At the Gate – FridaySo far, the fields at Aqueduct are holding up pretty well despite the fact we are done with turf racing until the spring. On Saturday’s card five of the nine races have fields of nine or more.
Among those races is the feature on Saturday, the $500,000 Great White Way division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series which drew a full field 14 two-year-olds who will go seven furlongs on the main track.
We have a 50% chance of showers this afternoon and rain is forecast to fall overnight into Saturday afternoon, so there is a good chance we may have an off track.
The 5-2 morning line favorite is Dream Bigger, who won the state bred Notebook in his last outing at Aqueduct at six furlongs on Nov. 17. The Rudy Rodriguez trainee won the New York Breeders’ Futurity at Finger Lakes two back by 10 ¾ lengths.
Also on Saturday we will head out to Gulfstream Park where we have six stakes races including the $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday (G3) and the $200,000 Ft. Lauderdale (G2).
The Harlan’s Holiday drew a field of eight and it could produce a starter or two for the $9 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) which is coming up on Jan. 25.
Bodeexpress ran second in the Florida Derby (G1) last March and his connections have said the Pegasus is the target.
War Story ran 10th in the 2017 Pegasus and is the second choice at 7-2 in the Harlan’s Holiday. The gelding makes his first start for trainer Elizabeth Dobles who takes over from Jorge Navarro.
The 2-1 morning line favorite is Prince Lucky, who was fourth in the Bold Ruler Handicap (G3) in his last outing behind the winner Maximum Security, who came back to win the Cigar Mile (G1) last Saturday.
I will have selections and analysis for the race in tomorrow’s column.
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Here is the opening race from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Md Sp Wt (12:30 ET)
#3 Anydayisherday 5-2
#1 Freddymo Factor 2-1
#5 Petalite 7-5
#4 Dancing Slippers 9-2
Analysis: Anydayisherday tracked the early pace while saving ground and weakened to finish fifth last out over the main track here. Her best effort was two back where she ran a good second earning a career top speed figure. She has landed in the money in 4 of 7 starts and has a solid off track pedigree and we may get some rain today. She is the first foal to race out of a Hard Spun mare.
Freddymo Factor tries the main track for the first time here in her fourth career start. She has shown improvement with each outing, tracking the early pace and finishing evenly in a third-place finish last out going six furlongs on turf. By The Factor and the first foal out of a Giant's Causeway mare, she should take to the main track. She does not need to move forward much off her last to be a threat here and she has a decent enough off track pedigree if we get some rain.
WIN: #3 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 3 / 1,5
TRI: no play
Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 7 OClm $40,000N2X (3:28 ET)
#2 Five Star Bunt 9-5
#7 Playthatfunnymusic 7-5
#3 Kosciuszko 5-1
#6 Flash Drive 15-1
Analysis: Five Star Bunt took the field gate to wire last out to beat state bred $25,0900 claimers at Belmont Park. he did it while down along a deep rail much of the trip. He was claimed out of the race by the Handal barn that is 19% winners first off the claim. He steps back up to face state bred Alw-2 optional claimers and he came up short in his last eight tries at this level while in the care of the Rice barn. He has racked up the losses over the Big A main track as well, but catches a pretty soft spot here and a wet track would not hurt.
Playthatfunnymusic was a sharp winner versus $40,000 claimers last out going a mile here over a wet track. He beat state bred $25,000 claimers two back at today's 6 1/2 furlong distance. His last try at this level was a third at the Spa going nine furlongs. He makes his second start off the claim by the Tannuzzo barn and will appreciate the return to the state bred ranks. If the rains come that will be a big plus as he has landed in the exacta in 7 of 9 trips on the off going.
WIN: #2 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 2,7 / 2,3,6,7
TRI: 2,7 / 2,3,6,7 / 1,2,3,6,7
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 Lucky Six 8-1
R4: #2 Tayler’s the Boss 8-1
R7: #6 Flash Drive 15-1
R8: #8 Super Wicked Charm 10-1
Good luck today!
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