Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:55 AM

At the Gate - Saturday

There is a Winter Weather Advisory covering Aqueduct for Saturday with the forecast calling for one to three inches of snow starting in the afternoon, so I made the executive decision to seek warmer climates.
If I had to guess I would say Aqueduct will start the card and cancel after the second race, but with really good cards at Fair Grounds and Gulfstream Park today, we won’t miss the Big A much even if they do end up running.
It is Road to the Derby Kickoff Day at Fair Grounds on Saturday. The feature is the $200,000 Lecomte (G3), the first of three Road to the Kentucky Derby points at the New Orleans track this season.
Scabbard is the 7-2 morning line favorite in an absolutely wide open race with 14 entered and 13 likely to start. Trainer Mark Casse was not happy with the 14 post for Lynn’s Map and likely will scratch to run the colt at Oaklawn Park next week.
It is Sunshine Millions Day at Gulfstream Park. The headliner is the $200,000 Classic which drew a field of seven led by Red Crescent, the 5-2 morning line favorite. The gelding won the Sunshine Millions Preview at Gulfstream Park West and was fourth in the Harlan’s Holiday (G3) in his most recent outing.
I have cherry picked between the two cards and came up with some good plays today. My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my nine strongest plays from Fair Grounds and Gulfstream Park.
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Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Gulfstream Park:
GP Race 11 The Sunshine Millions Classic (4:38 ET)
#1 Noble Drama   6-1
#6 Red Crescent   5-2
#5 Salute With Honor   7-2
#3 Squeezeadios   6-1
Analysis: Noble Drama was a smart winner over Alw-2 optional claimers last out off an eight-month layoff. The gelding drew clear in the stretch with a little something left in the tank. He only made four starts last year including a sixth in this race. He won a couple of restricted stake in '18 and ran in the money in four other stakes including a runner up finish in the Carry Back. The Fawkes trainee should move forward second off the layoff and this is not the deepest group we have seen in this race over the years.
Red Crescent won the Sunshine Millions Preview over at GP West two back and then last out weakened late to fish fourth in the Harlan's Holiday. He earned a triple digit Beyer three back going seven furlongs and this will be his first attempt at nine furlongs. Pedigree wise he should be able to handle it and comes in here as sharp as the six-year-old has ever been.
WIN: #1 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 1,6 / 1,3,5,6
TRI: 1,6 / 1,3,5,6 / 1,2,3,5,6
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Fair Grounds:
FG Race 13 The Lecomte G3 (5:55 CT)
#10 Enforceable   15-1
#9 Silver State   5-1
#11 Bango   20-1
#4 Scabbard   7-2
Analysis: Enforceable is trained by Mark Casse who won this race last year with War of Will and has also entered Lynn’s Way here, but he has stated with the 14 post the latter likely gets scratched. Our top pick caught slop in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) where he was last behind a slow early pace and made up some ground to finish fourth. Two back in his first start against winners he raced near the back of the pack and finished evenly in a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland. He graduated three back going nine furlongs at the Spa. This guy is bred to go long, by Tapit out of the stakes winner Justwhistledixie ($449,427) who has dropped four other winners and three are stakes winners including 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) New Year’s Day ($1.1 million) and multiple graded stakes winner Mohaymen ($998,417). Leparoux picks up the call and he just needs some pace. He has the pedigree to handle a wet track if the rains come.
Silver State is one of three in here that will be saddled by the Asmussen. The colt finished in a deadheat when graduating at Churchill Downs going 6 ½ furlongs. He deadheated with Restless Dancer, who came back to win the state bred Louisiana Legacy by 10 ½ lengths in his next start at Delta Downs. The colt stretched out to a mile in his last start, catching a sloppy track where he was sent off as the 9-5 favorite. He stalked the early pace and finished gamely to miss by just a nose in a tough beat. He should get better with more ground, the $450,000 Keeneland purchase is by Hard Spun out of the stakes winner Supreme ($162,789). The colt has worked sharply over the main track here over the last month. Asmussen won this race in 2002 and 2008.
Bango tracked the early pace and was no match for Art Collector who drew off to win by 7 ½ lengths in the slop at Churchill Downs at six furlongs against Alw-1 optional claimers. The colt graduated two back in his fourth career start and now stretches out to two turns for the first time. The Foley barn is 21% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners form sprint to route. The colt is by Congrats out of a Smart Strike mare that has dropped two other winners including stakes winner Eton Ridge ($274,962), a seven-time route winner. He draws a tough post but has enough early zip to overcome it as Pedroza figures to send him. Worth tossing in the mix here at a generous price.
WIN: #10 to win at 8-1 or better.
EX: 9,10 / 4,9,11,12
TRI:  9,10 / 4,9,10,11 / 2,4,9,10,11
Good luck today!

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