Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:51 AM

Friday's Picks from Aqueduct

Rain fell most of the day Thursday in New York and was forecast to continue overnight but should stop soon enough that I am hoping we have a fast track by Friday afternoon at Aqueduct.

This is the last week we are on a Friday to Sunday schedule as we will be back racing on Thursdays starting next week.

We have a big day at Fair Grounds on Saturday with eight stakes including the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2). The race is the first 100-point Road to the Kentucky Derby race. There are 10040-20-10 points offered up to the top four finishers.

The winner stamps a ticket to Louisville and even the 40 points for the runner up spot might be good enough to make it into the starting gate on the first Saturday of May.

The Louisiana Derby drew a field of eight including the top four finishers of the Risen Star (G2) on Feb. 13. That race was won by Mandaloun, who is the 8-5 morning line favorite on Saturday.

The Brad Cox trainee was the 2-1 betting favorite in the Risen Star. He tracked the early pace and took command in the stretch, kicking clear late to win by 1 ¼ lengths.

The runner up was Proxy, and on Saturday he will add blinkers for trainer Mike Stidham. It looks as if he has a good shot of turning the tables.

The co-feature is the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) which is a prep race for the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs which will be run on April 30.

The top three finishers of the Rachel Alexandra (G2) return. That race was won by Clairiere, the Steve Asmussen trainee winning by a neck over Travel Column.

An interesting alternative may be Zaajel, who won the Forward Gal (G3) at Gulfstream Park going seven furlongs in her stakes debut. The Todd Pletcher trainee will be making her first start around two turns on Saturday.

I will have selections and analysis for the major stakes from Fair Grounds in Saturday’s Best Plays Report.

You can stream the action from Aqueduct today on YouTube or by using the TVG App. The horse betting company based in the U.S. is offering a 50% deposit match up to $250 .  In addition, AmWager is offering up to a $500 bonus for new horseplayers.

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 which include the major Kentucky Derby preps.

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


Race 1 Clm $16,000

  • #6 Cadeau de Paix   3-1
  • #4 Dirty Bird   8-1
  • #3 Miss Liana   7-5
  • #1 Awesome Alana   5-1

Analysis: Cadeau de Paix stalked the early pace while saving ground in the mud over a speed friendly racing strip and finished evenly in a fourth-place finish against $50,000 starter allowance company. This gal came off a long layoff three back with a sharp win versus $25,000 non-winners of three but has regressed in her last pair. She is back in for a tag here and blinkers are added for the Klesaris barn. She reunites with the bug Cardenas who was aboard her for her win three back and should turn things around facing softer.

Dirty Bird made a mild late run to finish fourth last out against $12,500 foes. The winner was Miss Liana who is the favorite in here and she took full advantage of an inside speed favoring racing strip in that win. Perhaps our second choice here can turn the tables and certainly is going to offer more bang for the buck if she goes off near her 8-1 morning line. It has been a while since her last win as she has now lost 13 in a row but is going to over some value in this spot and just needs to see a little pace in front of her. 


Race 7 OClm $50,000SAL

  • #3 Centavo   6-1
  • #6 Civil War   7-2
  • #1 Make It in Ny / 1a Bowing Snowman   6-1
  • #2 Doublepour    15-1

Analysis: Centavo dueled from the early lead and drew off to break his maiden over a wet track in his first start at a mile. He opened up a clear lead and won by 5 3/4 lengths. The third-place finisher Ohyoudidntknow came back to graduate for a $20,000 tag in his next start while the runner up Tapit's Flashback ran second for a $40,000 tag in his next start. The colt faces winners here and has shown improvement in each of his last three starts. The Martin barn has been very live at the meet, hitting at a 25% clip. This guy looks as if he may still have some upside, and this is not a very tough looking spot for his first go against winners.

Civil War broke his maiden for a $40,000 tag in his debut last September at Monmouth Park and the barn elected to try him in graded stakes company in three of his last four starts. He returns with lasix and a class drop here. Last out he was not a threat in a sixth-place finish in the Withers (G3) going nine furlongs. He did earn a speed fig that makes him competitive versus this group. 


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 wager. 


  • R1: 4 Dirty Bird   8-1
  • R2: #6 Rosey’s Peach   10-1
  • R2: #2 Investment Grade   8-1
  • R7: #2 Doublepour   15-1 

Good luck today!

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