It's going to be windy, but it looks like we are on at Aqueduct today after getting snowed out on Saturday.
There is going to be strong and gusty winds that are going to approach 25-30 miles per hour for today's nine-race card. There is no stake today as both that were in the condition book failed to fill.
We have five straight races that are for maidens, which has led to some grumbling among some horseplayers I talked to, but as most of you know, I have never met a maiden race I did not like.
There is a stake at Gulfstream Park this afternoon, the $100,000 Ocala, which drew a field of six Florida breds that will go one mile on the main track.
The race may have drawn a small field, but there is not much that separates the top contenders. My Pal Chrisy, who is coming off a 7 ¼ length win in a state bred stake at Calder is the 5-2 morning line favorite.
Trainer Martin Wolfson sends out a pair, the speedy Speak Easy Gal and Sugar Swirl (G3) runner up Golden Mystery, and they are my top two picks in the race.
Don't forget there is racing at Aqueduct on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, and then the track will be dark on Wednesday and Thursday.
Sunday's Best Plays Report includes my eight strongest plays from Aqueduct and Gulfstream Park.
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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)
8 Dawly 5-1
5 Won Great Classic 3-1
3 Siete Machos 5-1
2 Saints Alive 10-1
Analysis: Dawly came back off a seven week break last out where the gelding stalked the early pace and could not make up much ground in the stretch in a fourth place finish. He caught a racing strip that was playing to inside speed. The gelding is a two time winner on the inner track and is bred to love a wet track. The gelding owns back numbers good enough to easily beat this group and is making just his fourth start of the year.
Won Great Classic dueled for the early lead and weakened to finish sixth last out against state bred allowance foes at Finger Lakes. His last win came on the inner track against restricted $10,000 claimers in the mud back in January. He owns a good edge in early and mid pace numbers and adds blinkers today. He has landed in the exacta in 7 of his 14 starts on the inner track and may prove tough to catch.
WIN: #8 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 5,8 / 2,3,5,8
TRI: 5,8 / 2,3,5,8 / 2,3,5,7,8
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Gulfstream Park:
GP Race 5 The Ocala (2:37 ET)
5 Golden Mystery 3-1
1 Speak Easy Gal 4-1
3 My Pal Chrisy 5-2
4 Successful Song 3-1
Analysis: Golden Mystery tracked the early pace, came with a four wide bid and could not get to the winner late in a runner up finish in the Sugar Swirl (G3) last out. The Wolfson runner is now 0 for 8 this year, but she does have four runner up finishes and she drops into a softer spot here facing state breds. She has run well over the main track here with three wins and a couple of seconds in 10 trips.
Speak Easy Gal prompted the early pace, took over the lead and then faded to finish a well beaten sixth last out in the My Charmer Handicap (G3) on turf. She has done her best work on turf and her only main track win came on a wet track. However she earned her career top three back at Calder on dirt against allowance foes in a race taken off the grass. I like the jock switch here to Castellano and this gal may end up offering the best value in this smallish field.
WIN: #5 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 1,5 / 1,3,5
TRI: no play
Analysis: Rice to Riches has won two of her three career starts, last out beating $25,000 claimers on the main track here with something left in the tank. She was claimed out of the race by the Duggan barn that is showing a 0 for 2 mark first off the claim. If we go back five years the barn has hit with 4 of 13 (with a +ROI) first off the claim. She is the lone runner in here that has beaten winners and while she is exiting a hot barn it is encouraging to see Ramon stick with her here. She is bred to handle a wet track.
Miss Sweet Afleet ships in from the left coast and Levine does good work with runners coming in from SoCal owned by Valente. The filly broke her maiden last out for a $30,000 tag at Santa Anita despite getting off a beat slow and lugging in on the way home. Her local drills are quick and if she breaks better she looks like a good fit here. The Levine barn is 26% winners (with a +ROI) first off the claim.
WIN: #3 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 3,8 / 2,3,7,8
TRI: 3,8 / 2,3,7,8 / 2,3,6,7,8
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.
Mike DempseyMike 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. The 2015 Triple Crown saw Mike correctly predict American Pharoah to win both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Mike nailed the Exacta and Trifecta in the Belmont Stakes. Mike had a solid 2014 Triple Crown race season, 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 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. No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track! Mike's Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card. Join Mike each day with daily picks from Belmont and Churchill Downs or you can get his Weekend Best Plays Report in his Multi-Track package or sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
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Jerry SessaJerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to VegasInsider.com. When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins. Heading into the 2016 Triple Crown season Jerry is cashing big! On 4/16 at Keeneland, Jerry hit an $819 exacta that led to a $38k Trifecta & a $300k Super.
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