It’s a beautiful day here in New Jersey and up and down the coast. Let’s try to pick a few winners. We already looked at today’s late pick-4 at Laurel, which includes two graded stakes. Now, let’s look at a few random spots at Gulfstream and Aqueduct.
Gulfstream Race 7 – 3 yo MSW, 8.5 furlongs, turf – Hopefully the bad post bumps his price up to the 8-1 morning line, but we like #12 Secretary at War (8-1). He was bet to 4-1 in his debut and drew the rail post. Things didn’t go well. He was fractious and acted up in the gate, then broke inward at the start. From there, he made an early inside move on the backstretch, finally angled out, but didn’t have a rally in a race controlled on the front end. He should improve today in his second start for trainer Jimmy Jerkens. I’d expect #5 Brooklyn Bobby (6-1) to take money. By Frankel, and named after the legendary trainer Bobby Frankel, he was bet to 6-5 in his Saratoga debut in August and hasn’t been seen since. It would be no surprise if he can run and jumps way up, but I think he’ll be shorter and didn’t really pick up his feet in his debut. Shug McGaughey runs #3 County Court (7-2), a Janney-homebred that has run pretty well in each of his first two starts. But he’ll be a pretty short price to take on a horse that will be coming from well back and likely needs pace.
Gulfstream Race 9 – 3 yo MSW, 8 furlongs, dirt – 14 three year olds going a one-turn mile. This is a fun race. The horse to beat is probably #13 Newman (4-1). He debuted against Practical Joke (subsequent Hopeful and Champagne winner) at Saratoga and then ran very well with serious trouble – stuck behind the tiring pace-setter before getting clear. He didn’t run well in the 9 furlong Remsen but turns back to 8 furlongs here. Our top pick, however, is #7 Stone Mountain (5-1). He took little money in his 8.5 furlong debut for Rusty Arnold, but ran very well. The track was sealed prior to the race and appeared to be a more tiring surface. He jumped out to the lead and set a pretty fast pace and hung in until the last furlong. Now he turns back to a one-turn mile for a trainer that has won with 4 of his last 14 dirt second time starters (DRF Formulator). #3 Patch (9-2) was ridden and ran like he needed a start and wanted more ground in his January 15th debut. He gets that here for Todd Pletcher. Our longshot uses are #9 Meantime (20-1), half to Sweet Reason, for Brian Lynch, and #4 Moneigh Moproblems (12-1), off a two-turn muddy Aqueduct debut where he took some money for George Weaver. This is a very tough race, but should prove useful going forward.
Gulfstream Race 10 – 4/up, OCn2x, 7.5 furlongs, turf – Not much of a price on #6 Tombelaine (7-2), but he would be a lone-A in a pick-4 or pick-5 play. His last race was even better than it looks. He got bumped a bit at the start, and was stuck behind a preposterously slow pace. He was flying late into a final 3 furlongs run in 34.5 seconds. He has a chance to be a good miler this year and is very likely better than these.
Gulfstream Race 11 – 4/up Stk (White Pearl), 7 furlongs, dirt – #1 Moment of Delight (6-1) makes her second start for David Fawkes, draws the rail, will go to the lead, and I think will wire the field. She had to chase a solid pace last time, but I think has the lead to herself today with an aggressive ride from Luis Saez. The favorite is #9 Sophia’s Song (3-1) for Todd Pletcher. She ran one big race when 2nd to Irish Jasper in a Saratoga allowance race, but none of her other seven races are nearly good enough.
Aqueduct Race 3 – 4/up, NY-bred n1x, F&M, 8 furlongs, dirt – #4 Three Eighty Eight (4-1) was stuck in a race dominated up front last time and had a hopelessly wide trip, losing significant ground on both turns (66′ feet more than the winner per Trakus).
Aqueduct Race 4 – 3 yo, NY-bred MSW, 6 furlongs, dirt – #6 Valiant Man (10-1) had legit trouble at the start of his debut, was inside behind horses around the turn, and ran on decently when he got to the outside behind a dominant winner. Michelle Nevin’s runners are often better in their second starts (9-42, $2.09 ROI with second-time starters in dirt maiden races per DRF Formulator).
Aqueduct Race 8 – 4/up, NY-bred Stk (Broadway), 6 furlongs, dirt – There should be a fast pace in here with #5 Court Dancer (5-1) and #6 Hot City Gal (6-5), the favorite. This might be a bit on the short side for #1 Jet Majesty (8-1), but she might be worth a shot after chasing Wonder Gal while wide going 8.5 furlongs last time against a gold rail. She’s going to have to be forwardly ridden a bit but if the race does come apart, she could pick up a few pieces late. Our pick, however, is #8 She’s All Ready (10-1). She should get a very good outside stalking trip behind the fast pace. While her last two races weren’t great, they were on wet tracks.