Road to Derby: Eight Head to Gate in Gotham at Aqueduct

A field of eight line up in Saturday's $400,000 Gotham (G3) at the Big A. (Photo credit:

A field of eight line up in Saturday’s $400,000 Gotham (G3) at the Big A. (Photo credit:

A field of eight line up in Saturday’s $400,000 Gotham (G3) at Aqueduct, with 85 Derby points up for grabs toward entry into the Run for the Roses.

The top four finishers earn 50-20-10-5 points as a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race, but it looks as if the points are not urgent for Sunny Ridge (7-2) who is coming off a victory in the Withers. His connections are looking past the Kentucky Derby to the second and third jewel of the Triple Crown.

“The game plan right now is skip the Derby, run in the Preakness and Belmont, give him a break, and then run in the Haskell,” said Sunny Ridge’s owner Dennis Drazin. “Everyone wants to know what’s next, but first he’s got to run on Saturday.”

If you think his connections might get Derby fever with a big effort in the Withers, the colt is currently listed at +4500 at in early Kentucky Derby wagering.

The Withers drew a solid field including the promising Shagaf (3-1), who is perfect in two starts and makes his stakes debut for trainer Chad Brown.

Conquest Big A (6-1) had the misfortune of running into Derby favorite Mohaymen when fourth in the Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park in his last outing. It will be interesting to see how he does, with a big performance flattering Mohaymen, who has been getting hammered in early Derby wagering, down to +275 at

I will have full card reports for both Aqueduct and Gulfstream Park for Saturday along with my Best Plays Report.

Let’s head out to the Big A for Saturday’s featured race of the day:


Aqueduct Race 9 The Gotham G3 Post time 4:50 ET

6 Conquest Big E   6-1

2 Shagaf    3-1

7 Sunny Ridge   7-2

8 Rally Cry   5-1

Conquest Big E was bumped coming out of the gate, stalked the early pace and finished evenly in a fourth place finish in the Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park, beaten nine lengths by Kentucky Derby (G1) betting favorite Mohaymen, who returned to win the Fountain of Youth (G2) in his next outing last Saturday.

The colt figures to move forward in his second start of his three-year-old campaign and he looks as if he is going to be a fair price. The $700,000 Keeneland purchase is by Tapit out of a Carson City mare that has dropped one other winner, stakes winner Aquapazza ($131,577).

Shagaf turned some heads with an impressive maiden score on the main track here in his debut last November at a mile, drawing away to win by six lengths. The runner up It’s All Relevant came back to graduate in his next outing on Jan. 15 by 8 ½ lengths and then was eighth in the Risen Star (G2).

He then beat first level optional claimers in his first go against winners, winning by two lengths but we saw his Beyer drop 10 points. I still think this guy has plenty of upside and should have no problem handling his first trip around two turns. He has a nice pedigree, by Bernardini out of the stakes winner Muhaawara ($131,297).

Sunny Ridge prompted the early pace and finished gamely to win the Withers (G3) last out in his first start off a two-month break. The last two winners of this race came out of the Withers. He ran well over wet tracks two and three back, missing in the Delta Jackpot (G3) by a neck and was second in the Champagne (G1).

The colt owns a solid pace profile throughout and is proven on the inner track. This guy looks primed for a top effort here but his price seems likely to be less than the 7-2 morning line.


WIN: Conquest Big A to win at 4-1 or better.

EXACTA: 2,6 / 2,6,7,8

TRIFECTA: 2,6 / 2,6,7,8 / 2,3,6,7,8



Road to the Kentucky Derby Package

Catch Derby Fever with Michael Dempsey’s Road to the Kentucky Derby Package! Subscribers receive ALL of Michael’s Saturday’s Reports now until the first Saturday of May!

Included in the package is coverage of all of the major Derby preps, his Best Plays Report and his full card reports each Saturday! In addition, this package includes his Kentucky Oaks Day and Kentucky Derby Day Reports! Now reduced to only $69.95!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll

No. Horse Points
1 Flightline 351
2 Life Is Good 306
3 Olympiad 292
4 Jackie's Warrior 282
5 Clairiere 142
5 Country Grammer 142
7 Epicenter 121
8 Regal Glory 89
9 Nest 87
10 Hot Rod Charlie 48
As of August 1, 2022

DRF Past Performances

Check out the most powerful
interactive Past Performances
used by Michael Dempsey. Use the code TENOFF19 which gives
you a 10% discount on any DRF Formulator plan that is one month or longer.


Free Horse Racing Picks

Get free horse racing picks each day from expert race handicapper Michael Dempsey Click Here

Belmont Stakes News & Reports
Breeders' Cup
Turf ‘n’ Sport handicapper Michael Dempsey has the Belmont Stakes covered with his selections, analysis and fair odds for every race on the card!
Wager on the Belmont Stakes
Belmont Stakes News

Belmont Stakes Reports

Horse Racing Betting Tips

Horse Racing Betting Tips
Turf 'n' Sport handicappers give out basic horse racing handicapping information..