Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:55 AM

At the Gate - Sunday

Sadler’s Joy was an impressive winner of Saturday’s Red Smith (G3) at Aqueduct as the favorite and my second choice, returning $4.70 as the betting favorite in the field of 11.

My top pick Red Knight did not get quite as good a trip and had to settle for the runner up spot at 8-1, and the pair returned us a decent exacta payoff of $36.20.

My third choice Midcourt got the job done in the Native Diver (G3) at Del Mar with my top pick Leading Score a late scratch. The 3-5 favorite was the Bob Baffert trained Roadster who did not fire and finished fourth and last.

There is plenty of rain in the forecast from late Saturday night into Sunday, so I am assuming we are going to be off the grass today at Aqueduct. There is rain in the forecast at Churchill Downs as well, so for my Best Plays we will venture out to Del Mar again.

The feature at the Big A this afternoon is the $150,000 New York Stallion Series Thunder Rumble Division with a field of eight headed to the gate in the seven-furlong test on the main track, which could be sloppy.

Gold for the King is the 2-1 morning line favorite for trained Charlie Baker The gelding was fourth in the state bred Hudson last out and looks tough but I will look for a bit more value with Arthur’s Hope, who is returning off a break for trainer Marco Salazar.

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My Best Plays Report for Sunday 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 Alw $50,000s (12:20 ET)
#5 Gracetown 9-2
#2 Queen Kahen 6-5
#1 Dirty Bird 10-1
#3 Girl of Tosconova 3-1

Analysis: Gracetown is one of two in here sent out by the Rice barn and she claimed both in their last outings. Our top pick stalked the early pace and made a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot. She caught a racing strip that was playing to inside speed that day. The barn is 26% winners first off the claim. She has a solid off track pedigree and there has been plenty of rain in the forecast. She broke her maiden over the main track here back in March.

Queen Kahen set the early fractions and could not hold off the winner late in a runner up finish at this level last out on turf. She switches to the main track for the Barker barn and note this gal is perfect in her two starts on wet tracks. She beat $40,000 non-winners of two in the slop at the Spa this summer in a race washed off the turf. She is quick and comes in here sharp.

WIN: #5 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 2,5 / 1,2,5
TRI: no play

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 8 The New York Stallion Series (3:47 ET)
#7 Arthur's Hope 6-1
#4 Gold for the King 2-1
#6 T Loves a Fight 4-1
#3 My Boy Tale 4-1

Analysis: Arthur's Hope makes his first start since July where he was fourth in the Hockessin at Delaware Park. The five-year-old has been working quickly in the mornings for the Salazar barn that is 15% winners (with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff. This guy ran big at Philly two back earning a triple digit Beyer beating non-conditioned allowance foes. He wired the field here at seven furlongs four back beating state bred Alw-2 optional claimers. He has done his best work on off tracks here he has won 9 of 14 with three seconds and there is a good chance we catch a wet track again today. He will appreciate the return to the restricted ranks here in New York.

Gold for the King stalked the early pace and made a mild late bid to finish fourth in the state bred Hudson last out off a 2 1/2-month break. The Baker trainee has not won since winning this race last year. He has done some of his best running at the Big A, winning 4 of 8 and has handled a wet track, landing in the money in 5 of 6 trips. He is the logical one to beat here but our top pick is going to offer more value for the top spot.

WIN: #7 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 4,7 / 3,4,6,7
TRI: 4,7 / 3,4,6,7 / 1,3,4,6,7

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

DMR Race 5 Md Sp Wt (2:30 PT)
#8 Montana Moon 5-1
#5 Shandling 8-5
#7 Exsqueeze Me 6-1
#1 Tyrannical Rex 6-1

Analysis: Montana Moon cuts back from a mile and takes the hood off here for the Ruis barn. Last out the colt was washy pre race, jumped out and set the early fractions and battled on into the stretch, tiring inside the final furlong in a sixth-place finish. The runner up came back to graduate in his next outing on Nov. 10 here. He looks quick enough to handle the cut back to five furlongs. He is out of the stakes winner Purely Hot ($426,095) who has dropped one other foal to race, stakes winner Eight Rings ($236,935).

Shandling was shuffled back early and came with a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot in her debut, sent off as the 3-1 favorite in the field of 10. The gelding has come back with three solid looking works for the D'Amato barn. The $150,000 purchase is out of the stakes winner Salty Romance ($229,200) who has dropped five winners including one turf winner. A clean trip and he will be very tough in this spot.

WIN: #8 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 5,8 / 1,5,7,8
TRI: 5,8 / 1,5,7,8 / 1,4,5,7,8

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: #1 Dirty Bird 10-1
R2: #11 My Primo 10-1
R2: #6 Snow Lion 8-1
R5: #8 Bourbon N Rye 8-1
R9: #5 The Joke’s On You 8-1
R9: #12 Bulwark 8-1

Good luck today!

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