At the Gate - Wednesday
January 30, 2013
By Mike Dempsey
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Wednesday’s third race at Aqueduct features the 2011 Grade 1 Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On Ice, who will be making his first start since last September.
The Kelly Breen trainee was the upset winner of the third jewel of the Triple Crown at 24-1 over a sloppy track, but has gone winless in nine starts since that victory. His last outing came in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup last September where he fell far behind the field and was eased in the stretch.
The gelding is coupled in the betting with stablemate Nacho Business, who has not started since taking the restricted Sam’s Town at Delta Downs on Nov. 19, 2011. The entry is 8-5 on the morning line, but Breen has indicated he may scratch Nacho Business, which would leave just five in the race.
Aqueduct has been plagued by short fields, although the card today looks pretty good and is enhanced by a Pick 6 carryover of $32,203.
Field size so far at the meeting is averaging 6.9 runners, down from 7.9 last year. The New York Racing Association Reorganization Board has suggested cutting racing back to four days a week, which could go into effect as early as next week, but has to get authorization for the reduction in racing days from lawmakers.
I am all for cutting back to four days a week if the result will mean increased field size. Currently Aqueduct is racing five days a week and scheduling nine races a day.
The cut back to four days would likely change racing to Thursday through Sunday, with Saturday’s card featuring ten races.
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Here is today’s opening from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Clm $15,000 (12:30 ET)
4 The Cat's Mine 7-2
1 Lisalisalee 9-5
6 Hoboken Honey 2-1
3 My Smartness 6-1
Analysis: The Cat's Mine tracked the early pace, altered course to the outside heading for home and finished up well to get the nod in a photo for the runner up spot last out. The filly caught a racing strip that was playing to inside speed that day. She makes her third start of her current form cycle and second start for the Contessa barn.
Lisalisalee was a good looking maiden winner last out against state bred $25,000 foes in her first trip on the inner track. She was claimed out of the race by the Galluscio barn that is 18% winners (with a +ROI) first off the claim. She owns the top last out speed fig and this is not a real tough spot for her first try against winners.
WIN: #4 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,4 / 1,4,6
TRI: no play
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 6 Md $25,000 (2:50 ET)
3 Gravitate 2-1
7 Lucky My Way 5-2
5 Bluegrassislegal 6-1
4 Sunning Lady 7-2
Analysis: Gravitate invades from Churchill Downs and lands with the Galluscio barn for her second career start. The mare checked in third in her debut for a $30,000 tag, a race that has produced four next out graduates. She adds blinkers and has a decent pedigree, out of a stakes placed Trippi mare that has dropped a couple of winners, top earner She Wears the Best ($17,710). Galluscio is 19% winners (with a +ROI) with newcomers to the barn.
Lucky My Way dueled for the early lead and faded to finish sixth last out for a $35,000 tag at the Spa last August. The filly was claimed out of the race by the Violette barn and returns here off a 5 1/2 month break. The barn has been very live at the meeting, hitting at a 32% clip. The filly is a half to stakes winner Awesome I Am ($198,432).
WIN: #3 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 3,7 / 3,4,5,7
TRI: 3,7 / 3,4,5,7 / 3,4,5,6,7
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.
R2: #3 This Ones for Nina 8-1
R4: #2 Rough Winter 12-1
R7: #1 Winmor Gold 10-1
R8: #3 Princess Mara 10-1
R8: #6 Mrs. Calabash 15-1
R9: #1 Hurling 8-1
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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