Thursday Aqueduct Spot Plays

Our Wednesday play did not run well, but there are a few horses we are interested in on Thursday’s card at Aqueduct.

Aqueduct Race 4 – I doubt the morning line price will hold up but we have to take a shot with #1 Momentiempo (12-1), who goes out for Jimmy Toner. She is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Time & Motion and makes just her second turf start. Her first turf run was last December here at Aqueduct on a soft turf course that she may not have handled. We’ll use her with #8 Pounds to Pennies (7-2), #3 Merger Arbitrage (3-1) and #9 Rain on the Dune (4-1).

Aqueduct Race 6 – Shug McGaughey sends out #1 Fly So High (3-1), who rallied very nicely last time in a race controlled up front. However, she figures to be way overbet here, and we prefer #5 Desert Isle (7-2). Desert Isle, for Graham Motion, ran very well in her debut at Keeneland, rallying from seventh in a race where the leaders were 1-2-3 at every call. She’s by Bernardini out of a Smart Strike dam that produced a Queen’s Plate winner, so the extra distance should be an asset.

Aqueduct Race 8 – #2 Grand Sky (2-1) is a deserving favorite, dropping back to state-bred company after two tries against open foes, but we’ll try #9 Sandy’z Slew (8-1) at a much better price. Sandy’z Slew makes his third start off the claim for trainer Jeremiah Engelhart. In each of his first two starts, he encountered some trouble and was unable to get clear. That shouldn’t happen here as he’s drawn outside in post nine. Further, he should get first run on the closers like Grand Sky pressing a likely moderate pace. Maybe this seven-year old isn’t the same horse he used to be, but he has some races that give him a good chance in this spot. Note that he hasn’t hit the board in two starts at Aqueduct. However, this is the first year Aqueduct has run turf sprints, so those starts were route races and he is a confirmed sprinter.

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Wednesday Play – Samadi Sky Can Wire Aqueduct Allowance

Today’s 8th at Aqueduct is a very interesting New York-bred allowance race that, though it just drew a field of six, came up pretty competitive.

Aqueduct Race 8 – This state-bred two-other-than drew a competitive field of six, led by #3 Can You Diggit (9/5), who goes out for trainer Jimmy Jerkens. Can You Diggit has run into Twisted Tom, a Chad Brown runner that has won every start this year save the Belmont Stakes and was an impressive winner of the Empire Classic last time. Can You Diggit rallied from seventh in that race, one that featured a moderate pace, to be a solid third behind the speed exacta, and he’s very logical in here.

However, this race does not feature a lot of early speed, and that could help our top selection, #4 Samadi Sky (8-1). Samadi Sky goes out for trainer Robert Barbara and goes turf-to-dirt after two tries going long on the grass. In his last race on November 5th, he tracked a fast pace that completely fell apart, chasing solid veteran Changewilldoyagood. Two-back, he rallied strongly to just miss at Belmont and finished ahead of two next-out allowance winners.

The biggest question for Samadi Sky is distance. He’s never gone this far on dirt. Both of those turf races, however, were at 8.5 furlongs, so it’s reasonable to assume the distance is within reach. In his most recent dirt race on September 22nd, he chased a very fast pace that fell apart. His two-back dirt race on August 25th at Saratoga, he was a perfectly solid second to an even-money Chad Brown runner and beat the solid veteran Eye Luv Lulu.

Samadi Sky figures to be the speed in here, and we’d expect Luis Saez to put him on the lead and have the rest of the field play catch me if you can. Our bet is, they can’t.

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Breeders Cup Rewind – Saturday (Turf)

bc_logo_4c1After looking at the Friday Breeders Cup races and the Saturday Breeders Cup dirt races, let’s look at the four Saturday Breeders Cup turf races – the Turf Sprint, Filly & Mare Turf, Mile, and Turf – as we put a bow on Breeders Cup 2017.

As expected, we’ll see all four turf winners benefited from picture-perfect trips. There’s simply no other way to do it in these deep and contentious grass fields on the sport’s championship day.

Previously Friday, Saturday (dirt).

Breeders Cup Turf Sprint 

Recap / Notes – Peter Miller’s horses ran 1-2 in here with Stormy Liberal just getting up over stablemate Richard’s Boy. Stormy Liberal hadn’t run since the Jaipur on the Belmont Stakes undercard, where he broke poorly and rushed up into a fast pace. Previously though, he had run five straight races on Santa Anita’s hillside turf course. Lady Aurelia was way overbet at 4/5, tracked the pace inside and had nothing in the lane.

