Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:57 AM

At the Gate - Sunday

We have another outstanding 11-race card at Saratoga for Sunday featuring the $1 million Saratoga Derby Invitational which drew a wide-open field of 11 three-year-olds that will go 1 3/16 miles on turf.

Five of the 11 exit the Belmont Derby, which was the first jewel of the Turf Triple which was won by 20-1 longshot Henley’s Joy.

Trainer Chad Brown seems to win just about every turf stake at the Spa and he will be well armed with Rockemperor and Digital Age, who drew poorly in the Belmont Derby and still ran well to finish third and fourth respectively.

Also on the card today is the $200,000 Adirondack (G2) for two-year-old fillies with a field of eight going 6 ½ furlongs on the main track. The lone stakes winner in the field is Magic Dance, who won the Debutante at Churchill Downs in her last start. The Steve Asmussen trainee is the 7-5 morning line favorite.

The $200,000 Waya (G3) drew a field of six fillies and mares going 1 ½ miles on turf. Santa Monica is the even money favorite for Brown. She won the Sheepshead Bay (G2) in her last outing and looks really tough.

The stakes action starts with the $100,000 John Morrissey for state breds, a race that got postponed last week. Seven will go to the post led by Affirmed Success runner up Eye Luv Lulu.

My Best Plays for Sunday includes my nine strongest plays from Saratoga and Del Mar.

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

SAR Race 1 Md Sp Wt (1:00 ET)
#1 Pure Wow 7-2
#7 Weekend Fun 3-1
#4 Daphne Moon 2-1
#5 Lucky Dime 4-1

Analysis: Pure Wow dueled for the early lead and finished gamely in a close up third in her debut here on July 12, sent off at 9-1 in a field of eight. She gets a jock upgrade here to Rosario and with the rail draw figures to be sent. She is out of a stakes placed Mineshaft mare that has dropped one other foals to race, stakes winner Once On Whiskey ($158,580). She is in good hands with the Terranova barn that is 25% winners with second out maidens.

Weekend Fun tracked the early pace and did not have enough punch left late in a third-place finish at Churchill Downs, beaten 3 1/4 lengths. She has had three local drills here for Asmussen who is 21% winners with second out maidens. She figures to move forward with a race under her belt. She is by More Than Ready out of a Pleasantly Perfect mare and was a $200,000 purchase. The mare has dropped one other foal to race, no winners to date.

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

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:

SAR Race 9 The Saratoga Derby (5:48 ET)
#8 Digital Age 9-2
#4 Rockemperor 7-2
#10 Mohawk 10-1
#9 Seismic Wave 6-1

Analysis: Digital Age drew a tough post in the Belmont Derby (G1), settled in along the inside at the rear of the field and came with a four-wide run to rally for fourth, beaten 2 ½ lengths for the top spot. The colt had won his first three career starts, taking the Columbia in his stakes debut at Tampa Bay Downs and then winning the American Turf (G2) at Churchill Downs. He draws better today and should get some pace in front of him. He has a solid turf pedigree, by Invincible Spirit and the first foal to race out of a Lemon Drop Kid mare. He has just four starts under his belt and looks as if he still has some upside.

Rockemperor is also sent out by Brown, had a tough post in the Belmont Derby and came with a good late rally to finish third in his U.S. debut and first start for the barn. Previously trained by Simone Brogi overseas, this guy was sixth in the Prix du Jockey Club (G1) at Chantilly and missed in the Prix la Force (G3) three back by just a neck. The colt has had two good morning works since his last outing and looks likely to move forward off his U.S. debut. The colt is by Holy Roman Emperor out of a stakes placed

Muhtathir mare. The colt gives Brown a strong one-two punch in this spot.
Mohawk makes his U.S. debut here for the O’Brien barn. The colt won the Meld Stakes (G3) at Leopardstown going nine furlongs in his last outing. He won the Royal Lodge Stakes (G2) last September at Newmarket. The colt appears to be the best shot of the two O’Brien runners, Cape of Good Hope coming up short in an eighth-place finish in the Belmont Derby. The colt is out of the stakes winner Empowering ($151,953).

WIN: #8 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 4,8 / 4,8,9,10
TRI: 4,8 / 4,8,9,10 / 3,4,8,9,10

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Del Mar:

DMR Race 7 The La Jolla Hcp G3 (5:17 PT)
#5 Stubbins 4-1
#1 Neptune's Storm 2-1
#2 Kingly 6-1
#6 Jasikan 5-2

Analysis: Stubbins broke outward coming out of the gate, stalked the early pace and finished gamely in a third-place finish against $100,000 optional claimers going five furlongs on turf. The outing was his first start since running sixth in the UAE Derby (G2) on dirt. The colt broke his maiden and passed his first allowance condition going 6 1/2 on the downhill turf at Santa Anita. He won the Pasadena in the slop going a mile and sure looks as if he can handle going long on turf. He should be tighter second off a four-month break here for the O'Neill barn that is having a solid meeting.

Neptune's Storm has won four of his six starts on turf and comes in here off back to back stakes wins at Santa Anita, winning the Singletary at a mile and the Cinema last out at nine furlongs. The colt owns a solid pace profile throughout and should be right in the mix early here.

WIN: #5 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 1,5 / 1,2,5,6
TRI: 1,5 / 1,2,5,6 / 1,2,3,5,6

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.

R2: #1 Orpheus 8-1
R5: #3 Theodora B. 10-1
R8: #10 Rumor Driven 8-1
R8: #6 Discreet Image 12-1
R9: #10 Mohawk 10-1
R10: #1 Big Q 20-1
R11: #9 Cardiff Cay 12-1

Good luck today!

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