At the Gate - Friday
November 1, 2013
By Mike Dempsey
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It is that time of year where every horseplayer get excited, and I have barely been able to sleep the past few nights.
That’s right, Aqueduct opens Friday! The eight-race blockbuster card gets underway at 12:25 eastern and there is a little rain in the forecast.
So, I guess we might as well head out to sunny Southern California for the Breeders’ Cup.
The big news on Thursday was the scratch of the Bill Mott trained Ron the Greek from the $5 million Classic (G1). The six-year-old was coming off an impressive victory in the Jockey Cup Gold Cup (G1), a race that the last three Classic winners used as a final prep.
I had made Ron the Greek my top pick and I thought we would get close to the 8-1 morning line, but I had to revise my selections for the Classic. If you purchased my Breeders’ Cup Package, I have updated it with a revised order for the race.
Five of the 14 Breeders’ Cup races will be run on Friday’s 11-race card at Santa Anita, starting with the $500,000 Marathon (G2).
Nobody seems to get excited about these plodders going 1 ¾ miles, but in the last three years the exactas have paid $453.60, $668.40 and $505.00. We were lucky enough to hit the 2010 Marathon exacta that paid $453.60 thanks to a disqualification.
The winner paid $23.20 and my top pick in the race was 26-1 Gabriel’s Hill, who set the early fractions and weakened late to finish third, but was placed second after the disqualification of Prince Will I Am.
This year’s Marathon drew a field of 10 with no clear standout so we could see the toteboard light up again.
Next up will be the $1 million Juvenile Turf (G1) which drew a field of 13 including four crossing the pond. Bobby’s Kitten was an impressive winner of the Pilgrim (G3) in his last start for trainer Chad Brown.
U.S. based runners have won four of the five editions of this race, but the Euros have a good shot this year. Aidan O’Brien sends over a pair of runners in Giovanni Boldini and Wilshire Boulevard and Outstrip appears to have a ton of upside.
The $1 million Dirt Mile (G1) drew a solid field that includes seven Grade 1 winners led by the Todd Pletcher trained Verrazano, who is the 3-1 morning line favorite.
One of the toughest races on the card is the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) which drew a full field of 14 including four shippers. The Mark Casse trained My Conquestadory is coming off a win in the Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland on poly but drew a tough post.
The Euros are led by Vorda, winner of the Cheverly Park Stakes (G1) at Newmarket in her last outing.
The $1 million Distaff drew a compact field of six, but is one of the most anticipated races of the Breeders’ Cup. Princess of Sylmar takes on two time defending champion Royal Delta in a rematch.
The two hooked up in the Beldame (G1) at Belmont Park and Princess of Sylmar got the best of the champ by two lengths.
The duo is getting most of the ink, but 2012 Juvenile Fillies (G1) champion Beholder is five for six over the Santa Anita main track and Close Hatches is no slouch coming into the race off back-to-back Grade 1 wins in the Mother Goose and Cotillion.
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Here is today’s opening from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Clm $12,500B (12:25 ET)
3 Madame Prosecutor 6-1
2 Insolvent 6-5
6 Bird Cay 6-1
9 Rodinia 4-1
Analysis: Madame Prosecutor pressed the early pace and was no match for the winner in the stretch in a runner up finish, four lengths clear of the rest of the field against $20,000 non-winners of two or three-year-olds. The filly was claimed out of the race by the Englehart barn that is 12% winners first off the claim. The trainer is coming off a solid Belmont Park meeting where he won overall at a 21% clip. The filly always seems to be in the mix and she is bred top and bottom to handle a wet track and there is rain in the forecast.
Insolvent drops into an easier spot here after setting the early fractions and weakening to finish fifth as the chalk against $50,000 starter optional claimers. Two back on turf she wired similar company. She owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers and is a danger to wire this group The Jacobson barn claimed her for $35,000 and jams her in for $12,500 here just four races later but that is not that unusual for the connections. She broke her maiden over a sloppy track at the Spa last year.
WIN: #3 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 2,3 / 2,3,6,9
TRI: 2,3 / 2,3,6,9 / 2,3,6,9,11
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 7 OClm $14,000N1X (3:44 ET)
10 Daisysgonnamakeit 7-2
9 Golden Galaxy 2-1
6 Pegasus Diamond 6-1
3 Pennywise 6-1
Analysis: Daiseysgonnamakeit makes her second start off a five-month layoff here for the Asmussen barn. Last out off the bench the filly set the early fractions and weakened inside the final furlong to finish third against state bred Alw-1 optional claimers. She owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers and should move forward second off the bench and while this gal is 0 for 2 on wet tracks she is bred top and bottom to handle the off going. She beat Alw-1 optional claimers here last fall over the main track here but was tagged that day making her eligible to go here without the barn losing her.
Golden Galaxy beat $10,000 claimers last out on ply at Keeneland. This gal has been popular at the claim box, taken six times this year. She steps up a notch to the $14,000 level for the Laurer barn that is showing a 1 for 9 mark first off the claim. She is three for seven over wet tracks in her career. She was claimed for $35,000 three ties earlier this year and being dangled out for just $14,000 makes me think this gal could have problems.
WIN: #10 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 9,10 / 3,6,9,10
TRI: 9,10 / 3,6,9,10 / 3,5,6,9,10
Today’s Featured Races of the Day from Santa Anita:
SA Race 5 The Twilight Derby G2 (1:02 PT)
3 Den's Legacy 10-1
2 Charming Kitten 4-1
7 Kid Dreams 3-1
10 Gervinho 6-1
Analysis: Den's Legacy exits one of the division of the Del Mar Derby (G2) where the colt checked in third while beaten 1 1/2 lengths for the top spot. The colt stalked the early pace while in between foes and had to steady to avoid clipping heels of the winner and held on for third in deep stretch. Three runners have come out of that race to win next out, fourth place finisher Kid Dreams winning the Hawthorne Derby (G3) and fifth place finisher general Election winning the Jefferson Cup (G3) at Churchill Downs on Sept. 28. The colt has come back with a couple of quick works including a bullet drill on Oct. 27 over the main track here.
Charming Kitten had a tough post last out and caught soft footing in the Hawthorne Derby (G3). The colt stalks the early pace, came with a wide run and finished up well for the runner up spot while no match for the winner Kid Dreams who drew away to win by 7 3/4 lengths. The colt gets a jock upgrade to Todd Pletcher's go-to guy John Velazquez and the colt is a stakes winner over firmer ground, taking the Kitten's Joy at Gulfstream Park back in January. If we toss his two tries on off tracks in races taken off the turf this guy's form looks pretty good. He is a full brother to turf stakes winner Queen'splatekitten ($387,313).
WIN: #3 to win at 5-1 or better.
EX: 2,3 / 2,3,7,10
TRI: 2,3 / 2,3,7,10 / 2,3,5,7,10,12
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 Charlie Renee 10-1
R3: #5 Canela Rose 8-1
R4: #5 Sokitumi Samurai 8-1
R5: #10 Recovered 12-1
R6: #2 Cash Your Ticket 8-1
R8: #9 Copper Beeches 10-1
R8: #3 Four Zees 20-1
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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