Horse Racing Best Bets, Odds – Saturday’s Picks for NYRA, Aqueduct, Oaklawn Park

Racing went on Friday and I have to say betting from home I hardly noticed anything was different. The tracks restricted access, with no fans in attendance, but the action rolled on and cashing tickets did not feel any different.

While the NBA, NHL, MLB and NASCAR have halted events, there has been no break in the action in horse racing so far. The only major racetrack to cancel action so far is The Meadowlands, a harness track in New Jersey.

That could change as this crisis is fluid with things changing hourly, so we will just keep our fingers crossed. There are a dozen key Road to the Kentucky Derby points races to be decided over the next month leading up to the Run for the Roses on May 2.

There was going to be over 40,000 at Oaklawn Park today in Hot Springs, Arkansas, but the races go on without spectators. The feature on the card is the $1 million Rebel (G2) with 50-20-10-5 Derby points up for grabs for the top four finishers.

The $250,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park will also offer up Derby points. The top four will earn 20-8-4-2 points. The race is contested over a synthetic surface and while the race is not considered a major Derby prep, Animal Kingdom did prep in the race and went on to win the Kentucky Derby in 2011.

That might go down as my favorite Derby as trainer Graham Motion used to have the box right next to me at Laurel Park many years ago and I actually picked the colt, who returned $43.80 to win.

Racing will be nationally televised on FS2 from 3:00 to 7:00 ET on Saturday and 3:00 to 6:30 ET on Sunday. If you are new to horse racing, both Churchill Downs and the New York Racing Association have apps to stream the action on Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Firestick.

In addition, horseplayers can stream all of the action using the Watch TVG App. The horse betting company based in the U.S. is offering a risk free bet up to $200 for new players.

My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my 10 strongest plays from Aqueduct and Oaklawn Park and the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) from Turfway Park.

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 which will include all of the major Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races.

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

AQU Race 1 Md $40,000 (1:30 ET)
#8 Love Me Tomorrow 5-2
#3 Gringotts 8-1
#4 Enough Love 6-5
#2 Central Perk 4-1

Analysis: Love Me Tomorrow
returns off a two-month break and makes her first start for the Avila barn that is 23% winners (with a +ROI) first off, the claim. The filly is coming off a decent effort as the beaten chalk in a runner up finish against state bred $25,000 foes last out where she came with a mild late run while wide. She comes back with blinkers added and a bullet work on the morning tab. She steps up to $40,000 but these are no tougher than she has been facing. She is the first foal to race out of a Holy Bull mare. She showed speed in her first three career starts and with the hood added I expect to see her back up front against this group.

Gringotts bobbled coming out of the gate leaving her toward the back of the pack and she made a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot at 24-1 last out. She was cutting back from a mile where she was outrun two back. She looks back on track for the Englehart barn that also looks back on track after being chilly early in the meeting. The filly is out of a Secret Halo mare that has dropped six other foals to race with three winners. The jock "worries" but she should end up a decent price in this spot.

WIN: #8 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 3,8 / 2,3,4,8
TRI: 3,8 / 2,3,4,8 / 2,3,4,6,8

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Oaklawn Park:

OP Race 9 The Azeri G2 (4:50 CT)
#1 Street Band 3-1
#5 Serengeti Empress 9-5
#2 Mylady Curlin 4-1
#4 Lady Apple 5-2

Analysis: Street Band
stalked the early pace and battled on but came up a bit short late in a third-place finish in the Huston Lades Classic (G3) last out, the same race our top four contenders here all exit. I thought she was a bit of an underachiever most of last year before putting it all together in the Cotillion (G1), but then did not fire in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1). She makes her second start off a 2 1/2-month break and she just needs to see bit more pace than she did in Texas to turn the tables.

Serengeti Empress was able to set moderate fractions as the chalk and cold not hold off Lady Apple late, coming up a half-length short. She was no match for our top pick in the Cotillion but came back with a good third in the Distaff. She catches a racing strip here that can be kind to speed sometimes and if she gets away with moderate fractions here, she may prove tougher to run down. She is bred to handle a wet track if the rains come.

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

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 8 The Correction (5:01 ET)
#2 Bridlewood Cat 8-5
#4 Kept True 9-5
#5 Piedi Bianchi 5-2
#1 Slimey 8-1

Analysis: Bridlewood Cat
pressed the early pace and came up empty in the stretch last out in a fourth-place finish as the beaten chalk against Alw-2 optional claimers over a wet track that was kind to speed. She broke her maiden three back by 11 1/4 lengths and then was a sharp winner versus Alw-1 foes in her first start against winners. She owns a solid pace profile throughout and looking for her to bounce back with a better effort in this spot for a sharp barn.

Kept True prompted the early pace, took over the lead heading for home and rolled to a three-length win in the state bred Broadway last out. It was her fifth win in 10 career starts, all of her wins coming in New York bred company. She steps outside of the state bred ranks here but looks sharp enough to handle it. She looks headed in the right direction form wise and this race looks like it is going to land on the chalky side.

WIN: #2 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 2,4 / 1,2,4,5
TRI: no play

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: #3 Gringotts 8-1
R2: #3 Chuckles 10-1
R3: #3 Fulfill 8-1
R4: #7 Royal Albert Hall 8-1
R6: #5 Bongga 12-1
R7: #4 Queendom 10-1
R8: #1 Slimey 8-1
R9: #2 Remoane 10-1

Good luck today!