Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:55 AM

At the Gate - Thursday

We are a little more than two weeks into the winter meeting at Aqueduct and we have seen a few trends develop.

Among them is the way the main track has been playing at the Big A. Over the years the Aqueduct main track and the old inner track tended to play to speed and we have seen the exact opposite the past two weeks.

Speed has not been holding very well, with the edge going to outside stalkers and closers on nine of the 14 days of the meeting to date. The other days I have rated as “fair” to all running types.

Things could change, but for now at least the tendency is to give the edge to runners that are coming from off the pace.

Linda Rice is running away in the trainer standings, with 19 winners from just 60 starters, winning at a 32% clip. Next in line is Rudy Rodriguez with nine winners.

Rice may not end the meeting as hot as she started it. She has a meeting with the New York State Gaming Commission next month. She is being accused of giving money and gifts to racing office personnel in favor of early information on horses entered in races. She could be facing a suspension.

Jose Lezcano has opened a clear lead in the jockey standings with 28 winners from 88 mounts, a 32% win rate. Eric Cancel has 16 winners and Dylan Davis is having a good meeting with 14 winners.

With the Ortiz brothers wintering in Florida, there is not much depth to the jockey colony right now.

With turf racing done for the winter the field sizes are starting to shrink a bit, but today’s card, despite a field short fields looks as if it offers some decent value.

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

AQU Race 1 Clm $8,000 (12:50 ET)
#2 Captain Frost 7-2
#5 Purimeter 2-1
#1 Eden Ridge 5-2
#3 Ekati Wildcat 9-2

Analysis: Captain Frost set the early fractions and tired to finish fifth last out over a wet track here on New Year's Day that was splaying to outside stalkers and closers. That was against non-winners of three and now he drops in for $8,000 but these are open company. His two previous start at Finger Lakes were not pretty but he did break his maiden over the main track here at a mile in Dec. of '18 and then beat state bred Alw-1 optional claimers at the same distance in his first start against winners. He is in good hands with Rice who has been very live at the meeting, hitting at a 32% clip.

Purimeter chased the early pace and weakened to finish fourth last out at Laurel Park against starter optional claimers going a one turn mile. The winner Bobby G came back to win at the same level next out and then ran third in the Richard Small at Laurel Park. Breen finds a soft spot for him here tagged for $8,000.

WIN: #2 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 2,5 / 1,2,5
TRI: no play

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:

AQU Race 5 Alw $50,000s (2:55 ET)
#3 House Limit 7-2
#7 Danny California 6-1
#5 Spectator Sport 7-2
#6 Super Silver 2-1

Analysis: House Limit tracked the early pace and finished up well despite the jock dropping the stick in the stretch, drawing off to win by 2 1/4 lengths in a sharp effort against $50,000 non-winners of two at Churchill Downs. The gelding makes his third start off the bench here for the Mott barn and he looks as if he will be able to handle nine furlongs. Looks like a good spot here taking on starter allowance foes.

Danny California stalked the early pace and made a good late rally to finish a close up third last out a giant state bred Alw-1 foes, beaten a half-length in the slop going a mile. The winner Joe's Smokin Gun came back to state bred $25,000 claimers by eight lengths in his next outing. Noda claimed this guy for $20,000 where he trounced non-winners of three by 9 1/2 lengths. He looks headed in the right direction and he has a win at nine furlongs, beating $30,000 non-winners of two at the Spa last summer.

WIN: #3 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 3,7 / 3,5,6,7
TRI: 3,7 / 3,5,6,7 / 1,3,5,6,7

R2: #5 Flattering Eyes 8-1
R3: #5 Minit Maus 10-1
R4: #7 Big Boy Mo 10-1
R6: #4 Vicar’s Legend 8-1
R7: #2 Proschema 8-1
R8: #6 Latin Love Bug 12-1

Good luck today!

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