Let’s take a look at a few spots on Sunday at Gulfstream and Aqueduct.
Gulfstream Race 7 – 3yo Maiden Special Weight, 5 furlongs, turf – There’s not a lot to go on in this race, with some shaky form, horses coming out of weaker fields, and horses coming off good trips. It might be a good spot to look for a price. The horse to beat is #7 Storm Team (3-1) for trainer Alan Goldberg. He ran well in his debut, closing nicely to be third but did so with a pretty good trip and with the overall flow of the race. Plus, he barely beat Gemoligister, who will be a longshot here. Our play might not be good enough, but we’ll try #6 Mongo Nation (6-1). Yes, he’s owned by Mike Francesa. He’s been bet in each of his first three starts, and ran well in his Saratoga debut in August before forging a strong pace at Kentucky Downs in September. Off the layoff on February 5th, he broke fine, but looked like he was dragged back out of position early – it’s possible the horse was acting up on his own, hence the addition of blinkers. He switches to Luis Saez and figures to show more speed today and if he runs back to his races from last year, has a shot at an overlaid price.
Gulfstream Race 8 – 3yo Maiden Claiming, 8 furlongs, turf – Several of these come out of a January 8th race won by Adonis Creed, who set a pretty solid pace and drew off to bury the field in a well-above par performance for the level (Md 75k). He came back to win last week in a starter allowance. Adonis Creed in the January 8th race, set the pace and the race collapsed behind him, with the 2-3-4 finishers coming from 10-11-12th in the field. The horse that chased Adonis Creed early was #6 Notjudginjustsayin (6-1), our pick in this race. He was 5-wide into the first turn that day, chased the fast pace, and then faded from there, but was only beaten 5 lengths by the 2nd place finisher. That was Notjudginjustsayin’s turf debut and we’ll take the Alan Goldberg trainee to improve with a better trip and spring the mild upset.
Gulfstream Race 12 – 3yo Maiden Special Weight, 9.5 furlongs, turf – On the Pegasus undercard, we played #4 American Deluxe (6-1) who comes back in this race after a 7th place finish. We’re going to play him back here. In that race, he sat off the pace, had come very wide into the lane, and ran evenly behind a few in this race that received very good ground-saving trips. That was American Deluxe’s first start off a 3.5 month layoff and he figures to improve here. His two races at two included a second-place finish behind subsequent Breeders Cup 4th place finisher Ticonderoga and then a throwout race in which he was stopped cold while rallying in the stretch. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens’ runners often improve second off the bench and we think American Deluxe has some improvement in him.
Aqueduct Race 6 – 3yo fillies, Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs, dirt – The favorite is #1 Cosi Bella (5-2) who did little running on turf in her September 10th debut. Trainer Chad Brown didn’t take her to Florida with his other turf horses. Plus, Cosi Bella’s lone sibling is Miss Aja Brown, who has earned over $100,000 and has both of her wins on turf. She has some fast dirt workouts for this race but we’ll try to beat her with #4 China Rider (3-1). She is a seven-start maiden but only four of them were dirt sprints and two of those were in May and June. Last time, she got wired by Heavenly Score but defeated Full House, who returned to win a maiden race by 13 lengths and yesterday ran second in the Busher Stakes to Yorkiepoo Princess. China Rider’s two previous races were routes, one on synthetic, but she is much better spring on dirt.
Aqueduct Race 8 – 3yo NY-bred OC/n1x, 6 furlongs, dirt – It looks like there should be some legit pace in this race between Tribecca, Blue Belt and even Single Heist, and hopefully that sets things up for #6 Macho Miah (5-2). His sprint races in the fall were pretty good, especially his 2nd place finish to Gold For the King at Finger Lakes on October 1st. He faded in the sloppy-track Sleepy Hollow on October 22nd and then was caught wide off a gold rail and fast pace on a muddy track on December 29th in the Damon Runyon. He’s back sprinting today and should get a good set-up. We could also see him drifting up a bit from his 5-2 morning line price to the 3-1/7-2 range as the third choice.