Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:51 AM

Saturday's Picks from Aqueduct and Tampa Bay Downs

We make our first of two trips to Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday where we have one of two Road to the Kentucky Derby points races on tap—the $250,000 Sam F. Davis (G3).

The race offers up 10-4-2-1 points toward entry in this year’s Kentucky Derby. The race also serves as a prep for the $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on March 6 which is worth 50-20-10-5 Derby points.

There are three supporting stakes today on an outstanding betting card, the $175,000 Endevour (G3), $150,000 Suncoast and the $175,000 Tampa Bay (G3). I included all of today’s stakes action in my Best Plays Report.

The $250,000 Withers (G3) at Aqueduct will also serve up Derby points on a 10-4-2-1 scale. We have had a few too many short fields the past few days but Saturday’s card looks good.

The weather looks fine for today but there are 5-8 inches of snow forecast to hit New York on Sunday. Not to worry, if it looks like we are going to get snowed out we will take a look at Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita for our Super Bowl Sunday action.

The features at Santa Anita on Sunday are the $200,000 San Vicente (G3) which could produced a Derby hopeful or two and the $100,000 Sweet Life (G3) for three-year-old fillies on turf.

“America’s Day at the Races” will be televised on FS2 from 2:00 to 6:30 ET and will include today’s two Road to the Kentucky Derby points races from Aqueduct and Tampa Bay Downs.

You can also stream the action from Aqueduct today on YouTube or by using the TVG App. The horse betting company based in the U.S. is offering a 50% deposit match up to $250 .  In addition, AmWager is offering up to a $500 bonus for new horseplayers.

My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my 11 strongest plays from Aqueduct and Tampa Bay Downs including all of the graded stakes action.

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 opener from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:


Race 1 Md Sp Wt

  • #1 Neuro   7-2
  • #5 Clever Follow   6-5
  • #6 Jade's Dream   3-1
  • #2 Shinjuku   10-1               

Analysis: Neuro was away poorly last out and was not much of a threat in an even effort checking in sixth going seven furlongs. The colt has put in several good efforts on turf, a third two back and a runner up finish four back. He faces an easier looking group here and may end up a fair price. He is out of the dirt stakes winner My Dinah ($459,391) who has dropped two winners including stakes winner Lover's Key ($278,752) who was best on grass.

Clever Follow makes his first start since last February where he tracked the early pace and finished gamely to miss by just a head which was off a year layoff. He now returns off another year on the bench for the Brown barn that is 27% winners with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. This looks like a soft spot for his return but his price is likely going to be on the short side. 


Race 9 The Suncoast

  • #2 Feeling Mischief   9-2
  • #4 Curlin's Catch   6-1
  • #7 Gulf Coast   5-2
  • #5 Honorifique   7-2

Analysis: Feeling Mischief goes two turns for the first time here for the Campbell barn that is showing a 2 for 14 mark moving runners from sprint to route. This gal won the six-furlong Sandpiper going six furlongs in her first trip over the main track here and then was third at 6-5 last out in the Gasparilla beaten 1 3/4 lengths by a couple of runners that landed in a deadheat including Special Princess who is in here. She has enough pedigree to handle more ground, by Into Mischief out of a stakes placed Latent Heat mare. She has shown some early zip and figures to be a pace threat here on the stretch out.

Curlin's Catch broke her maiden last out taking the field gate to wire going a one turn mile at Gulfstream park. She made her first two starts on the fake stuff in Canada, a second in her debut then a fifth, both going long. The runner up and fourth place finisher in her last start both came back to graduate next out. She was a $430,000 Ocala purchase, out of the stakes winner Catch the Thrill ($290,167). She looks as if she still has plenty of upside in just her second start on dirt and picks up Gallardo. 


Race 8 The Withers G3 (4:25 ET)

  • #7 Donegal Bay   7-2
  • #5 Risk Taking   5-2
  • #6 Overtook   6-1
  • #9 Eagle Orb   10-1

Analysis: Donegal Bay is one of two in here sent out by the Pletcher barn. The $90,000 Keeneland purchase took the field gate to wire to break his maiden at Gulfstream Park going a one turn mile in his second career start and first since his debut back in August where he checked in sixth at 12-1. He was well backed last out, and the effort was flattered with the runner up Simovitch coming back to graduate in his next outing on Jan. 9 at Gulfstream Park and the third and sixth place finishers both came back to run good seconds in their next starts. This guy is bred to handle more ground. He is by Uncle Mo out of an Empire Maker mare that has dropped five other runners with four winners including stakes winner Purser who won a couple of listed stakes at Newmarket at seven furlongs. He has worked sharply at Palm Beach Downs for his stakes debut here. Pletcher has won this race three times.

Risk Taking is one of three in here that has won at nine furlongs. The colt was seventh in his debut sprinting and then sixth going long on turf. Last out on the main track here he stalked the early pace and finished strongly to break his maiden by 2 ¼ lengths in a good looking effort. Three runners have come out of that race to run back with the best effort a runner up finish by Dazzle Time. The $240,000 Keeneland purchase is by Medaglia d’Oro out of a stakes placed Distorted Humor mare. He still appears to have plenty of upside.

Overtook was a $1 million Keeneland purchase and picked up his diploma last out going a one turn mile over the main track here that was as slightly inside speed favoring. The speed figure came up light, as did the BRIS number. Five have come out of the race to run back with a couple of thirds the best finishes. Four of the five did run higher Beyers so perhaps this guy’s fig was shortchanged a tad. Two back he was a distant third behind Known Agenda who was third in the Remsen (G3) in his next start and the runner up Greatest Honour came back to win the Holy Bull (G3) last Saturday. This colt should only get better with more ground and maturity. He is by Curlin out of the G1 stakes winner Got Lucky ($951,340) who won the 2015 Spinster (G1) at Keeneland at today’s distance. He should move forward off his last effort and the 6-1 morning line looks fair but seems likely to be a bit shorter. 


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 Shinjuku   10-1
  • R2: #5 Implied Volatility   10-1
  • R2: #1 David’s Gem   12-1
  • R8: #9 Eagle Orb   10-1
  • R9: #5 Abbaa   10-1

Good luck today!

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