At the Gate – Friday

There is something missing from today’s column. There is no Live Longshots list for Aqueduct this afternoon.

For the first time I can remember, my report for Aqueduct on Friday does not include any runners at odds of 8-1 or higher among my top contenders. I could be wrong but in the 10+ years I have been writing this column that has never happened.

However, does that mean today’s card is going to be chalky? It sure does not look that way. Among the eight races my top pick is the morning line favorite in just one of the eight races. My top pick is between 5-1 and 6-1 in six of the races today.

Perhaps it is not a day to play trifectas, but the Pick 4 and Pick 5 are certainly in play.

Coming up on Saturday the feature at the Big A is the $200,000 Red Smith (G3) for three-year-olds and upward going 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf course.

The race drew a full field of 11 and is a wide-open race. Sadler’s Joy is the 8-5 morning line favorite and is coming off a solid third in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1).

But at his 8-5 morning line I think we can beat him for the top spot. I will have my selections and analysis for the race 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 Md $40,000 (12:50 ET)
#7 Buddy's Memory 6-1
#1 Shannon's Girl 8-5
#2 Jasminesque 7-2
#10 Gracely 3-1

Analysis: Buddy's Memory is a $100,000 Keeneland purchase making her debut for the Weaver barn that is 12% winners with first timers. The filly has been working quickly in the mornings and this looks like a good spot here debuting for $40,000. The filly is by Lemon Drop Kid out of a stakes placed Tapit mare that has dropped two foals to race, no winners to date. Franco takes the call as he debuts with lasix against a less than imposing group.

Shannon's Girl made a good late rally to finish third last out for this tag in her second start off the claim by the Cox barn. She was a god second two back in her first go for the trainer off the claim. She was the beaten chalk in her last pair and has burned some cash in her 10 career starts, landing in the runner up spot in five of those outings. She cuts back to six furlongs here and she ran well three back at 5 1/2 at the Spa so the cut back is not much of a concern but the light price and habit if landing for minor shares is.

WIN: #7 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 1,7 / 1,2,7,10
TRI: 1,7 / 1,2,7,10 / 1,2,5,7,10

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 6 Md Sp Wt (3:17 ET)
#4 Betterment 3-1
#5 Stare Decisis 5-2
#1 Malthael 3-1
#9 North Dakota 9-2

Analysis: Betterment tracked the early pace toward the inside, took over the lead heading for home and could not match strides late with the winner in a runner up finish last out, winning the place spot in a photo going nine furlongs over good ground. He moved forward off an eighth-place finish two back coming back off a 7 1/2-month layoff. The colt showed some ability in Florida with a third in his debut back in January then was seventh in his second career outing. The Hennig trainee looks primed for a top effort third off the bench. He is out of the turf stakes winner Ready's Gal ($609,959) who ash dropped three winners including graded stakes winner Machen ($216,530). He looks as if he has enough pedigree to handle the added ground.

Stare Decisis exits the same race as our top pick. The Brown trainee was sent off at 7-1 in his debut and after being outrun early came with a mild late run to finish fourth, beaten 2 1/4 lengths. The $100,000 Keeneland purchase is by Noble Mission out of a Giant's Causeway mare that has dropped one other foal to race, a turf winner. Brown is 30% winners with second out maidens. He also looks as if he will appreciate the added distance.

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

Good luck today!