Opening Day of the baseball season is always one of my favorite days of the year, but as a Washington National fan things did not go as planned, at least one player testing positive for Covid-19 and the game against the New York Mets was canceled.
The back up plan for this afternoon is that it is Opening Day for the spring Keeneland meeting, which was wiped out last year by the pandemic. Things are getting back to some semblance of normality, there will be some fans in the stands, and we have three stakes on today’s 10 race card.
Over the course of the Keeneland meeting which runs until April 23 we have 18 stakes with purses that exceed $4 million. On Saturday we have six stakes including the $800,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G2) which is a key Road to the Kentucky Derby points race.
My Best Plays Report for Friday includes my nine strongest plays from Aqueduct and Keeneland.
The stakes action at Keeneland starts off in the seventh race, the $100,00 Palisades Turf Sprint which drew a field of 10 going 5 ½ furlongs. We had a hard freeze last night so it will be interesting to see how the turf course plays this weekend.
The $150,000 Beaumont (G3) drew seven three-year-old fillies that will travel seven furlongs on the main track. The race offers up 10-4-2-1 points toward entry into this year’s Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs on April 30.
The Kelly Breen trained Slumber Party is the 2-1 morning line favorite. The filly was an impressive maiden winner in her debut at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 24.
The $150,000 Transylvania (G3) for three-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on turf drew a field of six. The 9-5 morning line favorite Fire At Will won last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at 30-1.
The Mike Maker trainee started off his three-year-old campaign on dirt in the Fountain of Youth (G2), his connections hoping he might a Derby contender. He failed miserably, checking in a distant eight and returns to turf this afternoon.
You can 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.
To purchase my Aqueduct and Best Plays Reports for Friday 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:
AQUEDUCT RACE 1 ANALYSIS (1:20 P.M. ET)
Race 1 Md Sp Wt
#4 Olympique 8-1
#1 Our Man Mike / 1a Shinjuku 8-5
#6 Brew Pub 3-1
#5 War Novel 5-2
Analysis: Olympique caught a sloppy track in his debut where he was sent off at 6-1 in a field of eight going six furlongs. The colt raced at the back of the pack and had no impact in an eighth-place finish. He stretches out to a mile for the Mott barn that has been on a roll, winning at a 27% clip over the past two months, mostly with his Florida stock. The colt has come back with three works since his debut including a bullet work out of the gate most recently. He is by Midnight Lute out of a Silver Deputy mare that has dropped four other foals to race with a pair of winners, top earner stakes winner Aunt Babe ($310,635). He may show more over a fast track going a one turn mile and the price should be right.
Our Man Mike put in a solid effort in the slop last out off a four-month layoff. He came with a good late run to finish third over a racing strip that was kind to inside speed. He was second two and three back at Finger Lakes. He looks capable of moving forward off his last effort and will appreciate the stretch out. His entrymate Shinjuku was off poorly last out in his second career start and first off a 3 1/2-month break. He finished evenly in a third-place finish at seven furlongs. The barn is 33% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from sprint to route. He completes a strong entry for the DePaz barn.
AQUEDUCT RACE 6 ANALYSIS (4:01 P.M. ET)
Race 6 Alw $82,000N1X
#9 Box N Score 7-2
#1 La Hara / 1a Kuramata 1-1
#5 Dreams of Tomorrow 2-1
#8 Singapore Trader 8-1
Analysis: Box N Score makes his first start since a game third at this level last November over good ground here. The gelding was next to last early and came with a good late rally to come up just 3/4 of a length short of the top spot going 1 3/8 miles. He graduated in his debut at Belmont Park over good ground back in October of 2019 and has managed to make just three starts since. He is in good hands with the Thomas barn that has been live this year, hitting at a 32% clip. There should be some give to the ground today which suits him. He is out of a Montjeu mare that has dropped three other winners including turf stakes winners Belichick ($380,579) and Season Ticket ($280,171).
La Hara is making his first start since last October for the Brown barn that is 28% winners (with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a 61–180-day layoff. He beat $50,000 starter allowance foes in his first go against winners and then ran second twice and forth in his last outing at this level. He spent the winter at Payson Park in Florida and looks ready for his return. His entrymate Kuyramata broke his maiden at Tampa Bay Downs in his second career start and first state side. He was a close up third in his debut at Kempton in the UK, beaten 3/4 of a length. He completes a strong entry.
KEENELAND RACE 8 ANALYSIS (4:57 P.M. ET)
Race 8 The Beaumont G3
#7 Twenty Carat 5-2
#1 My Girl Red 5-1
#2 Slumber Party 2-1
#3 Farsighted 4-1
Analysis: Twenty Carat made her first two starts on the Tapeta at Turfway Park. She dueled for the early lead and drew away to break her maiden last out going 6 ½ furlongs, winning by 7 ¾ lengths as the chalk in a field of 12. Four have come out of that race to run back with one next out grad. Two back in her debut she took the field gate to wire to prevail by a neck, but she was DQ’d for interfering with a foe in the stretch and placed second. Wait for Nairobi was elevated up for the win and then came back to win the Cincinnati Trophy at Turfway Park in her next start and then was fifth in the Bourbonette Oaks when stretched out to two turns. She gets a jock upgrade to Saez and Ward has been very live this year, hitting at a 33% clip. The filly has worked quickly over the main track here and she is bred to like dirt, by Into Mischief out of a Bernardini mare.
My Girl Red ships in from the west coast for the Desormeaux barn. She was bumped and leaned on coming out of the gate in the Del Mar Debutante (G1) last out leaving her last. She started getting rank and was pulled up. She broke her maiden in her debut at Santa Anita going 4 ½ furlongs and then took the field gate to wire to win the Sorrento (G2) at Del Mar in her first start against winners. She returns off a seven-month layoff here for a barn that is 15% winners with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. Solid works at Fair Grounds for her return.
Slumber Party was a smart looking maiden winner in her debut, taking the field gate to wire to win by 7 ½ lengths and earn the top last out speed fig. Ten she beat have come back to run with the runner up Pass the Champagne the lone next out winner, breaking her maiden on Feb. 27 with an 86 Beyer. Two others ran second next out. There is some early zip signed up so things will not be easy, but she looks as if she still has some upside for the Breen barn. She is by Malibu Moon out of the stakes winner Devilish Lady ($400,318). She has been working steadily at Palm Meadows since her debut. The main knock is the 2-1 morning line which seems light.
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 wager.
R1: #4 Olympique 8-1
R4: #10 Loaded Joe 10-1
R5: #1 Maryanorginger 12-1
R6: #8 Singapore 8-1
R8: #1 Theitalianamerican 8-1
Good luck today!