At the Gate - Saturday
December 1, 2012
By Mike Dempsey
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The 14th running of the Claiming Crown is set for Saturday at Gulfstream Park, and it looks as if the event is going to be back on the radar among horseplayers.
The races are for horses that have started for a claiming tag, and the races were popular betting options for horseplayers during the early years the event was held at Canterbury Park.
However, it is tough for a track going up against the big boys on a Saturday afternoon, and the Claiming Crown lost some of its identity by shifting venues and racing at Parx Racing and Ellis Park.
Last year the races were held at Fair Grounds and only 37 runners showed up for the scaled back event, with only five races being run.
It looked like the event was losing luster faster than a $5,000 with a bowed tendon.
Fast forward to 2012 and we are back to seven races and 97 horses are entered in the races, assuring large and competitive fields and great betting opportunities.
There will be plenty of attention paid to the Claiming Crown this year, as the event is being held at Gulfstream Park, and on opening day no less.
It should be a banner day, and there is little doubt the handle for the Claiming Crown will hit a record high.
An interesting new wager is being introduced this year. Gulfstream Park is offering a 10-cent Claiming Crown Pick 7 with a $100,000 guaranteed pool and a mandatory payout. The wager has a 20% takeout.
I have a special handicapping report for Saturday's opening day card at Gulfstream Park which includes all seven Claiming Crown races. The report can be accessed by clicking here.
Saturday's Best Plays Report includes my eight strongest plays from Aqueduct and Gulfstream Park.
Purchase my Monthly Package and receive an entire month of Aqueduct action and my weekend Best Plays Reports for just $99.95.
To purchase my full card report for Aqueduct for Saturday click here.
Here is today's opening from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Clm $15,000B (12:30 ET)
7 New Yawker 3-1
9 Flying Pegasus 5-2
4 Footcandles 7-2
2 Tazered 6-1
Analysis: New Yawker was claimed by the Jacobson barn two back for $20K and the gelding failed to fire his best in his first start for the barn, and we have not seen that happen too often recently as the barn has been on fire. He did catch a solid group last out that included a couple of next out winners and one other that ran second next out. He has done his best work on turf but looks like he fits here dropping in for a $15K tag.
Flying Pegasus comes back off a three month break here and makes his first start for the Rice barn that is 21% winners (with a +ROI) first off the claim. He ran a game second two back at the Spa against $20K non winners of three or a race since March 15. Last out he tracked the early pace and came up empty in the stretch in a ninth place finish. The freshening may suit this guy but he does have a habit of landing for minor shares.
WIN: #7 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 7,9 / 2,4,7,9
TRI: 7,9 / 2,4,7,9 / 2,4,5,7,9
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Gulfstream Park:
GP Race 4 The Claiming Crown Express (2:09 ET)
5 Tiban 5-1
10 Pot of Gold 10-1
2 Gibson 6-1
9 Cover Price 3-1
Analysis: Tiban ships in from Churchill Downs for the Glyshaw barn and is coming off a solid runner up finish against Alw-1 company. The gelding set the early fractions and could not match strides late with the winner while better than ten lengths clear of the rest of the field. The winner of that race was Seven Lively Sins, who was graded placed as a juvenile. Our top pick has landed in the exacta in 12 of his 13 starts this year and while he was on the pace last out his last couple of wins came sitting off the pace and that strategy would suit this guy here as there is plenty of speed signed up.
Pot of Gold had landed in the exacta in his first dozen starts this year, but failed to fire last out in a sixth place finish against $10K starter allowance foes at Philly last out. The winner and the fifth place finisher came out of the race to win their next starts. The gelding had won her three previous starts including a game neck win two back going seven furlongs against $8K starter allowance foes that produced a career top speed fig. He is in a sharp barn with Navarro and looking for him to bounce back with a better effort here at a decent price.
WIN: #5 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 5,10 / 2,5,9,10
TRI: 5,10 / 2,5,9,10 / 2,4,5,6,9,10
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 6 The Garland of Roses (2:50 ET)
5 Delightful Quality 5-2
7 Kid Kate 2-1
4 Singlet 5-1
6 Withgreatpleasure 12-1
Analysis: Delightful Quality returns off a two month break after running second behind loose on the lead Ullapool, who was taking full advantage of an inside speed favoring racing strip. Three runners have come out of that race to win next out including the third place finisher Willet, who came back to win the state bred Iroquois by 9 1/4 lengths, and then she came back to miss wining the Go For Wand (G2) by a neck here on Nov. 23. Two back our top pick ran a good second behind My Miss Aurelia in the Mandy's Gold. The winner came back to win the Cotillion (G1) at Parx and then run second in the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic (G1) in her most recent start. She owns a solid pace profile throughout and looks tough in this spot.
Kid Kate is coming off a third place finish in the Pentelis behind the Puerto Rican wonder girl My Wandy's Girl, a winner of 14 of 18 starts who came back to run third in the Gazelle (G1) in her next start. The Chad Brown trainee won the Classy Mirage two back which was her sixth career stakes win. She makes her final career start here and looks like a legit threat, but our top pick appears to have more upside and will likely offer more value for the top spot.
Singlet brings some speed and is coming off a game runner up finish in the Ms Woodford at Monmouth Park. The filly has landed in the exacta in 7 of her 9 career starts for the Tony Dutrow barn that has been sending out live runners at the meeting. She owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers and could shake loose early. The connections of the entry said Jelly Cable would be sent early to set things up for her stablemate Moonlit Malibu, but she does not look quick enough to get to the front. Word has it that trainer Todd Pletcher may scratch Morrow Cove.
WIN: #5 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 5,7 / 4,5,7
TRI: 5 / 4,6,7 / 4,6,7
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: #2 Golden Tornado 8-1
R4: #7 Rettalfa 10-1
R5: #5 Why Argue 12-1
R6: #6 Withgreatpleasure 12-1
R7: #10 Tmesis 12-1
R7: #9 Miz Topgallant 10-1
Good luck today!
HORSE RACING EXPERT
Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders’ Cup.
Last Year Mike had a solid Triple Crown, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick.
Mike has also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby, winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively.
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