Let’s look at a few spots for today’s post-Thanksgiving racing at Aqueduct and Churchill Downs.
Aqueduct Race 3 (Key Cents) – This is a sprint for two-year old New York-breds and we’ll try #4 Newport Breeze (8-1) who turns back to six furlongs after setting a very fast pace going a mile last time in the Maid of the Mist. She had a very interesting trip three-back in the Seeking the Ante at Saratoga where she dropped back and re-rallied, apparently not handling dirt in her face, and then broke slowly in the Gimma. If she returns to her better form going shorter, she can upset.
Aqueduct Race 4 – #7 Rapt (4-1) has run some solid races going this mile and a sixteenth distance and struggled going longer. He stays at 8.5 furlongs today after a solid race last time where he rallied well behind wire-to-wire winner Black Tide in the NY-bred Mohawk Stakes.
Aqueduct Race 7 – If she takes some money, we’ll bet #3 Hail (5-1), who is a Tapit half-sister to Close Hatches and Lockdown going out for Bill Mott. Mott is 18% with a $2.42 ROI (DRF Formulator) debuting fillies on the dirt in sprints. Remember, he debuted Elate this weekend last year to a rousing debut victory.
Aqueduct Race 8 – #2 Small Bear (5-1) has always been a pretty good horse and faces a much easier field this time than he did in the Hill Prince last time out. His two-back race at Saratoga was good, going wide while Hieroglyphics saved more ground. We’ll play him with the logical favorite #4 Secretary at War (3-1), who should be the controlling speed and will appreciate the class relief and the cutback to 8.5 furlongs.
Aqueduct Race 9 – I don’t want to play Miss Sky Warrior at a short price so let’s try our old friend #2 You Know Too (20-1), who we did play last time at Laurel when she didn’t run especially well but she should sit a good trip behind the expected solid pace, should stretch-out, and will get the jump on our preferred closer #3 Parade (6-1). If You Know Too can run back to her Delaware Oaks, or even her Spinster where she middle-moved against older, she can spice up the exotics.
Churchill Race 9 (Mrs Revere) – This three-year old turf test is led by Daddys Lil Darling, coming out of a runner-up finishing the Grade 1 QEII last time at Keeneland. Still, let’s try #3 Westit (10-1). She is second-time North America, but first time Graham Motion and first-time Lasix. Her US debut was against some very good older horses – Off Limits (our pick for Sunday’s Matriarch at Del Mar), My Impression, and Elysea’s World. Westit might prefer turf that is a bit more firm than she likely gets here but she should be a very attractive price.
Churchill Race 11 (Clark Handicap) – Diversify is obviously the horse to beat off his win in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, but maybe #2 Seeking the Soul (6-1) is the “now-horse” for trainer Dallas Stewart. He jumped up to a career-best 103 Beyer last time, a figure that fits based on what was earned in there by the second, third and fourth place finishers. His prior Churchill race was solid, rallying behind Honorable Duty, who had it his way on the lead – that won’t be the case here with the presence of Diversify.