Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:55 AM

At the Gate - Sunday

In our featured race yesterday Hard Not to Love made a last to first move under jockey Mike Smith to win the La Brea (G1) on the opening day card at Santa Anita.

Bellafina was hammered in the betting and Hard Not to Like, who was our top pick returned a nice $25.20 off a 6-1 morning line. Bellafina held on to the runner up spot and the exacta still came back pretty good at $61.40. We hit the trifecta as well for $155.00 for a $1.

Omaha Beach was a much the best winner in the Malibu (G1), returning $2.80 as my second choice. I gave Complexity a shot of pulling off the upset, but he did not fire his best.

The Santa Anita meeting got off to a good start with a solid 11 race card and no horses getting pulled up or injured. Now the track just needs to repeat that for the next few months.

There are two stakes at Santa Anita today—the $75,000 Eddie Logan and the $75,000 Blue Norther, both on turf. I included both in today’s Best Plays Report.

It was not a great day at Aqueduct as it seemed like our top picks just kept getting run down in the stretch. We have one stake this afternoon, the $100,000 Bay Ridge at nine furlongs which drew a field of seven.

Don’t forget that Aqueduct will be in action Monday and Tuesday next week as well as running on New Year’s Day. The track will be dark on Thursday and Friday.

My Best Plays Report for Sunday includes my nine strongest plays from Aqueduct and Santa Anita.

To purchase my Aqueduct and Best Plays Reports for Sunday 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 Clm $16,000 (12:30 ET)

3 Daddy D T 2-1

8 Blame the Thief 7-2

1 Gypsum Johnny 4-1

4 Poshky 8-1

Analysis: Daddy D T is back on dirt here after checking in sixth last out against $25,000 claimers on turf. He makes his third start off the bench here for the RRod barn. He caught mud two back in his first start off the layoff. Three back over the main track here at a mile he was fourth in the More to Tell behind a pair of next out winners and he won for this tag here four back at a mile in his first start off the claim. The surface switch and catching a softer group here should get this guy back on track.

Blame the Thief stalked the early pace and faded to finish a well beaten seventh last out for this tag in his first start off the claim by the Atras barn. The gelding was claimed for the fourth time in his last five starts, today going for the RRod barn that lost him for $10,000 two back. Three of his four wins have come over the Big A main track ad he owns back numbers good enough to win here. Looking for him to bounce back with a much better effort here.

WIN: #3 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 3,8 / 1,3,4,8
TRI: 3,8 / 1,3,4,8 / 1,3,4,7,8

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 8 The Bay Ridge (3:46 ET)

1 Out of Orbit 6-1

5 Our Super Nova 4-5

7 Cartwheel 10-1

3 Held Accountable 4-1

Analysis: Out of Orbit set the early fractions and faded to finish a well beaten 10th last out in the state bred Empire Classic going a mile Two back this gal wired the field to win the state bred Saratoga Dew at today's nine furlong distance. She has run well at the Big A, landing in the money in 7 of 9 trips. She draws the rail and catches a field void of much early speed. She tends to break well and she has a good shot of taking this group gate to wire.

Our Super Nova is back in with state breds after a decent third last out in the Go for Wand 'Cap (G3) going a mile. She won a New York Stallion Series race two back at seven furlongs. He lone try at nine furlong was a sixth in the state bred Fleet Indian last summer at Saratoga. She has won going two turns at Finger Lakes and will appreciate the return to the NY bred ranks, but her price is going to be on the light side in this spot.

WIN: #1 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 1,5 / 1,3,5,7
TRI: 1,5 / 1,3,5,7 / 1,3,5,6,7

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

SA Race 6 The Eddie Logan (2:14 PT)

1 Goliad 3-1

2 Encoder 8-1

9 Smooth Like Strait 5-2

5 Royal Act 4-1

Analysis: Goliad stalked the early pace and finished up well in a runner up finish in the Cecil B. DeMille (G3) last out in his stakes debut. The colt broke his maiden in his debut here and then was beaten a neck against Alw-1 optional claimers at Del Mar in his first go against winners. The Mandella trainee is looking better with each start and looks capable of turning the tables here. The colt is out of a Dynaformer mare that has dropped four other winners, all turf winners including a pair of stakes winners, top earner Fredericksburg ($317,917).

Encoder exits the same race and he was sixth at 6-1, beaten 5 1/4 lengths. The Sadler trainee won his first two career starts, taking the Del Mar Juvenile Turf in his first start at a mile. He had a rough trip in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) two back. Rosario picks up the calla and he seems capable of better than his last effort and the 8-1 morning line looks fair.

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

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: 1: #4 Poshky 8-1
R2: #6 Violent Point 8-1
R3: #7 Zipalong 8-1
R4: #5 Take It to Scale 12-1
R5: #4 Go Rudy Go 8-1
R6: #4 Carlisle Belle 10-1
R7: #7 Charlie McCoy 8-1
R8: #7 Cartwheel 10-1
R9: #5 Icy Dude 8-1

Good luck today!

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