Sunday

Maximum Security took the field gate to wire but it was Country House that was adorned with the roses after a 22-minute delay with a jockey objection.

Luis Saez aboard Maximum Security interfered with Will at War at the top of the stretch, nearing causing the colt with Tyler Gaffalione to go down. They dropped back and finished eighth.

It as an excruciating long delay with over 100,00 standing at Churchill Downs staring at the big television monitor. No winner in the history of the race have been taken down for interference.

It was the second choice in the wagering versus a 65-1 longshot.

I had no dog in the fight and as my phone lit up. All I could think about is how these three stewards at Churchill Downs were going to get safely to their car, no matter what the decision.

Watching the replay a dozen times there definitely was interference and it most likely cost War at Will a placing. However, it did not seem to bother Country House at all, and Maximum Security was as game as could be and was the best horse in the race.

I was pretty sure the stewards would take the easy way out and let the results stand, but they decided to make a disquification.

Country House was elevated to first and paid $132.40 and Code of Honor was placed second, completing a $2 exacta that paid $3,009.60. Tacitus was placed third and the $1 trifecta returned $11,475.30.

Our day started off much like the day ended for Luis Saez, not very good. However, we made a good late rally, ending up with five recommended exactas on the day.

We missed a good one in the opener when my second choice got nipped by a nose to my fourth choice. We got on the board in the fifth race with Hungry Kitten ($12.80) getting home as my top pick, along with the exacta ($55.40).

Mitole and Bobby’s Wicked One, my top pair combined for a $54.00 exacta in the eighth. We missed the exacta in the ninth by ¾ of a length unless you boxed my top three, then you were rewarded with $74.60.

Qurbaan was my top pick in the 11th at 13-1 and got run down by my second choice Bricks and Mortar, the recommended exacta paying $46.60.

Always stay around for the two races at the Derby. I always seem to hit those races for some reason.

In the 13th Limonite won as my top pick paying $13.20 and we had the recommended exacta that paid $60.20.

Rotation got home as my top pick in the nightcap (after the scratch of Ranger Up), paying $9.00 and topping a $2 recommended exacta that paid $33.00.

The final pair of races made up a little for whiffing on the Derby.

My Best Plays for Sunday includes my eight strongest plays from Belmont Park and Santa Anita.

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Here is the opening race from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:

BEL Race 1 Clm $14,000N3L (1:30 ET)
#2 Admiral Blue 5-2
#3 Call Me 8-5
#1 Sandy Lane 7-2
#5 Raging Fire 2-1

Analysis: Admiral Blue
did not fire his best last out in a fifth-place finish going a mile. Two back against $25,000 non-winners of three in his first go off the claim by Cannizzo he ran second to a seven-length winner in the slop. He has landed in the exacta in 4 of his 7 trips over a wet track. He should catch an off track today and looking for him to bounce back with a better effort here.

Call Me prompted the early pace, grabbed a short lead with a furlong to go and could not go with the top pair late in a third-place finish at this level. The runner up Big Muddy came back to beat $25,000 non-winners of three in his next start on April 16 at Philly. This guy was on slop in his two previous start6s, both fourth place finishes and he ran third in the mud a at the Big A last December. He looks headed in the right direction for an underrated barn that claimed him for $14,000 four back.

WIN: #2 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 2 / 1,3
TRI: no play

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:

BEL Race 7 Alw $66,000N1X (4:45 ET)
#9 Big Gemmy 4-1
#4 Whistling Birds 8-1
#3 Doups Point 6-1
#1 Ro Bear 7-2

Analysis: Big Gemmy
chased the early pace while down along the 2-3 paths and could not match strides late with the winner in a runner up finish last out going seven furlongs. The racing strip was playing to runners in the outer paths that day. She makes her second start since landing in NY with Rice and now stretches back out to a route. The barn is 30% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from sprint to route. The colt ran a god second in the slop in his lone go over a wet track and he is bred to handle the off going.

Whistling Birds graduated two back at the Big A against state breds in his fourth career start. He faced Alw-1 optional claimers at Philly where he based last out, dueling for the early lead and no match for a 7 1/4 length winner while 3 1/4 lengths clear of the rest of the field. He is back with state breds here and while he did not run much in the mud, that outing was his debut and this guy has a strong off track pedigree, by Jimmy Creed out of an Unbridled mare.

WIN: #9 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 4,9 / 1,3,4,9
TRI: 4,9 / 1,3,4,9 / 1,3,4,5,9

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Santa Anita:

SA Race 7 OClm $62,500N2X (4:03 PT)
#8 Siberian Iris 6-1
#5 Mirth 4-1
#6 Meal Ticket 5-2
#9 Ippodamia's Girl 15-1

Analysis: Siberian Iris
had trouble getting b her first allowance condition, finally getting the job done three back on the turf here at a mile. She came back to run a game second in the Red Carpet (G3) in her following start, then regressed last out in a seventh-place finish but she was only beaten four lengths and the winner, and third place finisher came out of that race to win next out. She returns off a three-month refreshing here for the Mandella barn an she sports a couple of bullet works.

Mirth was the beaten chalk last out at this level where she stalked the early pace and had to settle for third behind a 5 1/4 length winner. She passed her first allowance condition at nine furlongs, but she may appreciate the cut back to a mile here. She has won four of her six starts on turf and her best puts her right in the mix in this spot.

WIN: #8 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 5,8 / 5,6,8,9
TRI: 5,8 / 5,6,8,9 / 2,5,6,8,9

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.

Belmont Park
R4: #11 Magic Fairy 10-1
R5: #2 Distorted News 15-1
R7: #4 Whistling Birds 8-1
R8: #3 Pink Sands 8-1
R8: #4 Frostie Anne 12-1
R9: #6 Gottahaveaholiday 8-1

Good luck today!