Christophe Clement’s duo of Disco Partner and Pure Sensation ran 3rd and 5th with Disco Partner closing and Pure Sensation cutting out the fractions.

Holding Gold, our top selection, got caught in traffic at the top of the stretch behind some tiring rivals, including Lady Aurelia, but was moving very well late to only be beaten about a length and three-quarters.

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Saturday’s Aqueduct Late Pick-4

Aqueduct has a very nice card on Saturday with a strong sequence in the late pick-4. Let’s take a look.

Race 6 – #5 Variant Perception (7/2) debuted in the same race as #4 Allured (3/1), both for Chad Brown, on August 19th at Saratoga. Allured finished just ahead of Variant Perception that day, but we prefer Variant Perception, who makes his second start today (Allured was a distance second to the impressive Montauk on October 7th). Variant Perception took a lot of dirt that day and was a touch green in the lane. He should really appreciate the stretch to seven furlongs, and as a son of Curlin, ultimately the stretch to two turns.

This race also features a Godolphin son of Life Is Sweet (by Tapit) for Kiaran McLaughlin, #9 Labeq (8/1) and #1a Vino Rosso (4/1) for Todd Pletcher, a first-time starting son of Curlin.

Still, we are all about Variant Perception in here, using a few as back-ups only. If Vino Rosso or Labeq get heavily bet, we could upgrade one to an A, but mostly we’ll lean on Variant Perception.

A – 5
B – 1a
C – 4, 9

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Saturday Top Play – You Know Too Can Upset at Laurel

There are some good races around the east coast today including at Laurel where they run several stakes races. We’ve found a 15-1 shot we like in Race 6, the Safely Kept Stakes for three year old fillies going seven furlongs.

Laurel, Race 6 – Safely Kept Stakes – This is not the first time we’ve liked You Know Too, as we wrote her up for the August 12th Monmouth Oaks, a race in which she did very little running (she came into that race off a tough-trip behind eventual Cotillion winner It Tiz Well in the Delaware Oaks). However, after rebounding to an easily Delaware allowance win, she ran pretty well in the nine furlong Grade 1 Spinster, tracking the pace, making a nice move after the eventual winner, Romantic Vision, and flattening out late against older rivals. Today, she turns back to seven furlongs and should get some pace to attack at a big price. #6 You Know Too (15-1) is our upset pick.

#13 Your Love (5-2) is the morning line favorite for trainer Chad Brown, but comes out a good trip win against a very weak field and figures to be overbet.

#11 Shimmering Aspen (3-1) has the best race in the field, a 97 Beyer, 5 1/2 length win in a stakes here in August. She was not good in the Charles Town Oaks last time at 6/5 but that’s a two-turn seven furlongs and a lot of horses don’t handle the West Virginia bullring. She’s come out of there with some snappy workouts, so we’ll give her another shot. #10 Ms Locust Point won the Gin Talking here on New Year’s Eve before setting a fast pace in a race that collapsed at Gulfstream on February 4th. She hasn’t been out since, but draws well and John Servis does well off long layoffs. #4 Dawn the Destroyer (6-1) improved since switching to Kiaran McLaughlin, though her three races for her new trainer all came over sloppy tracks. Still, her off-the-pace style could suit the track profile.

We’ll play You Know Too to win and play her in exactas and trifectas with the 4, 10, and 11, and a little bit of the 8 and 13.

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Breeders Cup Rewind – Saturday (Dirt)

bc_logo_4c1Originally, the plan was to break up Saturday into the early races and the late races, but considering the track featured a profoundly bad inside on dirt, we are going to look at the five Saturday Breeders Cup dirt races all in one post and the turf races in this post and the four Breeders Cup Saturday turf races in another.

Previously Breeders Cup Friday.

Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies

Recap / Notes – Winner Caledonia Road ran very well to get the win but of course benefitted from both a fast pace and being outside well off the bad rail. She’ll come back in the winter at Gulfstream and will probably be one to oppose until she shows she can repeat this effort under different circumstances. Bob Baffert’s Alluring Star pressed the solid pace from the 2-path, took over at the top of the lane and was run down late. She ran very well. Alluring Star was the expected pace-setter, but Moonshine Memories was surprisingly gunned to the lead, setting fast fractions on the bad inside and though we didn’t love her going in, this is not a representative race considering the pace and her presence on the bad rail. Separationofpowers drew poorly (13) and had to track the fast pace, though she was on the good part of the track. She ran fine, but is something of a mixed bag considering she did get to race off the rail. Heavenly Love tracked the fast pace on the bad inside and was all done on the far turn.

