At the Gate – Sunday

We had a good day on Saturday at the Spa highlighted by our top pick Code of Honor getting home to win the Travers (G1) and return $10.80.

The colt came with a good late rally under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez to get the job done over Tacitus, the $2 recommended exacta returning a solid $37.00.

The stakes action started with Mitole ($3.80) winning in the Forego (G1) as my top pick, with the $2 recommended exacta with my second choice Firenze Fire paying $17.40.

My top pick Dawn the Destroyer, bet down from her 15-1 morning line to 10-1 with a couple of scratches made a good late rally but had to settle for the runner up spot behind the favorite Come Dancing in the Ballerina (G1). The winner paid $3.50.

In the Allen Jerkens (G1) my top pick Hog Creek Hustle was sent off at 11-1 but was beaten the slimmest of noses by Mind Control. That was our toughest beat of the day. The big chalk Shancelot checked in third.

Significant Form upset the Ballston Spa (G2) as our top pick, returning $16.60 for the win. Indian Blessing ran second, edging our fourth choice Starship Jubilee by a neck which cost us the exacta.

My top pick in the Personal Ensign was Elate and she got nailed by Midnight Bisou at the wire, the $2 recommended exacta coming back at an unsatisfying $11.40.

Sadler’s Joy had to settle for second as my top pick in the Sword Dancer (G1). My third choice Annals of Time got the job done as the betting favorite, paying $7.10, the $2 exacta returning $43.00.

It was a long day but the past few days at the Spa have been profitable and we will try to keep it going this afternoon.

My Best Plays Report 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)
#2 Wicked Whisper 8-5
#4 Sea of Blue 3-1
#3 Strike Magic 6-1
#7 Stop Shoppin Tammy 8-1

Analysis: Wicked Whisper
is a $500,000 Keeneland purchase making her debut for the Asmussen barn that is 22% winners (with a +ROI) with first timers. The barn is 3 for 10 with first timers at the meeting here. She is by Liam's Map out of a Bernardini mare that ash dropped three foals to race, all winners including a pair of stakes winners, top earner Point of Honor ($466,375).

Sea of Blue debuts for the McLaughlin barn that is on the light side with firsters, hitting at a 5% clip. This gal has a nice pedigree, by Midshipman out of an Ocean Crest mare that has dropped eight foals to race, all winners including a trio of stakes winners, top earner Emcee ($479,900). She has some decent works on the morning tab and Rosario takes the call.

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

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:

SAR Race 8 The Better Talk Now (4:46 ET)
#1 Front Run the Fed 2-1
#7 Bulletin 5-2
#4 Swamp Rat 8-1
#3 Bourbon War 7-2

Analysis: Front Run the Fed
graduated two back at six furlongs over good ground at the Big A in his first start off a four-month layoff. He then came back to trounce Alw-1 optional claimers at seven furlongs last out by 13 1/4 lengths at 4-5. Now he returns off a three-month break trying stakes company and a mile for the first time. The barn is 27% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff. The colt should work out a good tracking trip sitting just off the pace and he should have no trouble handling the extra ground. The barn is 33% winners moving runners from sprint to route.

Bulletin makes his first start since April where he dueled for the early lead and weakened to finish fourth in the William Walker at Churchill Downs at five furlongs. This guy won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint last fall at Churchill Downs on yielding ground in just his second career start. He is going to be the one to catch here and may be able to shake loos early. Pletcher is 23% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff. Being out of the stakes winner Sue's Good News ($218,078) who was best going long on dirt.

WIN: #1 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 1,7 / 1,4,7
TRI: no play

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

DMR Race 7 OClm $40,000N1X (5:00 PT)
#8 Lil Milo 5-2
#2 Stop the Violence 8-1
#4 Psycho Dar 5-1
#3 General Interest 6-1

Analysis: Lil Milo
took the field gate to wire to beat state bred Alw-1 optional claimers last out going 6 1/2 on the downhill turf at Santa Anita. Now he returns off nearly a six-month break here for the Marquez barn. The gelding put in a good gate drill on Aug. 11 and the switch to turf three back was really a good move as he beat $50,000 starter allowance foes and then was second against state bred Alw-1 foes. Prat sticks and this guy catches a good spot for his return.

Stop the Violence stalked the early pace and weakened in the stretch in a fifth-place finish last out against Alw-1 optional claimers off a year layoff. He beat $50,000 starter allowance foes two back over the turf here last summer in a sharp effort. The Miller barn is 20% winners with runners making their second start off a +180-day layoff. The barn is having a good meet and this gelding figures to be tighter second off the shelf.

WIN: #8 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 2,8 / 2,3,4,8
TRI: 2,8 / 2,3,4,8 / 2,3,4,8,10

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: #7 Stop Shoppin Tammy 8-1
R2: 31 Readyforprimetime 8-1
R5: #3 Posse Needed 8-1
R6: #1 Soul P Say 10-1
R8: #4 Swamp Rat 8-1
R10: #12 Into Glamour 15-1

Good luck today!