It looks like Aqueduct has thawed out enough that racing will resume on Saturday after getting canceled on both Thursday and Friday due to frigid conditions in New York.
In addition we have an outstanding betting card at Gulfstream Park on Saturday featuring the Grade 3 $400,000 Holy Bull and the Grade 2 $200,000 Forward Gal.
The headliner in the Holy Bull, a key early prep for connections with aspirations on getting to Louisville on the first Saturday of May, is the 2012 Eclipse Award winning juvenile Shanghai Bobby.
The Todd Pletcher trainee was perfect in five starts last year, capping off the year by winning the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and becoming an early favorite for the Kentucky Derby.
The colt makes his three-year-old debut today in the Holy Bull, which is the first of three preps for Derby hopefuls at Gulfstream Park, followed by the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on Feb. 23 and the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 30.
Despite his perfect record last year I am not sold on the colt being able to get 1 ¼ miles at Churchill Downs in just over three months, and he looks like he could end up an underlay on Saturday afternoon as well.
His 4-5 morning line sure looks light considering there are several promising and talented foes that will try to end his winning streak.
Among them are Grade 3 Delta Jackpot runner up Bern Identity, Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club runner up Frac Daddy, and Gulfstream Park Derby winner Itsmyluckyday.
The co-feature on Saturday’s card is the Forward Gal, which drew a field of six three-year-old fillies that will go seven furlongs. For several of the runners that race serves as a starting point to stretching out and becoming a candidate for the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, but not for the favorite.
Kauai Kate has won four of her five career starts with the lone loss coming in her only start around two turns, a fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Her trainer Todd Pletcher said he is going to keep her at one turn this year.
She really looks tough at a short price, but does face a couple of talented fillies in stakes winners My Happy Face and Spring Venture as well an interesting invader from Puerto Rico.
Fusaichiswonderful is perfect in five starts in Puerto Rico and has not been tested, and she now lands in Pletcher's barn. Completing the field are Ashlee’s Princess and Pow Wow Wow.
The feature at Aqueduct on Saturday is the $75,000 Affectionately, which drew a field of five led by R Gypsy Gold, who is the 4-5 morning line favorite.
I will try to beat her, and I have to say these five and six horse fields in stakes races at Aqueduct over the past month is really getting old.
Analysis: Undrgroundregulatr makes his third start off the bench for the Asmussen barn. Two back off a five month layoff the gelding dueled for the early lead and weakened to finish fourth. Last out she was sent off as the favorite but stumbled badly coming out of the gate and was not a threat in a sixth place finish against $15,000 non-winners of two or three year olds. She faces bit easier going up against straight non-winners of two and figures to bounce back with a much better effort with a better break.
Crushin Rock set the early fractions and weakened to finish third last out at this level. It was her first trip on the inner track and she owns solid early and mid pace numbers. She owns the top last out speed fig and looks like a good fit here for the Levine barn that has been live at the meeting, hitting at a 36% clip.
WIN: #3 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 2,3 / 1,2,3,6
TRI: 2,3 / 1,2,3,6 / 1,2,3,4,6
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 The Affectionately (3:48 ET) 5 Twice the Lady 3-1 4 R Gypsy Gold 4-5 2 Stephanie Jayne 6-1 2 Withgreatpleasure 7-2
Analysis: Twice the Lady chased the early pace and could not go with the winner late in a runner up finish last out against Alw-2 optional claimers, catching a racing strip that was kind to inside speed. She was making her first start off a 2 1/2 month break and she looks as if she may be sitting on a top effort here in just her third start since August. She was second in both of her trips on the inner track, both on the off going. She owns solid late pace numbers and landed in the exacta in 6 of her 9 starts in 2012. She is in good hands with the Tony D. barn and looks like she has the best shot of beating the chalk in this small field.
R Gypsy Gold was beaten just a neck last out in the Ladies Handicap on New Year's Day. That was the mare's first trip on the inner track in her career. She mixed it up in graded stakes company in her four previous starts and this looks like a good spot for her here and the cut back in distance suits her. With Ramon out Pletcher turns to the hot Ortiz who in the last year has only ridden once for the barn. She is the local one to beat but her price is going to be on the light side.
WIN: #5 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 4,5 / 2,4,5
TRI: no play
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Gulfstream Park:
GP Race 10 The Holy Bull G3 (5:05 ET) 4 Bern Identity 4-1 2 Frac Daddy 8-1 1 Shanghai Bobby 4-5 6 Dewey Square 12-1
Analysis: Bern Identity makes his first start since running a good second in the Delta Jackpot (G3). The colt was shuffled back on the far turn, was angled out six wide and finished with a rush to come up 1 3/4 lengths short of catching Goldencents, who came out of the race to win the Sham (G3) in his next outing on Jan. 5 at Santa Anita. The third place finisher Mylute exited the Delta Jackpot to beat Alw-1 optional claimers by 10 3/4 lengths at Fair Grounds in his next start, and Show Some Magic excited the race to win the Allison Futurity at Sunland Park in his next start on Dec. 23. Our top pick won the Sanford (G2) in his first go against winners last summer at the Spa, and then was no match for Shanghai Bobby in the Hopeful (G2) at seven furlongs. Going two turns he may be able to turn the tables on the champ here and will likely offer better value for the top spot.
Frac Daddy makes his first start since getting beaten a neck in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs. The time of that race was on the slow side, but the colt that beat him is no slouch. Uncaptured has won six of his seven career starts including five stakes, two of them graded. The Ken McPeek trainee earned a solid figure two back in his maiden score and appears to be working sharply in the mornings over the Gulfstream Park main track. Decent value if this guy goes off near his 8-1 morning line.
Shanghai Bobby is undefeated in five career starts and capped off his championship year by digging in to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) by a head over He's had Enough, who came back to run fifth in the CashCall Futurity (G1) in his next outing. The Todd Pletcher trainee appeared to be aided by a racing strip at the Breeders' Cup that was playing to inside speed. He did handle Goldencents last year winning the Champagne (G1) and our top pick in the Hopeful, but just has the look of an underlay in this spot.
WIN: #4 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 2,4 / 1,2,4,6
TRI: 2,4 / 1,2,4,6 / 1,2,3,5,6,7
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.
R1: #6 Why Broadway 15-1
R2: #3 One Or the Other 15-1
R2: #8 Nine Cracks 8-1
R3: #1 Able Baker Charlie 15-1
R4: #6 Katmanstu 8-1
R5: #10 Winter Now 8-1
R6: #6 Our Day in Court 20-1
R9: #7 Suspicious U 15-1
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 success 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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