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Sunday's Picks from Aqueduct and Gulfstream Park

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Life Is Good looked like the star of the trio of Road to the Kentucky Derby points races yesterday, destroying the field in the San Felipe (G2) at Santa Anita.

The colt returned $3.00 as the favorite with the other two Derby points races won by longshots.

It started at Aqueduct in the Gotham (G3) with Weyburn pulling off a stunning upset, returning his backers $95.50 to win.

The James Jerkens trainee was making his first start since breaking his maiden in the slop at Aqueduct on Dec. 5.

Then in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) it was Helium pulling off the upset paying $32.80. The colt made his first two starts on the synthetic Tapeta surface at Woodbine for trainer Mark Casse.

It was just one of those days along the Kentucky Derby trail that did not make much sense. All I could do is shake my head, clean up the broken parts of the two pens I broke, and we will move onto to repairing our bankroll on Sunday afternoon.

“America’s Day at the Races” will be on FS2 from 1:30 to 6:30 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 Sunday includes my eight strongest plays from Aqueduct and Gulfstream Park.

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


Race 1 Md Sp Wt

  • #6 Vienna Code   2-1
  • #2 Qualifying Offer   3-5
  • #4 Mia Calia   6-1
  • #3 Betty's Smile   10-1

Analysis: Vienna Code appears to have the best shot of beating the chalk in the opener in what could be a chalky day throughout the card. Last out the filly tracked the early pace and weakened to finish fifth over a wet track going seven furlongs. The winner Bank Sting came back to beat state bred Alw-1 foes in her next start on Feb. 26. Two back she did finish ahead of the favorite in here at 29-1.  She adds blinkers which should keep her closer early to the favorite here. The barn went 0 for 28 last year and dating back two years is just 1 for 52.

Qualifying Offer is sent out by the Chad Brown barn and is going to be a puny price in this small field. Last out she prompted the early pace while in the three path and weakened in the stretch to finish third. Most of the winner that day were using the outer paths. She looks quick enough here they may not catch here. She was a $150,000 Spa purchase, out of a Holy Bull mare that has dropped four other foals to race, all winners including stakes winner Conquest Fahrenheit ($187,655). 


Race 7 The Biogio's Rose

  • #5 Critical Value   5-1
  • #6 Wasp   3-1
  • #4 Lucky Move   8-5
  • #3 Espresso Shot   5-2

Analysis: Critical Value looks as if she is going to offer some in this spot. Last out she stalked the early pace down toward a deep inside in the mud, angled out in the stretch and finished evenly in a third-place finish against open Alw-1 foes. The runner up Maiden Beauty came back to beat Alw-1 and Alw-2 company in her next two starts. Our top pick returns with blinkers added and she won the state bred Bouwerie last June and the Maid of the Mist as a juvenile back in '19. The barn is 21% winners (with a +ROI) when adding the hood. Decent value if she goes off near her 5-1 morning line.

Wasp tracked the early pace and finished gamely to get up and beat state bred Alw-1 company last out in the slop. The runner up Courageous Girl came back to beat state bred Alw-1 foes in her next start on Jan. 17. The Pletcher trainee ran a solid number two back in a runner up finish at 4-5 in her first start against winners. With just four starts under her belt, she looks as if she still has some upside, and three of her four career starts have come over sloppy tracks.  


Race 9 OClm $12,500N1X

  • #5 Tiz Possible Dear   5-2
  • #3 Bimini   3-1
  • #4 Shes All Woman   4-1
  • #2 Awesome Annmarie   12-1

Analysis: Tiz Possible Dear cuts back to a sprint after setting the early fractions and fading to finish a well beaten sixth last out against starter optional claimers. The mare is back with state breds here and three back in the slop at GP West she won the state bred Millions Distaff and four back won at this level in a gate to wire score. She is a seven-time winner over the main track here for the Walder barn that has been live at the meet, hitting at a 27% clip. The trainer is 28% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from route to sprint and Paco sticks.

Bimini tracked the early pace while saving ground and was no match for the winner while losing the place spot in a photo. She was claimed out of the race by the Zerpa barn that is 25% winners first off the claim. It is tough to move runners up off Walder but this mare looks like a good fit here as she is back with state breds.   


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 Betty’s Smile    10-1
  • R3: #3 Minuteman   20-1
  • R4: #3 Inscom   8-1
  • R5: #3 Creative Plan   12-1
  • R8: #6 Noble Conquest   8-1
  • R8: #7 Sinful Dancer   8-1 

Good luck today!

Mike Dempsey Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year-round as well as covering the biggest events including the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup.
A professional handicapper and horseplayers for more than three decades, no handicapper in the industry works harder and been more successful in bringing horseplayers analysis that produces profits at the track!

Mike has owned racehorses and knows the racetrack from the backstretch to the finish line.

Mike is in his second decade of producing great results for the readers of Vegas Insider. Among his scores in the Kentucky Derby include winning with his top pick Animal Kingdom who paid $43.80 in 2011 and Super Saver at $18.00 in 2010.

While favorites have dominated the Run for the Roses in recent years, Mike’s full card analysis for every race on each card is always looking for value for horseplayers looking to pad their wagering bankroll.

Mike's Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card each day.

Check out Mike’s daily column At the Gate where he offers up free selections and live longshots.

Join Mike daily with top picks from Churchill Downs or grab winners in the Weekend Best Plays Report in the horse racing Multi-Track package. Want more action? Sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
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