Spring has officially sprung in New York, just try and overlook that snow on Monday. The winter meeting at the Big A is over and we are back on the main track on Wednesday.
The Ortiz brothers dominated the winter meeting, Irad winning 79 races while Jose was second in the standings with 76.
The duo may continue to dominate for a couple of weeks, but when Gulfstream Park closes on April 5, several top jockeys will be returning to the Big A including John Velazquez, Jose Lezcano, Edgar Prado and Javier Castellano.
New York’s top jock Ramon Dominguez is still on the sidelines following a fractured skull he suffered in a spill on January 18.
Dominguez met with his with his neurosurgeon on March 25, and while he says he is feeling good, he still does not have the green light to get back to work.
“I had an MRI and saw my doctor this morning,” said Dominguez. “While he is very pleased with the progress I have made, I am not completely healed and need to continue my therapy. I feel very good physically and mentally, but my injury was serious and I need to take more time to allow myself to fully recover.”
Rudy Rodriguez was the top trainer with 41 winners at the winter meeting despite missing the last couple of weeks with a 20-day suspension, which ends on April 4.
His brother Gustavo seems to be keeping things in order, winning with five of 16 starters.
The field size at the Big A should increase as horses ship back from Florida, and grass racing is just around the corner. The first turf races are in the condition book for April 3, as long as Mother Nature cooperates.
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Here is today’s opening from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Clm $12,500N2L (12:50 ET) 1 The Winged Venus 7-2 4 Grace's Neh Neh 2-1 8 Toe Jam Football 5-2 6 Speedy Lee D 5-1
Analysis: The Winged Venus returns off a two month break off a fifth place finish at this level going two turns on the inner track. The filly came with a five wide rally and was making up ground late over a racing strip that had a strong inside speed bias that day. The winner My Sparky came back to beat restricted $12,500 foes in her next start on March 7 and the third place finisher File Gumbo came back to $20,000 non-winners of two in her next start on Feb. 17. She broke her maiden in her lone go over the main track here which came at today's one turn mile distance.
Grace's Neh Neh did not fare well in her first start against winners, fading to finish eighth versus state bred Alw-1 optional claimers. She broke her maiden two back in her first go off the claim by the RRod barn. While RRod serves out the last couple of days of his suspension the barn has fared well under his brother who was 5 for 16 at the inner track meeting as the named trainer.
WIN: #1 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,4 / 1,4,6,8
TRI: 1,4 / 1,4,6,8 / 1,3,4,6,8
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 OClm $14,000N1X (4:22 ET) 3 Won Great Classic 5-2 10 Iron Lou 12-1 5 Master Cip 2-1 6 Tancredi 8-1
Analysis: Won Great Classic tracked the early pace and tired to finish fifth last out against state bred Alw-2 foes as the beaten favorite. The gelding bounced off a hard fought neck loss two back at that level in his first go off the claim by the Rice barn. He drops a notch in class here to the Alw-1 level and looking for him to bounce back with a better effort. The gelding has landed in the exacta in 3 of 5 trips on the main track here.
Iron Lou made a good late rally to get up and win at this level last out at 6-1. The gelding was claimed out of the race by the Toscano barn that is showing a 0 for 6 mark first off the claim. Going back five years the barn is 1 for 29 first off the claim. He comes back here at the same level and he has won two of his three trips on the Big A main track. "No Go" sticks and the 12-1 morning line looks generous.
WIN: #3 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 3,10 / 3,5,6,10
TRI: 3,10 / 3,5,6,10 / 3,4,5,6,10
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 Brickhouse Baby 12-1
R4: #4 Ocala Jim 8-1
R4: #1 Golden Greeley 12-1
R5: #7 Consoles Gotta Go 10-1
R6: #8 Private Irving A 8-1
R6: #5 Go Giant Bry Go 12-1
R8: #10 Iron Lou 12-1
R8: #6 Tancredi 8-1
R9: #2 Wild Siren 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 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 daily with top picks from Aqueduct or Gulfstream Park. You can also 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. Jerry opened the 2016 Triple Crown season by hitting his Derby Day best bet, Nyquist. He also nailed the Derby exacta for a $30.60 payout. On 4/16/16 at Keeneland, Jerry hit an $819 exacta that led to a $38k Trifecta & a $300k Super.
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