Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:55 AM

At the Gate - Thursday

Thanksgiving Day is here, and we start off the holiday weekend with a solid nine race card at Aqueduct that includes three stakes races.

We have a first post of 11:50 ET and the finale is at 3:50 ET, leaving everyone plenty of time to make it to the dinner table in time for a little turkey.

The stakes action at the Big A starts with the fifth race with a field of 11 two-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf in the $100,000 Central Park.

Chapalu is the 7-2 morning line favorite and is coming off a victory in the Grey (G3) at Woodbine which was contested over the Tapeta synthetic surface. The colt broke his maiden on turf in his previous start and appears to be a legit favorite.

The traditional stake is the $200,000 Fall Highweight Handicap (G3) with nine entered but two ran last night at Penn National including the morning line favorite Firenze Fire.

That will leave Recruiting Ready as the likely short priced favorite. The Stanley Hough trainee took the field gate to wire in the Bet On Sunshine at Churchill Downs in his last outing.

The $150,000 Winter Memories drew 14 three-year-old fillies with 11 to start if this sticks on turf as expected. We were off the turf in two races on Wednesday, but the weather looks good for this afternoon.

It is a wide-open race and it looks as if we should get a fair price on our top pick Shelter Island, who was a good looking maiden winner in her debut for the Chad Brown barn. Full analysis is below.

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

AQU Race 1 Clm $10,000 (11:50 ET)
#5 Cotton Candy Cutie 5-2
#4 Awesome Quick 3-1
#6 First Forever 7-5
#1 My Chesa Charm 5-1

Analysis: Cotton Candy Cutie set the early fractions and faded to finish a well beaten seventh last out against $16,000 foes going a mile. This mare is a decent fourth two back at this distance and three back at seven furlongs in the slop was beaten just a neck against state bred $25,000 foes. The cut back to a sprint here should suit this gal who is better than she showed last out. She is in a sharp underrated barn. This is a pretty weak spot here tagged for $10,000.

Awesome Quick dueled for the early lead and tired to finish 10th against open $25,000 foes on turf at 73-1. It has been a while since she has been on the main track but she has won 2 of her 8 trips on fast dirt in her career. The Micelli trainee drops into an easier spot here and she owns solid early and mid pace numbers.

WIN: #5 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 4,5 / 4,5,6
TRI: no play

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 8 The Winter Memories (3:20 ET)
#6 Shelter Island 6-1
#5 Tuned 4-1
#10 Atomic Blond 8-1
#3 Sorrentina 7-2

Analysis: Shelter Island comes in here off a sharp maiden win in her debut for the Chad Brown barn. The filly prompted the early pace and finished with good energy to win by 3/4 of an eighth going this distance at Belmont Park. The runner up and third place finisher both came back to graduate in their next starts. This gal has a nice pedigree, out of an Exit to Nowhere mare that has dropped five other foals to race including two turf winners and a couple of stakes winners, top earner Calling Out ($227,604). She was purchased by owner Peter Brant for $299,931 at the Arqana Deauville Yearling Sale in August 2017. Brown has won 13 stakes in New York for the owner this year. his filly looks as if she has plenty of upside.

Tuned was an impressive winner versus Alw-1 foes at Keeneland in her U.S. debut. The filly raced near the back of the pack and made a strong late rally to win by 2 1/4 lengths off a six-month break. She broke her maiden in her debut last fall at Deauville in a 15-horse field. This gal has a nice pedigree, by Tornado out of the multiple Grade 1 winner Zagora ($2.3 million). It was not a real strong group she bet although the fifth-place finisher Breakfast Pond did come back to beat $50,000 claimers in her next outing at Churchill Downs on Nov. 14. There is enough early pace signed up her this gal should get a good set up again.

Atomic Blond pressed the early pace and drew clear late to break her maiden two back at Monmouth Park in her second career start. She then beaten Alw-1 foes over good ground at Belmont Park in her latest effort. The runner up Kressie came back to beat Alw-1 foes in her next start on Oct. 26 and then missed beating Alw-2 foes by a neck in her most recent outing here on Nov. 15. The Pletcher trainee has moved forward in each outing and should get a good tracking trip sitting just off the pace. She is by Scat Daddy out of a Danehill Dancer mare that has dropped two other winners. Decent value if she goes off near her 8-1 morning line.

WIN: #6 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 5,6 / 3,5,6,10
TRI: 5,6 / 3,5,6,10 / 3,4,5,6,10

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.

R2: #8 Danny California 8-1
R2: #1 Impazible Odds 8-1
R4: #9 Happy Danza 12-1
R4: #4 Upham 8-1
R7: #9 Happy Farm 8-1
R7: #3 Wonderful Light 10-1
R8: #10 Atomic Blond 8-1
R9: #7 Empire Express 8-1
R9: #6 Beg to Differ 10-1

Good luck today!

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