At the Gate – Friday

We have a light weekend of stakes action coming up, with just nine stakes races in the U.S. on Saturday and only two on Sunday.

The feature at Aqueduct on Saturday is the $100,000 Key Cents for two-year-old fillies going six furlongs on the main track. A field of seven will head to the starting gate.

The Mike Maker trainee Time Limit is the 2-1 morning line favorite. The filly set the early factions and could not hold off Alms late in a runner up finish in the Matron (G3) on turf in her last outing.

Also going turf to dirt is My Sassy Sarah (3-1) who was sixth in the Miss Grillo (G3) at 1 1/16 miles at Belmont Park in her last outing.

The feature at Churchill Downs on Saturday is the $175,000 River City Handicap (G3) for three-year-olds and upward which drew a field of 10.

The nine-furlong turf test is led by Mr. Misunderstood (5-2) who was the runner up in the Remington Green Stakes at Remington Park in his last start. The five-year-old is trained by Brad Cox and has won 11 of his 20 career starts on turf.

His main rival will be Admission Office (3-1) who was not a threat in an 11th place finish in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) last out off a 3 ½ month break. He was a close up third in the Wise Dan (G2) over the Churchill Downs turf back in June.

Churchill Downs had to cancel racing on Wednesday because of frigid temperatures and while the forecast calls for a high of 46 on Saturday, it will drop down to 27 degrees Friday night, so no telling what the turf course will be like by post time.

I will have my selections and analysis for the two stakes in here in tomorrow’s column.

To purchase my Aqueduct Report for Friday click here.

Now is the perfect time to purchase my Monthly Package. It gives you a month of Aqueduct Reports daily and my Best Plays Report each Saturday and Sunday.

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

AQU Race 1 Clm $14,000N3L (12:00 ET)
#1 Dooley 7-2
#3 Vintage Hollywood 1-1
#4 Beach Access 5-1
#5 Booby Trap 9-2

Analysis: Dooley
tracked the early pace and was no match for a 9 1/2 length winner in a runner up finish last out against $20,000 non-winners of three on the stretch out to a mile. The Donk trainee has come up short at this condition a few too many times but the gelding looks headed in the right direction form wise and appears to be the best option to backing the chalk in here.

Vintage Hollywood is back in for a tag after a non-threatening fifth last out against state bred Alw-1 foes in his first start off the claim by the Maker barn. He was taken two back for $20,000 where he failed to fire in an eighth-place finish. Three back he came with a good late rally and drew clear to beat $16,000 non-winners of two at Del Mar. His local debut was not much but he does catch an easier group here.

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

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 7 Alw $50,000 (1:00 ET)
#2 Sierra Aleone 5-2
#11 Pugilist 4-1
#10 La Piu Bella 6-1
#8 A Dixie Twister 6-1

Analysis: Sierra Aleone
drops in for a tag for her first start off a nine-month layoff. The Bush barn is 33% winners (with a +ROI) first off the claim. The filly stalked the early pace and finished evenly in a third-place finish last out against Alw-2 optional claimers running into a repeat winner. her last win came at Gulfstream Park beating Alw-1 optional claimers going five furlongs on turf. Good works on the morning tab and is not a real tough looking spot for her return.

Pugilist dueled for the early lead, opened up a clear lead heading for home and weakened to finish third against $12,500 starter allowance foes at Laurel Park going a mile last out. He broke his maiden going five furlongs on turf and has landed din the money in 10 of his 13 trips overall on grass, Castellano picks up the call for a sharp Maryland outfit that has hit at a 26% clip overall in 2019.

WIN: #2 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 2,11 / 2,8,10,11
TRI: 2,11 / 2,8,10,11 / 1,2,8,10,11

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.

R3: #5 Indawin 8-1
R4: #2 Tayler’s the Boss 8-1
R5: #13 Handle With Care 12-1
R5: #8 Rousey 8-1
R6: #5 Dash Dot Sot 8-1
R9: #7 Siding Spring 8-1
R10: #2 Super Twenty Seven 10-1

Good luck today!