Today is a very good day of racing around the country and we’ll try to pick out a few winners here. Yesterday, we had a few nice hits with Small Bear winning at Aqueduct and Seeking the Soul taking the Clark at Churchill (and surviving a jockey’s objection in the process).
Today, we’ll look at a few races at Aqueduct, Churchill Downs and their Stars of Tomorrow II card, and Del Mar who runs a few very nice races on their closing weekend.
Aqueduct Race 3 – A few of these have been running against each other – #1 I’m a Captain Now (5-2), #9 Culture Carrier (2-1), and #8 Captain Hardship (4-1). We prefer Captain Hardship, who was most compromised by a very slow pace last time out and two-back had to wait for room after getting shuffled back late on the far turn. All three can win, but we’ll try Captain Hardship, who should be the biggest price of the trio.
Aqueduct Race 8 (Turf Sprint Championship) – #11 Bucchero (3-1) is the favorite after a solid fourth in the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint, but this race will feature an extra furlong, not an insignificant difference, and a much thicker and lusher turf course than he’s run on in his last two races. We like #3 White Flag (7-2) as a horse and can excuse his last race on the soft turf at Woodbine. We’ll use in a multi-race wager, but he might be a little short to play on the win end in this competitive field. Our top pick is #5 Conquest Panthera (6-1), who was a closing fourth in the Woodford (behind Bucchero) after a slight steady at the top of the stretch. He ran a decent race last time on yielding turf going a mile at Churchill Downs and turns back to six furlongs for this race. He’s probably best going seven furlongs, but hopefully he gets enough pace and he’ll be a solid price. We should note that #4 Rainbow Heir (10-1) is an interesting horse at his morning line price, though we just think he’s at his absolute best on the rock-hard, super-firm turf courses of Florida or what you get in the mid-summer, not over Thanksgiving weekend at Aqueduct.
Aqueduct Race 9 (Discovery) – There should be a decent pace in here and that could help #2 Can You Diggit (8-1), stretching back out to two-turns for trainer Jimmy Jerkens. He ran fine last time going a one-turn mile when he was forced back inside in the stretch. His two nine-furlong races featured fairly moderate paces that helped Twisted Tom, who has been in great form all year.
Churchill Downs Race 11 (Kentucky Jockey Club) – We’re against the horses coming out of the Street Sense, a slow race that featured a bunched finish. #6 Enticed (4-1) might be the horse to beat. The son of G1 winner It’s Tricky was close to the fast pace in the Champagne last time and hung on well to be third. Good Magic, who was second in that race and also chased the fast pace, of course came back to win the Breeders Cup Juvenile. #5 Givemeaminit (6-1) has been one of our favorite two-year olds this year and should benefit from the expected solid pace, but we want to try an up-and-comer for Dale Romans. #12 Tiz Mischief (8-1) we thought was very impressive breaking his maiden at Keeneland on October 7th and he’s been pointed to this race since then – presumably Romans didn’t want to cut him back to the one-turn of the Street Sense. In his maiden-breaking win, which was one-tenth of a second slower than the G1 Breeders Futurity on the same card, Tiz Mischief had a bit of a stop-and-start trip and leveled off nicely to run down a loose-leader. It was a solid performance.
Del Mar Race 7 (Hollywood Derby) – #7 Mo Town (3-1) freaked in his turf debut last time out, a 6 1/2 length win with a 102 Beyer, making him the horse to beat. However, we want to try #3 Channel Maker (5-1) for Bill Mott. He, like several of today’s rivals, come out of the Twilight Derby which featured a very slow pace. Channel Maker made a decent rally late from well out of it but had no chance to win trying to make up significant ground into a final three furlongs run in 34.49 seconds.