At the Gate - New Year's Day
January 1, 2014
By Mike Dempsey
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We start a new year this afternoon at Aqueduct, and for the leading trainer and jockey in New York for 2013, it will be a tough act to follow.
Javier Castellano led all jockeys in New York, booting home 239 races combined at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga. In 2013, Castellano's mounts earned $26.3 million overall, breaking the previous record of $25.6 million set in 2012 by recently retired Ramon Dominguez.
The Ortiz brothers were second and third in New York for the year, with Irad winning 222 races and Jose booting home 211 winners on the year.
Trainer David Jacobson set an all-time record by saddling 164 winner in the Big Apple this year. The previous mark was set by Gary Contessa, who won 159 races in 2007.
Todd Pletcher was next in line with 117 winners, followed by Chad Brown with 101 trips to the winner’s circle.
Last year Jacobson shared top honors with now suspended Rick Dutrow, each saddling 110 winners in 2012.
Jacobson has been lighting it up since racing shifted to the inner track on Dec. 11. He has won 23 races from just 75 starters, good for a 31% win clip. Next in line is Rudy Rodriguez, who has saddled 13 winners from his 44 starters (30%).
Jacobson has a slow day with starters in just three races on the New Year’s Day card at the Big A. The card features a pair of stakes, the $100,000 Affectionately for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles and the $100,000 Interborough at six furlongs, also for the ladies.
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Here is today’s opening from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Alw $20,000s (12:25 ET)
7 Bet the Power 2-1
6 Dr. Wesley 7-2
4 Tyrus 10-1
5 Haverhill 6-1
Analysis: Bet the Power made a good late rally while wide to run them down last out and win against $20,000 starter optional claimers in his first start off the claim by the Terranova barn. The effort was flattered when runner up Moments Notiz came back to beat Alw-3 optional claimers in his next outing here on Dec. 26. This guy seems to fire just about every time out, landing in the exacta in 19 of his 28 starts and this is a great spot here facing starter allowance foes. He looks capable of winning right back for a sharp outfit that does not visit the claim box often.
Dr. Wesley set the early fractions and weakened to finish third last out against Alw-2 optional claimers here over a wet track going seven furlongs. Two back at Monmouth Park this guy earned a solid figure beating Alw-1 company at six furlongs. The cut back in distance here should suit him and he owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers. He will be tough to catch if able to shake loose early.
WIN: #7 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 6,7 / 4,5,6,7
TRI: 6,7 / 4,5,6,7 / 1,4,5,6,7
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 The Interborough (3:48 ET)
6 Baby J 3-1
5 Delightful Quality 2-1
2 Lion D N A 6-1
4 Fantasy of Flight 7-2
Analysis: Baby J tracked the early pace from the outside and finished evenly last out in a third place finish in the Garland of Roses, catching a muddy racing strip. She makes her second start off a two-month break and she catches a field here where she looks like she may be able to grab the early lead. Four back she won the Victory Ride (G3) in gate to wire fashion at Belmont Park. She owns solid early and mid pace numbers and put in a quick work on Dec. 27.
Delightful Quality also exits the Garland of Roses where the mare stalked the early pace and came up the inside with a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot. It was her first go off a three-month break for the Albertrani barn. She fits here with her best but does have a habit of landing in the bottom half of the exacta. Her lone trip on the inner was a game second in the restricted Cagey Exuberance last January.
WIN: #6 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 5,6 / 2,5,6
TRI: no play
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: #4 Tyrus 10-1
R2: #1 C C’s Pride 8-1
R4: #1 Charming Eyes 8-1
R6: #8 Blue Sixty Four 8-1
R7: #7 Sandy’z Slew 12-1
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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