Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:56 AM

At the Gate - Saturday

I did not care much for Friday’s card at Aqueduct and we have a much better wagering card this afternoon with the feature the $200,000 Red Smith (G3) at 1 3/8 miles on turf.

Sadler’s Joy is the 8-5 morning line favorite coming off a good third in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) at Belmont Park in his last outing. He was third in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), but his connections elected to skip the Turf this year and he lands in the Red Smith.

As you can see below, I am going to try and beat him for the top spot with Red Knight, who won the ungraded Point of Entry at 1 ½ miles at Belmont Park in his last outing. The Bill Mott trainee has won seven of his 14 career starts on turf and the 6-1 morning line looks attractive.

With rain in the forecast at Churchill Downs I elected to head off to Del Mar today where the feature is the $100,000 Native Diver (G3) which drew a field of six that will go 1 1/8 miles on the main track.

Trainer Bob Baffert sends out Roadster (8-5), last year’s Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner. The colt was beaten a nose in the Damascus at Santa Anita going seven furlongs last out in his first start off a 4 ½ month break.

His stablemate Leading Score (7-2) get the call. The five-year-old was the beaten favorite in his last outing behind a couple of foes he faces again but I am hoping jockey Joe Talamo can open up and take him gate to wire.

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My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my eight strongest plays from Aqueduct and Del Mar

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

AQU Race 1 Clm $40,000N2L (12:00 ET)
#3 Mandatory Payout 7-5
#4 Casper Slew 5-2
#1 Bassman Dave 9-2
#5 Riken 5-1

Analysis: Mandatory Payout has come up short at the non-winners of two level six time and last out was fifth against straight three-year-olds for a $32,000 tag. He raced next to last early and could not make up enough ground late, beaten 1 1/4 lengths while catching a racing strip that was kind to inside speed. He makes his second start off the claim by the Ryerson barn and is back in with older and non-winners of two. He owns a solid pace profile throughout and should get a good tracking trip sitting just off the pace.

Casper Slew was off poorly bobbling at the break and bumping with a foe, tracked the early pace and faded to finish a well beaten 10th against $30,000 non-winners of two. He was claimed out of the race by the Morley barn that is 8% winners first off the claim. He broke his maiden at the Spa versus state bred maiden special weight foes back in August and was beaten double digit lengths in his last three starts, two and three back against Alw-1 state breds. He returns to the main track and catches a pretty soft group here.

WIN: #3 to win at 6-5 or better.
EX: 3,4 / 1,3,4
TRI: no play

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 9 The Red Smith G3 (3:47 ET)
#8 Red Knight 6-1
#7 Sadler's Joy 8-5
#11 Glorious Empire 6-1
#1 Tiz a Slam 8-1

Analysis: Red Knight came with a five wide run and drew clear late to a sharp win in the Point of Entry last out at Belmont Park at 1 1/2 miles. He came up short in the state bred Ashley Cole two back and in restricted company three back in the slop in the off the turf John's Call but back in April was a solid second in the Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland on yielding ground off the bench. Mott seems to have him at the top of his game coming into this spot and we should catch a fair price.

Sadler's Joy has been a closer most of his career but showed a new dimension last out prompting a slow pace in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) and held o late in a third-place finish, beaten just a half-length. Four came out of that race to run in the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) but they did not fare well, finishing 4th, 7th,8th and 12th. The six-year-old has made just three starts this year, a sixth off the bench in the Bowling Green (G2) where he was beaten just 1 14/ lengths and then a neck loss in the Sword Dancer (G1). There should be enough of an early pace that Castellano should be able to take him back for one late run which is his best running style. He looks tough although the 8-5 morning line seems on the light side.

Glorious Empire is going to be a decent price in this spot and can contend if he recaptures his form from last year where h won the Sword Dancer (G1) and Bowling Green (G2). He came back off the bench two back in the Baltimore Washington Turf Cup (G3) and had the lead heading for home but weakened to finish sixth, beaten two lengths. Next up was the Knickerbocker (G2) at nine furlongs where he seemed likely to move forward but regressed in a fifth-place finish. He can handle the extra two furlongs here as he won the Bowling Green at the Spa last summer at this distance. He is likely going to bounce back and give a better account of himself here and should be forwardly placed.

WIN: #8 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 7,8 / 1,7,8,11
TRI: 7,8 / 1,7,8,11 / 1,2,3,7,8,11

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

DMR Race 8 The Native Diver G3 (4:00 PT)
#1 Leading Score 7-2
#4 Roadster 5-2
#6 Two Thirty Five 3-1
#2 Midcourt 7-2

Analysis: Leading Score will be the higher price of the duo Baffert sends out in here. The five-year-old set the early fractions in the Comma To The Top but weakened in the stretch to finish third behind a couple of foes he faces again here. That race was at a mile and the stretch out to nine furlongs is a question mark. However, he should be able to clear the field early and if he able to get away with a softer opening half mile he may prove tough to catch.

Roadster was beaten a nose last out in the Damascus at seven furlongs in his first start off a 4 1/2 month break. The colt is proven at nine furlongs, wining the Santa Anita Derby (G1) last year. He is 0 for 3 since but will appreciate the stretch back out to two turns. The Baffert barn is 33% winners moving runners from sprint to route. The 5-2 morning line seems generous, he likely is going to be lighter.

WIN: #1 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 1,4 / 1,4,6
TRI: no play

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: #6 Lottie’s Mizzion 8-1
R3: #6 Pecatonica 8-1
R5: #6 Psychic Energy 8-1
R6: #7 Kinenos 8-1
R7: #1 Fast Talking 12-1
R8: #4 Miss Mystique 8-1
R9: #1 Tiz a Slam 8-1
R10: #8 Titan’s Will 10-1
R10: #7 Victory Built 12-1

Good luck today!

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