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Breeders Cup Rewind – Friday

bc_logo_4cThe two days of racing at Breeders Cup 2017 led to some thrilling finishes and some tremendous performances. We previewed all 13 races, but now it’s time to look back and see what we did right and what we did wrong.

Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf

Recap / Notes – Rushing Fall ran an excellent race to win by a length on the wire. She was 2-3 wide on the first turn and then 4-5 wide on the second turn, covering nearly 50-feet more than the runner-up, Best Performance. Third-place finisher September ran very well after missing the break. She was able to tuck back and save a little ground but was basically out of position the whole race, farther back than she would have been. She was moving very well late. Significant Form and Fatale Bere also were wide. Significant Form was also up on the solid pace while Fatale Bere was wide and maybe made the first big off the pace move around the far turn. All in all it was a very good race and the top five finishers all seem like very good prospects moving forward.

Here’s the Trakus chart for the Juvenile Fillies Turf.


What We Got Right – This was a frustrating race as we keyed everything around September, who finished third but was maybe best and no worse than second best. Rushing Fall was our second choice and Best Performance our fourth choice, but we still ended up with nothing. Oh well.

What We Got Wrong – We were too bullish on Happily, who was terrible and coming off two soft-turf Group 1 wins, we probably should have tossed her at a short price.

The remainder of the Friday races are below the fold.

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Breeders Cup Saturday – Late Pick-4

The late Pick-4 heads into the Breeders Cup Classic and features two dirt races, the Juvenile and the Classic, that will likely have short-priced favorites, and two wide-open turf races featuring strong European influence.

Previously Write-up of the first Breeders Cup Pick-4.

Detailed Race Previews – Mile, Juvenile, Turf, Classic

Mile – This sequence features a few spots to narrow a Pick-4 ticket later on, so we are going to spread in the two wide-open turf races, especially this one. Our top four choices will all be “As” on the ticket: Lancaster Bomber, Zelzal, World Approval, and Ballagh Rocks. Suedois and Ribchester will be “B” horses and Roly Poly is a “C.”

Juvenile – We don’t have a lot of interest in trying to oppose Bolt d’Oro at a very short price. He’s the lone “A” horses. Good Magic is a “B” and anyone else knocks us out.

Turf – Ulysses, the morning line favorite, is out, which perhaps opens things up a little bit. Highland Reel and Seventh Heaven are both “A” horses along with Beach Patrol. Beach Patrol’s Joe Hirsch, if he can repeat, gives him a better chance of winning with Ulysses out. Talismanic is a “B” and Sadler’s Joy a “C.”

Classic – Arrogate and Collected are our top two in here and we’ll live and die with them in the Classic as two “A” horses.

Here’s the play.

BreedersCup Saturday Pick-4b

Good luck!

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Breeders Cup Saturday – First BC Pick-4

Let’s look at the first all-Breeders Cup Pick-4 on Saturday from Del Mar, which features the Turf Sprint, Filly & Mare Sprint, Filly & Mare Turf, and the Sprint (races 5-9 on the Del Mar card).

Typically, these Breeders Cup cards have two all-Breeders Cup Pick-4s, but the first one begins with the first Breeders Cup race of the day (in this case the Juvenile Fillies). It seems they have made a change in that regard this time.

Detailed Race Previews – Turf Sprint, Filly & Mare Sprint, Filly & Mare Turf, Sprint

Turf Sprint – We don’t have a big knock, except maybe the projected pace, on favored Lady Aurelia, but we’re also using closers Disco Partner and our top pick Holding Gold as “A” horses. We’ll also use Pure Sensation as a “B.”

Filly & Mare Sprint – For the second straight race, we are going to use three “A” horses – our top pick Carina Mia, top local older horse Skye Diamonds, and the favorite Unique Bella. Paulassilverlining was bad last time, but if she can get back to her older races, she can win. We’ll use her as a “C.”

Filly & Mare Turf – Lady Eli and Grand Jete are the two that we’ll lean on heavily here. There are a lot of interesting horses for underneath in trifectas, but this is where we’ll narrow this ticket, using just the two best Chad Brown runners in this Pick-4. Both are “A” horses.

Sprint – We want to use all three of our top picks as “A” horses – Roy H, American Pastime, and Imperial Hint as we take a shot against Drefong. We’ll use the favorite as a “C.”

Here’s the play.

BreedersCup Saturday Pick-4a

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