For the first time in months, we do not have any Kentucky Derby points races, which are all in the books and we now have just two weeks until the big day.
We still have plenty of great stakes action including a pair of $1 million races at Oaklawn Park, two stakes at Aqueduct, and the feature at Keeneland is the $200,000 Elkhorn (G2).
The most anticipated race of the day is the $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) at Oaklawn Park with a showdown of two champions from last year.
Monomoy Girl won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) to close out a perfect year and won the Eclipse Award for top older female. She is the even money favorite in the Apple Blossom.
Swiss Skydiver won the Eclipse Award for top three-year-old filly. She won 5 of her 10 starts last year including beating the boys in the Preakness Stakes (G1) and winning the Alabama (G1) at Saratoga.
The other $1 million race at Oaklawn Park this afternoon is the Oaklawn Handicap which drew a competitive field of eight led by Santa Anita Handicap (G1) runner up Express Train (5-2) and Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) winner Fearless (7-2).
As you can see below, I went looking for a bit more value and landed on the Brad Cox trained Warrior’s Charge who is 6-1 on the morning line. The five-year-old makes his second start off the bench an earned figures last year that would put him right in the mix.
My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my 11 strongest plays from Aqueduct, Keeneland and Oaklawn Park.
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 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 as well as my Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby reports.
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 Clm $20,000
#5 Daria's Angel 7-5
#2 Pecan Pattie 4-1
#1 Excess Capacity 8-5
#3 Whyisshesolucky 6-1
Analysis: Daria's Angel pressed the early pace and could not go with the winner late in a runner up finish in the Sis City last out, a starter stakes for runners that have run for a $16,000 tag or less in 20-21. She was making her first start off the claim by the Noda barn that has sent out a couple of sharp winners this week. She is back in for a tag here and looks well spotted. She owns a solid pace profile throughout and a repeat of her last looks good enough to beat this group.
Pecan Pattie returns off a 3 1/2-month break after getting outrun in her last outing going two turns at Philly versus $12,500 starter allowance foes. Her form tailed off in her last two starts last year after running in the money in in eight earlier starts last year. Her last win came against Alw-1 foes at Philly last September. She makes her first start here for the Nevin barn that is 15% winners with newcomers to the barn. She has a win over the surface and has worked well in the mornings for her return off the break.
AQUEDUCT RACE 7 ANALYSIS (4:44 P.M. ET)
Race 7 The New York Stallion
#4 Sinful Dancer 5-2
#7 Lobsta 7-2
#5 Market Alert 3-1
#3 It's Gravy 7-2
Analysis: Sinful Dancer is still a maiden, but we have seen a few break their maidens in these NY Stallion Series races. This guy put in a solid effort in his debut for the Weaver barn. The gelding was brushed coming out of the gate, stalked the early pace and came with a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot. The winner went gate to wire over a racing strip that was kind to inside speed. The sixth-place finisher Black Irish came back to graduate in his next start on April 2 against $25,000 state breds. Our top pick earned the top last out speed fig in his debut. He picks up Castellano and gets an extra half furlong.
Lobsta is coming off a game win versus state bred Alw-1 optional claimers last out going a mile in the slop. He dueled for the early lead and was no match for a 11 3/4 length winner in a runner up finish in the state bred Gander two back in his first start against winners. He owns solid early and mid pace numbers and the cut back to 6 1/2 furlongs should not pose a problem.
KEENELAND RACE 7 ANALYSIS (4:24 P.M. ET)
Race 7 Alw $83,000N2X
#5 Ready for Change 3-1
#4 Chili Petin 7-2
#2 Brooke Marie 9-2
#8 Violenza 10-1
#9 Strong Odor 6-1
Analysis: Ready for Change makes her first start on turf here after breaking her maiden by nearly a dozen lengths and then beating Alw-1 company in her last outing, both at Fair Grounds. Both came in races that were washed off the turf. She has a solid off track pedigree, by More Than Ready out of the turf stakes winner Single Solution ($199,439) who has dropped three other winners and they have all won on turf including stakes winner No Fault of Mine ($267,814).
Chili Petin makes her first start since last June where she set the early factions and weakened to finish fifth in the lady Shipman at Belmont Park. She beat Alw-1 foes two back at Turfway Park on the fake stuff. She broke her maiden on dirt here and War thought enough of her to ship her to Royal Ascot where she was not a threat in a 12th place finish in the Albany Stakes (G3). The barn is 23% winners with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. Solid works on the morning tab and she should be ready to go off the sidelines.
OAKLAWN PARK RACE 9 ANALYSIS (5:49 P.M. ET)
Race 9 The Oaklawn Hcp G2
#4 Warrior's Charge 6-1
#2 Express Train 5-2
#1 Silver State 4-1
#6 Owendale 7-2
Analysis: Warrior's Charge ran second in this race last year to By My Standards. Last out he was sent off as the chalk against allowance foes in his first go off a six-month layoff. He tracked the early pace, took over the lead heading for home and could not hold off Guest Suite late in a runner up finish going a mile over a wet track. He should be tighter for his second start of the break for Cox who is 28% winners with runners making their second start off a 45–180-day layoff. Last year this guy won the Razorback ‘Cap (G3) here and after a second in this race was fourth beaten two lengths in the Met Mile (G1). The Cox trainee owns solid early and mid pace numbers in a race without a ton of early zip signed up. He has done some of his best running over the main track here and the 6-1 morning line looks fair enough..
Express Train invades from Southern California for the Shirreffs barn. The colt is coming off a solid runner up finish in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) going 1 ¼ miles. He tracked the early pace, took over the lead and got run down late by Idol coming up a half-length short. He won the San Pasqual (G2) two back at today’s nine-furlong distance with a career top speed fig. The $500,000 Keeneland purchase has made just nine starts in his career, landing in the exacta seven times. The cut back to nine furlongs should suit him and he comes in here in very sharp form for a very capable barn that does not ship out of his home base very often.
Silver State went down the Derby trail last year with a second in the Lecomte (G3) and a third in one of the divisions of the Louisiana Derby (G2) but then hit the bench. He came back off a seven-month layoff to beat Alw-1 foes and has reeled off three more wins, his last pair here. He won the Fifth Season here two back at a mile by a nose and then last out won the Essex Handicap by a neck at 6-5. He looks as if he will benefit from the added ground here and has some tactical speed. The colt breaks from the rail and should be able to get a good trip sitting just off the early pace.
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.
R2: #6 Bourbon Brown 12-1
R5: #5 Kaz’s Bach 10-1
Good luck today!