Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:55 AM

At the Gate - Saturday

The holiday break is behind us and we are back in action on Saturday, with a good nine race card at Aqueduct and a stakes filled card at Santa Anita.

Opening day at Santa Anta was supposed to be Dec. 26, but with rain in the forecast it was pushed back to Saturday where we have seven stakes on the 11-race card that kicks off at 11:00am Pacific time.

I have included five of the stakes in today’s Best Plays Report.

There are three Grade 1 races on the card including the $300,000 Malibu which features a showdown between Omaha Beach and Complexity.

Omaha Beach is coming off a runner up finish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) in his last outing. The up and coming Complexity ships in for trainer Chad Brown. The colt won the Champagne (G1) last year but has made just two starts as a three-year-old. He trounced second level allowance foes in his last outing by 7 ¼ lengths.

Bellafina is the 9-5 morning line favorite for the $300,000 La Brea (G1). The filly was a fast closing second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) in her last start.

The first Grade 1 on the day is the $300,000 American Oaks (G1) which drew a wide open field of eight three-year-old fillies that will travel 1 ¼ miles on the turf.

Lady Prancealot is the 2-1 morning line favorite. The Richard Baltas trainee won the Valley View (G3) at Keeneland in her last outing.

My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my 10 strongest plays from Aqueduct and Santa Anita.

To purchase my Aqueduct and Best Plays Reports for Saturday 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 Sp Wt (12:30 ET)
#7 Doll 4-5
#1 Queenofeverything 6-1
#2 Clever Tale 8-1
#3 A Bridge too Far 5-1

Analysis: Doll appears likely to get the day off to a chalky start. The Servis trainee set the early fractions and could not hold off the winner late in a runner up finish, beaten two lengths while four clear of the rest of the field. The filly caught a racing strip that was playing to outside stalkers and closers that day. The filly makes her third start of her current form cycle and she owns a solid pace profile throughout. She is out of the stakes winner Dootsie ($117,142) who has dropped eight other runners with seven winners.

Queenofeverything dueled for the early lead and faded to finish ninth last out in her first start off a three-month break. She was a game second two back at the Spa in July which was her first start off a 13-month layoff. She seems capable of sticking around longer in this this spot. She is out of an Anees mare that has dropped two winners, top earner stakes winner Bee Noteworthy ($294,865).

WIN: #7 to win at 1-1 or better.
EX: 1,7 / 1,2,3,7
TRI: 1,7 / 1,2,3,7 / 1,2,3,5,7

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 8 Alw $64,000N1X (3:46 ET)
#10 Winifred J 10-1
#4 Prairie Fire 6-1
#2 Gilda Marie 9-2
#3 Time Warp 6-1

Analysis: Winifred J cuts back to six furlongs after taking the blinkers off for the Barker barn. Last out the filly set the early fractions while down along the inside and could not match strides with the winner late in a runner up finish at this level. She caught a racing strip that was playing to outside stalkers and closers. She was fourth two back at the same level in her first start after breaking her maiden. She graduated three back in gate to wire fashion in her ninth career start and first off the claim by the barn. The cut back in distance here should suit her and we are going to catch a decent price.

Prairie Fire stalked the early pace and finished evenly in a fourth-place finish against $50,000 starter allowance foes last out in the slop. She was making her first start off the claim by the Rice barn that took her out of a runner up finish against $25,000 non-winners of three. She is back in with state breds here and in just her sixth career tart and second for Rice she appears to have more upside than most of these. She should work out a good trip sitting behind what could end up being a fast early pace.

WIN: #10 to win at 6-1 or better.
EX: 4,10 / 2,3,4,10
TRI: 4,10 / 2,3,4,10 / 2,3,4,10,12

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Santa Anita:

SA Race 7 The Brea G1 (2:18 PT)
#7 Hard Not to Love 6-1
#1 First Star 4-1
#5 Bellafina 9-5
#6 Bell's the One 7-2

Analysis: Hard Not to Love came off a 5 1/2-month break with a game win versus Alw-2 optional claimers, her third win in four career starts, all over the main track here. Her lone loss came two back in her lone start in stakes company where she set the early fractions and tired to finish third in the Angel Flight. She broke her maiden in her debut for Shirreffs who usually does not have them fully cranked first out. She then beat Alw-1 optional claimers in her first start against winners, that effort coming at 6 1/2 furlongs. This gal was a $400,000 Keeneland purchase and she has two sibs and they are both stakes winners—Wonder Gadot ($1.5 million) and Solemn Tribute ($181,324). Smith sticks and this gal looks as if she still has plenty of upside.

First Star made her stakes debut last out in the Raven Run (G2) at Keeneland going seven furlongs after winning her first two career starts at Del Mar. She tracked the early pace, took over the lead and could not hold off Bell's the One inside the final furlong in a runner up finish. She has been working sharply over the main track since her last outing.

Bellafina is going to be the betting favorite here. She is coming off a solid runner up finish in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint where she was beaten 3/4 of a length by the talented Covfefe and nearly wight lengths clear of the rest of the field in the effort. She earned a career top speed fig and 10 points higher than her previous high. Two have come out of the race to run back, with fourth place finisher Spiced Perfection winning the Go for Wand 'Cap (G3) at Aqueduct on Dec. 7, earning a Beyer of 90 (she earned an 89 in her BC effort). The Callaghan trainee won her first four starts over the Santa Anita main track including the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) going two turns and the Santa Ynez (G2) at today's seven furlong distance. She seems likely to regress and that might still be good enough to win here. The price may end up south of her 9-5 morning line.

WIN: #7 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 1,7 / 1,5,6,7
TRI: 1,7 / 1,5,6,7 / 1,5,6,7,9

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: #2 Clever Tale 8-1
R2: #3 Brimstone 12-1
R3: #3 Montauk Traffic 10-1
R4: #1 Gio d’Oro 8-1
R5: #2 Cover Photo 8-1
R6: #5 Whichwaytomalibu 8-1
R6: #8 Box of Rain 8-1
R6: #10 Aintitfunkynow 10-1
R8: #10 Winifred J 10-1
R9: #12 Rousey 12-1

Good luck today!

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