The races managed to stay on the turf on Thursday at Aqueduct through the first two races, but then the rain came heavy and the main track at Aqueduct became sloppy while the remainder of the races were taken off the turf.
The early forecast for Thursday called for a 90% chance of rain throughout the day, but two hours before post time the track was fast and the turf was firm, and the forecast called for cloudy skies for the next few hours.
It is hard to believe the National Weather Service could get the forecast wrong twice, but they did. The good news is things are looking up for Friday in the Big Apple, as well as at Keeneland and Oaklawn Park this weekend.
There is only one race carded for the grass at Aqueduct today. The opener is a state bred $40,000 maiden claimer going 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf course. I am hoping we are back on turf but if not, my top pick Exfiltration looks capable on either surface.
Don’t forget we have two $1 million races at Oaklawn Park on Saturday—the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) for older runners going 1 1/8 miles and the Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles.
The Apple Blossom drew the top two females in training in Monomoy Girl and Swiss Skydiver.
Monomoy Girl, last year’s Eclipse Award winner for top older female has won 14 of her 16 career starts and has earned $4.5 million.
Her two losses were by a neck in the 2017 Golden Rod and when she was disqualified for interference in the 2018 Cotillion at Parx Racing. She won the 2018 and 2020 Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
She takes on last year’s Eclipse Award winner for top three-year-old female in Swiss Skydiver. She beat the boys last year in the Preakness Stakes (G1). She was a disappointing seventh in the Distaff.
There is a mare by the name of Letruska who is pretty good. She has won 12 of her 17 career starts and comes into the race flying under the radar. I will have selections and analysis for the race in tomorrow’s column.
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.
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Here is the opener from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQUEDUCT RACE 1 ANALYSIS (1:20 P.M. ET)
Race 1 Md $40,000
#5 Exfiltration 5-1
#8 Quiet Horizon 7-2
#3 Scott Alaia 4-1
#6 Cosmic Kitten 8-1
Analysis: Exfiltration gets the call and whether we are on the grass today is anyone's guess. This filly drops in for a tag for the first time here after three starts on the main track. She is by Twirling Candy out of an Empire Maker mare that has dropped one dirt winner. She is in good hands with the DePaz barn and McCarthy sticks. She is bred for a wet track so she still is a good fit here if this race comes off the grass.
Quiet Horizon debuts for the Clement barn that is 23% winners (with a +ROI) with first time starters. She is by Mizzen mast out of a Langfuhr mare that has dropped three foals to race with a pair of winners including one turf winner. She wintered at Payson and has put in three local drills since returning to New York. She looks ready to go and this looks like a good spot debuting for a $40,000 tag.
AQUEDUCT RACE 7 ANALYSIS (4:34 P.M. ET)
Race 7 OClm $40,000N2X
#1 Just Right 9-2
#3 Daddy Knows 7-2
#4 Control Group 5-2
#5 Wild Banker 6-1
Analysis: Just Right stalked the early pace and finished up well in a third-place finish last out at this level missing out on the place spot in a photo. The gelding was making his first start off the claim by the DePaz barn that took him for $25,000 two back out of a fourth-place finish against state breds. His last win came over a wet track beating $25,000 state breds going six furlongs while in the Pletcher barn, this barn's former boss. He gets a jock upgrade to Ortiz who is off to a quick start since returning from Gulfstream Park. The gelding is 3 for 8 over the Big A main track and is bred top and bottom to handle a wet track.
Daddy Knows dueled for the early lead while getting out and weakened to finish third last out against Alw-1 company over a wet track. The RRod barn claimed him for $14,000 and he has won twice in his four starts for the barn. He is back with state breds here. He passed his first state bred condition in the slop last January. He owns solid early and mid pace numbers and there are plenty of runners in here with some early zip that can keep him company up front.
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their Pick 4 and Pick 5 wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win wager.
R1: #6 Cosmic Kitten 8-1
R3: #4 Yerosilverbiz 10-1
R3: #7 Jailbreaker 8-1
R5: #5 Whistling Birds 8-1
R6: #5 Cadeau de Paix 15-1
R8: #3 Mebs Web 8-1
Good luck today!