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Thursday's Picks from Aqueduct

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The racing office at Aqueduct put together a good card for Thursday as we start off the week, but Mother Nature may mess things up.

Five of the eight races are carded for the turf, with some competitive races, but there is rain in the forecast for much of the morning and afternoon, and there is a very good chance we are going to be off the grass today for most if not all of the turf races.

The weather should improve heading into the weekend and while the Road to the Kentucky Derby ended last week, we have quite a match up coming up Saturday at Oaklawn Park.

The $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) at Oaklawn Park drew both Swiss Skydiver and Monomoy Girl in what should be one hell of a showdown.

The two met up in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) last fall at Keeneland where Monomoy Girl took the field gate to wire to complete her 2020 campaign with a perfect record in four starts. She earned the Eclipse Award for Older Dirt Female.

She won the Bayakoa (G3) in the slop at Oaklawn Park in her 2021 debut.

Swiss Skydiver did not fire her best in the Distaff in her first start against older, checking in seventh. She had beaten the boys in the Preakness Stakes (G1) in her previous start and was won the Eclipse Award for top three-year-old filly.

The Ken McPeek trainee won the Beholder Mile (G1) at Santa Anita in her first start this year.

I will include my selections and analysis for the race in Saturday’s Best Plays Report along with the $1 million Oaklawn Handicap (G2), the $200,000 Elkhorn (G2) from Keeneland and the stakes action from Aqueduct.

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 Thursday 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 and my Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby Day Reports.

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


Race 1 Clm $35,000N3L

  • #1 Rhythm Section / 1a The Last Zip   7-2
  • #7 Crypto Cash   4-5
  • #5 First Line   2-1
  • #6 Ninja Dust   6-1

Analysis: The Last Zip gets the call and with over an inch of rain in the forecast I am assuming we are going to be off the turf this afternoon. Our top pick chased the early pace and weakened to finish sixth last out here on the main track at this level. The runner up and third place finisher both came back to win next out. Both of his wins have come on turf and he is 0 for 2 on the main track but is bred top and bottom to handle a wet track. He seems capable of better than his last. Entrymate Rhythm Section was outrun over a wet track last out against $50,000 starter allowance foes. His first five starts came on turf, two wins including beating $40,000 claimers. He has a slid off track pedigree and fits here dropping back in for a tag.

Crypto Cash made his last start at this condition at Oaklawn Park. He was next to last early and made up some ground late to finish fifth. Sharp claimed this guy for $50,000 out of a neck loss versus restricted $50,000 claimers at Keeneland over a wet track last October. He is 0 for 4 for the new barn but has been facing better than these. 


Race 6 OClm $40,000N2X

  • #10 Singular Sensation   3-1
  • #5 Bank Sting   4-1
  • #8 Irish Constitution   6-1
  • #7 Secret Love   9-2

Analysis: Singular Sensation makes her first start off a four-month break for the Hennig barn that is on the light side with layoff types, hitting at a 5% clip with runners coming back off a 61–180-day layoff. This gal set the early fractions and weakened to finish third last out in the state bred Bay Ridge going nine furlongs here. The runner up Mrs. Orb came back to win the state bred La Verdad in her next outing on Jan. 3. The mare cuts back to seven furlongs here and has enough tactical speed she should be able to handle the cut back. She broke her maiden in the slop back in '19 and is bred to like a wet track.

Bank Sting is perfect in two starts after returning off a long layoff, her debut effort coming in Dec. of '19. She broke her maiden off the bench two back going seven furlongs over a wet track, taking the field gate to wire. Last out she stalked the early pace and drew clear to beat state bred Alw-1 foes by nearly five lengths. The Terranova trainee makes her third start off the bench and appears to still have plenty of upside. 


These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their Pick 4 or Pick 5 wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win wager. 


  • R2: #1 War Terminator   8-1
  • R4: #4 Princess Pinky   15-1
  • R5: #3 Wear My Ring   10-1
  • R7: #10 Velvet Crush   12-1
  • R8: #1 Write This Down   8-1
  • R8: #7 Social Whirl   12-1 

Good luck today!

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Mike Dempsey Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year-round as well as covering the biggest events including the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup.
A professional handicapper and horseplayers for more than three decades, no handicapper in the industry works harder and been more successful in bringing horseplayers analysis that produces profits at the track!

Mike has owned racehorses and knows the racetrack from the backstretch to the finish line.

Mike is in his second decade of producing great results for the readers of Vegas Insider. Among his scores in the Kentucky Derby include winning with his top pick Animal Kingdom who paid $43.80 in 2011 and Super Saver at $18.00 in 2010.

While favorites have dominated the Run for the Roses in recent years, Mike’s full card analysis for every race on each card is always looking for value for horseplayers looking to pad their wagering bankroll.

Mike's Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card each day.

Check out Mike’s daily column At the Gate where he offers up free selections and live longshots.

Join Mike daily with top picks from Churchill Downs or grab winners in the Weekend Best Plays Report in the horse racing Multi-Track package. Want more action? Sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
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