At the Gate - Sunday
December 22, 2013
By Mike Dempsey
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Hollywood Park opened in 1938 and the great Seabiscuit won the first running of the Hollywood Gold Cup. Now 75 years later the track will run its last 11 races on Sunday afternoon.
Post time for the finale this afternoon is 5:34 pacific when a full field of $25,000 starter allowance foes will hit the Cushion Track one last time. The Jeff Mullins trained Depreciable is the 7-2 morning line favorite.
There is one stake left to be decided, the $200,000 King Glorious for state bred juveniles going seven furlongs. It is a solid betting race, drawing a field of 11.
Generous (G3) runner up Aotearoa is the 5-2 morning line favorite for the Leonard Powell barn. The gelding has won two of his five career starts, a maiden win on poly and a turf win in the Zuma Beach.
The feature at Aqueduct this afternoon is the $100,000 East View for state bred juvenile fillies that was originally scheduled for Dec. 15, but that card was wiped out by the bad weather.
Originally there were six set to go and after the race was redrawn, we have eight going to the post led by Miss Narcissist (2-1), who has won three in a row and will be going two turns for the first time.
I am giving the slight edge to Flipcup (5-2), who is shipping in from Woodbine and will be making her first career start on conventional dirt.
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Here is today’s opening from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 OClm $50,000SAL (12:20 ET)
1 Clawback 2-1
3 Much Stronger 6-1
2 Chapman 7-2
5 Scherer Magic 6-1
Analysis: Clawback came back off a four-month layoff with a sharp victory against restricted $35,000 claimers last out and had no takers despite being a stakes winner. He won the Jimmy Winkfield on the inner track back in January. Now he comes back off nearly a three month break, not exactly a good sign we have not seen this guy sooner. The barn finds a good spot here facing starter optional claimers but he is again offered up for a $560,000 tag today. He owns a solid pace profile throughout and looks capable of winning right back.
Much Stronger came off a two month break last out and failed to fire his best in a sixth place finish against $35,000 starter optional claimers. He lost by a neck two back at that level and won his two previous starts. He is better than he showed last out and the cut back to six furlongs may suit him. He does sport a 0 for 3 mark on wet tracks and we might see some moisture in the racing surface today.
WIN: #1 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 1,3 / 1,2,3,5
TRI: 1,3 / 1,2,3,5 / 1,2,3,5,7
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 The East View (3:43 ET)
4 Flipcup 5-2
2 Miss Narcissist 2-1
8 Mile. Minuit 12-1
5 Champagne Ruby 6-1
Analysis: Flipcup invades from Woodbine where last out she was off a beat slow when jostled at the break, chased the early pace and could not make up much ground in the stretch in a third place finish in the Canadian bred South Ocean over poly, her first trip going long. The runner up in the race was Paladin Bay, who returned to win the Ontario Lassie in her next outing on Dec. 14. Our top pick won her first two starts, both sprinting on the fake stuff. The filly lands with the Weaver barn that is 26% winners (with a +ROI) with newcomers in the barn and this is not a real tough spot here facing New York breds for the first time.
Miss Narcissist tries two turns for the first time here off back to back stakes wins, taking the state bred Joe Gimma two back and last out just getting up late to win a New York Stallion Series race. She looks capable of being on the lead here on the stretch out but the three inside of her are also all going sprint to route we may see a sharp pace here which may end up benefiting our top pick. The Rice barn is 20% winners moving runners from sprint to route. She has a decent off track pedigree and we might see some rain today.
WIN: #4 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 2,4 / 2,4,5,8
TRI: 2,4 / 2,4,5,8 / 1,2,4,5,8
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Hollywood Park:
BHP Race 10 The King Glorious (5:05 PT)
8 California Chrome 3-1
9 Aotearoa 5-2
11 Life Is a Joy 8-1
2 Play Hard 4-1
Analysis: California Chrome cuts back to seven furlongs and returns to the fake stuff her. The colt won the state bred Graduation over poly at Del Mar three back and broke his maiden over the Cushion Track here. The colt has worked smartly since his last outing and figures to bounce back with the surface switch and the cut back in distance.
Aotearoa stalked the early pace and finished up well for the runner up spot last out in the Generous (G3) on turf. This gelding has a stakes win versus open company, taking the Zuma Beach three back on turf and he broke his maiden at Del Mar over poly. He is reunited with Nakatani who was aboard for his stakes win. The gelding has plenty of experience in the mornings over the Cushion Track.
WIN: #8 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 8,9 / 2,8,9,11
TRI: 8,9 / 2,8,9,11 / 2,4,8,9,11
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: #4 One Smokin Cat 10-1
R3: #1 Frogman Mel 12-1
R4: #9 Colonial Juanita 10-1
R5: #1 Jazzington 15-1
R8: #8 Mile Minuit 12-1
R9: #5 Absolute Paradise 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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