Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:51 AM

Saturday's Picks from Aqueduct, Fair Grounds & Golden Gate Fields

When I mentioned in yesterday’s column this weekend’s Road to the Kentucky Derby points races I totally dissed Golden Gate Fields, which hosts the $100,000 El Camino Real Derby this afternoon, which I completely forgot about.

The race offers up 10-4-2-1 Derby points and will be contested over 1 1/8 miles on the Tapeta surface with a field of nine lining up. The winner earns an automatic starting spot in the Preakness Stakes (G1).

The race has not had much of an impact on the Run for the Roses, never producing a winner. But Casual Lies in 1992 and Cavonnier in 1996 did complete the Derby exacta.

The race has produced four Preakness winners, the most recent being Tabasco Cat in 1994.

Rombauer, who makes his three-year-old debut is the 8-5 morning line favorite. The Michael McCarthy trainee was fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) in his last effort.

The other Road to the Kentucky Derby points race today is the $400,00 Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds. The race is one of six stakes on an outstanding card.

Rain fell in New Orleans all week, but things are starting to look better for Saturday. The turf course figures to be yielding to soft but the main track could potentially be fast by late afternoon.

“America’s Day at the Races” will be televised on FS2 from 2:30 to 7:30 ET. 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 10 strongest plays from Aqueduct and Fair Grounds as well as the El Camino Real Derby from Golden Gate Fields.

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 Clm $25,000

  • #6 Playthatfunnymusic   9-2
  • #4 Dark Money   4-5
  • #2 Sicilia Mike   5-2
  • #1 Kosciuszko   8-1

Analysis: Playthatfunnymusic finds a soft spot here for his return off the bench for the Levine barn. The gelding was last seen at the Spa last July where he checked in seventh for this tag. He has not won since beating state bred Alw-2 optional claimers back in Dec. of '19. The barn is showing a 1 for 13 mark with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. Decent looking works on the morning tab and the 9-2 morning line looks fair enough. This gelding is a 12-time winner in his career and four have come over the main track here.

Dark Money chased the early pace and could not get past the winner in the stretch in a runner up finish last out as the beaten favorite. He came up 3/4 of a length short while 5 1/2 lengths clear of the rest of the field in the effort. He makes his second start off the claim by the Morley barn that got off the duck here on Friday. His last out speed fig towers over the rest of the field here but he is going to be a light price.


Race 6 Md Sp Wt

  • #1 Reggae Music Man   5-2
  • #2 Tough Workout   2-1
  • #4 Forty Two Ace    6-1
  • #5 King Moonracer   6-1

Analysis: Reggae Music Man dueled for the early lead and weakened to finish third last out over a wet track in his second career start. He took some action in his debut two back at 4-1 considering the low profile connections. He stalked the early pace and came with a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot. The third, fifth and eighth place finishers in that race all came back to graduate in their next outings. The Kelly trainee is out of a stakes placed Grand Reward mare that has dropped five other runners with four winners. He catches a pretty soft looking spot here.

Tough Workout debuts for the Pletcher barn that is 17% winners with first time starters. This colt is by Outwork out of a stakes placed Macho Uno mare that has dropped one foal to race, Highestmaintenance ($100,645) who was a debut winner and is stakes placed. Solid works at Palm Meadows and ships here to face New York breds. She is a logical threat here at a likely short price.


Race 12 The Rachel Alexandra G2

  • #2 Souper Sensational   8-1
  • #8 Travel Column   2-1
  • #1 Clairiere   5-2
  • #6 Zoom Up   6-1

Analysis: Souper Sensational was a solid second in the Silverbulletday last out over the main track here. The trip was her first on conventional dirt and first going two turns. She was away last in the six-horse field, under a hold while caught in tight quarters while down along the inside on the first turn, came five wide into the stretch and finished up well, beaten 3 ½ lengths by Charlies Penny, who opened up heading for home. Our top pick broke her maiden in her debut on the Tapeta at Woodbine and then won the Glorious Song in her stakes debut going seven furlongs in a sharp effort. She beat Charlie’s Penny that day and the runner up was Javanica who came back to run second in the Jimmy Durante (G3) at Del Mar and then was the runner up in the Blue Northern at Santa Anita in her most recent start. This gal is bred to go long, by Curlin out of an Indian Charlie mare. A cleaner trip makes her a threat here and the 8-1 morning line looks more than fair.

Travel Column is coming in off a victory in the Golden Rod (G2) last out at Churchill Downs and makes her three-year-old debut. She was not away cleanly in that outing, last in the early going and she came with a good late rally to win by a length and earn the top last out speed fig. Four runners have come out of that race to run back including Coach who ran second in the Martha Washington at Oaklawn Park and

Lady Traveler who was second in the Forward Gal (G3) at Gulfstream Park. Three of the four exiting that race actually had their Beyers go down next out. The Cox trainee broke her maiden in her debut at six furlongs and then was third in the Alcibiades (G1) in her first route. She has worked smartly since her last outing but may end up a light price. She was a $850,000 purchase, by Frosted out of the stakes winner Swingit ($345,343) who was 6 for 16, all her wins coming on turf.

Clairiere ran second in the Golden Rod last out, beaten a length for the top spot. She was bumped coming out of the gate, saved ground while near the back of the pack early, came with a good four wide move to take over the lead but was run down late. She broke her maiden two back going two turns at Churchill Downs, sent off at 7-2. The third and fourth place finishers in that maiden race were next out grads. The third-place finisher Will’s Secret then won the Martha Washington at Oaklawn Park. Asmussen has won this race five times, the most recent being last year with Finite. Solid works over the main track here and a nice pedigree. She is by Curlin out of the multiple G1 stakes winner Cavorting ($2 million). She looks capable of moving forward off her last outing in her three-year-old debut here. 


Race 8 The El Camino Real Derby

  • #5 Petruchio   3-1
  • #9 Rombauer   8-5
  • #7 Javanica   5-2
  • #2 Waspirant   8-1

Analysis: Petruchio went turf to dirt last out in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) in his stakes debut. The Mandella trainee stalked the early pace and finished evenly in a third-place finish. The winner Spielberg came back to run a disappointing fourth in the Robert B. Lewis (G3). The runner up The Great One came back to break his maiden in his next start by 14 lengths. The gelding has shown improvement with each outing and has shown he can run on turf and dirt and seems likely to handle the fake stuff. He is by Into Mischief out of a Distorted Humor mare.

Rombauer makes his three-year-old debut after making a mild late run to fish fifth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1). The runner up Hot Rod Charlie was beaten just a neck when third in the Lewis and the third-place finisher Keepmeinmind won the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) in his next start. His last pair of speed figs are tops in here. He was a game second in the American Pharoah (G1) two back, beaten 3/4 of a length. He is working as if he is going to come back running for the McCarthy barn that has really good numbers with runners on synthetic tracks, hitting at a 29% clip overall. 


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 Kosciuszko   8-1
  • R7: #9 It’s Hot Out   15-1
  • R7: #2 Freudian Sip   8-1
  • R8: #4 Ragtime Blues   8-1
  • R8: #9 More Graytful   8-1
  • R9: #10 Danegeld   10-1
  • R9: #9 Lady’s Boy   10-1 

Good luck today!

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