At the Gate – Friday

Friday’s feature at Aqueduct is the $100,000 Central Park, which was originally scheduled for Thanksgiving Day, but that card was wiped out due to high winds. We were off the turf on yesterday, but the weather looks fine for Friday.

A field of 10 entered the Central Park which will scratch down to seven if we are on the turf. The Michael Stidham trained Pixelate is the 8-5 morning line favorite. The colt made a good late run and came up just a neck short in the Awad at Belmont Park over good ground in his last outing on Oct. 26.

We have a big day coming up on Saturday at the Big A with six stakes on the 10-race card including the $750,000 Cigar Mile Handicap (G1) which drew a field of 11.

The 3-2 morning line favorite in the Cigar Mile is Maximum Security, winner of the Florida Derby (G1), Haskell Invitational (G1) and Bold Ruler Handicap (G3) this year. The colt crossed the wire in front in the Kentucky Derby (G1) but was disqualified for interference and placed 17th.

Among his foes is Spun to Run, who pulled of the upset in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Santa Anita in his last outing on Nov. 2. Other contenders include Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) third place finisher Whitmore (8-1) and Fayette (G2) third place finisher Bal Harbour.

I will have selections and analysis for the Cigar Mile in tomorrow’s column.

To purchase my Aqueduct Report for Friday click here.

Now is the perfect time to purchase my Monthly Package. It gives you a month of Aqueduct Reports daily and my Best Plays Report each Saturday and Sunday.

Here is the opening race from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:

AQU Race 1 Md Sp Wt (11:50 ET)
#6 Lots to Like 3-1
#2 Beauty Buzz 2-1
#4 Spin Control 3-1
#5 Our Ticket 6-1

Analysis: Lots to Like
debuts for the Matz barn that is 12% winners (with a +ROI) with first time starters. The filly is by Speightstown out of the stakes winner Like a Gem ($554,216) who has dropped four foals to race with a pair of winners, top earner stakes winner Hard Not to Like ($1.2 million). Solid works over the Tapeta at Woodbine and one drill at Fair Hill.

Beauty Buzz makes her first start since her debut at Gulfstream Park back in March where she checked in fourth behind a trio of next out winners. The winner Royal Charlotte is now a two-time graded stakes winner, taking the Prioress (G2) at the Spa back in August. The Hennig barn is 11% winners with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. She was a $25,000 Keeneland purchase, by Bernardini out of an Empire Maker mare that has dropped one other foal to ace, no winners to date.

WIN: #6 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 2,6 / 2,4,5,6
TRI: 2,6 / 2,4,5,6 / 2,3,4,5,6

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 9 The Central Park (3:45 ET)
#3 Homeland 5-2
#10 Pixelate 8-5
#4 Old Chestnut 6-1
#6 Ashraq 12-1

Analysis: Homeland
was bumped coming out of the gate in his debut. stalked the early pace, had to wait for some running room nearing the quarter pole and finished up well to win by 3/4 of a length. This guy was a $500,000 Keeneland purchase, by American Pharoah out of the turf stakes winner Khancord Kid ($167,743) who has dropped two other winners including Grade 1 winner Bar of Gold ($1.5 million). The colt looks as if he is going to move forward off his promising debut and is in good hands with the Mott barn that is having a good meet.

Pixelate broke his maiden over yielding turd two back in his third career start at Arlington park. Last out in his first start in New York he came with a good late rally to miss winning the Awad by just a neck in a good effort at 35-1. The Stidham trainee has moved forward in each start and does not need to move forward much off his last effort to be a major threat here. It looks as if he should get enough pace to run at and the extra half furlong here will suit him.

WIN: #3 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 3,10 / 3,4,6,10
TRI: 3,10 / 3,4,6,10 / 1,3,4,6,10

Live Longshots:
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: #7 Go Poke the Bear 12-1
R5: #7 Speed Talks 8-1
R5: #2 Honey Bourbon 8-1
R6: #4 Real Dan 8-1
R8: #7 Short Pour 10-1
R9: #6 Ashraq 12-1

Good luck today!