Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Friday, December 1, 2017
The fall meet party at Aqueduct continues today! Nine races are on the schedule, with a first post time of 12:20 PM EST. We’ve got Jason Perry (@jmanmetsfan1) providing free picks & analysis of the entire program. Jason’s been writing about New York racing for a while now, and we’re happy to have him back for the Aqueduct meet. Starting next Friday, he’ll switch over to handicapping Gulfstream Park on Fridays, as part of their championship meet! Give him a follow on twitter if you can.
Good luck, and take it away, Jason!
Archival (3) is entered for DJ off short rest. He just won last Wednesday, but I get the quick wheel back given the competition in here. Jacobson wins at a 22% clip off a week’s rest from a large sample. Certainly he can win right back in a race that looks to set up well from a pace perspective.
This biggest concern is the Ortiz defection to Driven West (6) whom clearly has problems, but so does all his competitors. His last race is a little disturbing when folding at Parx, but two back he took on drastically tougher than these. These connections are really strong, but the price will be short on a horse that’s run terribly in both career sprint races, and looks like a need the lead type that won’t get it. He could be used in horizontal wagers, but I’d use others.
Lightning Buzz (5) is not one of the “others.” I’ve been against him for a while, and turns out it’s been the thing to do. Now I’m supposed to take him seriously after being claimed away for a much lower percentage outfit. He’d be a big surprise no matter how bad these are.
Muttaraamy (4) is in a complete tail spin essentially getting worse in each of his eight starts. This $500,000 Tapit gelding races first off the claim for Linda Rice who took this guy for 40K and runs him back for 16K. He’s running where he belongs now though, so a wake up may be in the cards. But do you want this reeling horse at 2-1?
I want to make a case for White Missile (1). I don’t think it was the turf that necessarily moved him up. He could be the best speed of all drawing inside with Paco up. It’s hard for me to erase the memory of his last effort when he completely stopped, however.
Secret Scholar (2) has been awful at this level since the July freshener. He’d need a serious form reversal.
O Captainmycaptain (8) was buried in his first start versus winners at this same level. He had a wide trip and should appreciate the likely honest pace. New pilot Junior Alvarado has been an incredible combo with Rudy Rod at Aqueduct over the last two years. Alvarado has won at 26% clip with a stout $3.75 ROI in that time period. He isn’t unrealistic underneath. Appealing Harry (7) broke his maiden last March and hasn’t been seen since. I can’t imagine…
The one-two finishers of the November 10th race for these same conditions look tough on the surface, but I encourage you to watch the replay of that race because Iron Power (2) ran a much bigger race than With Exultation (1) in my opinion. He had a rough start getting bumped and nearly going to his knees. He then had a little hard time into the first turn when cornering getting forced a bit wide. Irad made an early move into relatively quick fractions, and ran a winning race except for the fact that With Exultation (1) got an absolutely incredible ride under Luis Saez saving ground every step of the way. I remember commenting that day that Saez single handedly won that race. Neither of these veterans are going to improve racing for top flight trainers. I just think that if they repeat their last battle, Iron Power is much the horse to beat. With Exultation would need another dream trip and his 1-19 record at the distance is concerning. In his favor is what looks to be a heated pace. Let’s consider viable upset possibilities.
I give no chance to Rooftop View (3) , Bullheaded Boy (5) , Prophet’s Cat (6), and Blue Pidgeon (8). They are all without hope.
Glowing Ember (9) is sure to wilt with other speed signed on.
I’m very leery of Changewilldoyagood (10) falling down the claiming ladder. I thought the 40K last out was suspicious, but he wasn’t claimed and ran awful.
I once liked Orino (4), but he hasn’t won in over a year now. Joel takes the call now, and he’ll have a nice set up if things shake out the way they should.
One time Triple Crown hopeful Uncle Sigh (11) has a shot. He’s won for Duggan at this level before, and will be guided Friday by Jose Ortiz. I think only four horses can win this race, and none of them are long shots, so I’ll single Iron Power.
In the small race three state bred group Bluegrascat’s Smile (6) looks impeccably spotted. He’s been racing exclusively at Finger Lakes where he finally turned the tables after four straight narrow defeats. Baker has done a tremendous job spotting this gelding that’s finished first or second thirteen times in nineteen tries over the last two years. His heart has to come into question though with a slew of seconds this year.
Cody’s Notes (5) got a win versus a really bad group two back then ran evenly at this level in his next start. Of the five he seems the outsider looking in.
Get Game (3) has a lone win on grass against state bred maiden claimers. Those are bad animals. Now we are supposed to give him a shot on the main track at a distance he was an also ran on a surface he prefers. No thanks. Storm Profit (1) is the horse you can expect to run his race. He was hanging without excuse in turf races at the level but woke up a bit switched to the main track. He ran second to a next out winner at this level so he’s obviously a horse you have to include.
Teri o Geri (4) has been knocking on the door at this level. He finds a soft group today, but you have to be concerned that Jose Ortiz has seen enough and Dylan Davis now takes the call.
From a pace perspective he should sit a great stalking trip behind my top choice The Caretaker (2). He looks like the best speed in here, and with Paco Lopez named as the rider, coupled with a rail draw and stretch out in distance, I can’t imagine the plan isn’t to go early and try to wire this group. Obviously he hasn’t looked the same since the January race when he ran second to Twisted Tom, but this barn isn’t giving up. They tried him on grass last out where he debuted, and he ran better than the pp’s suggest. If KPM thought this guy a lost cause he’d be running for a tag like Mutaraamy is in race one.
Morning line favorite Dancingwithpaynter (10) is not exciting. She races for a solid East Coast based outfit that didn’t feel the need to protect her first out. I can see why. In her last pair she’s lost races she shouldn’t have, most recently blowing a three length lead in the stretch at Laurel despite establishing pedestrian fractions. This filly has zero heart, so let her beat you from an outside post at 3-1.
Giant Zinger (11) obviously merits respect if able to draw in, but even if she does she’s facing yet another horrible draw. Why Mott uses Rajiv is mystifying because he never uses Rajiv, and Maragh has done this horse no favors. It makes me think she’s phony.
Even if she draws in I expect Rajiv to ride program favorite Tizenganginglysmart (4). Maragh has ridden well for Jimmy Bond, and this filly has some solid siblings. She’s run well enough in her lone two starts to beat these with a similar effort. It’s really hard to argue from her competitors.
First time starter Ailish (9) races for former Chad Brown assistant Jorge Abreu. He’s had a little success, and has been okay with debut runners, but I’d prefer to see a different rider. This filly would not have to be much to factor though.
Lady Of Miracles (7) has long shot appeal. She’s battle tested. She sprinted fairly well, and i don’t think her route first race was that bad. She should sit a great stalking trip, but I worry about her true closing punch.
What a conundrum. This field is so lousy. Dream Fever (4) has shown a little bit, but she’s still a disappointment. After glancing at her rivals, she’s clearly the horse to beat however. Brian Lynch is really good turf to dirt, and he has employed Joel Rosario. That’s a profitable angle. Barring anything unforeseen, she wins this race.
Elenathena (6) took no money first time out for a barn that excels with debut runners. She got buried in the Saratoga mud that day, then returned for a tag and stopped again. Encouragingly the blinks go on. Rick Violette has success adding the hood, but this daughter of Eskeyndera has serious stamina concerns.
Jump Ruler (7) would not have to be much to win here. The barn is dubious at best with maiden claimers. She hasn’t missed a beat in the morning however, and Nick Juarez sees fit to ride. He’s done well riding for the hungry Kelly Breen.
Toni Rox (2) looks like a good key for second and third. I look for another mediocre try.
Lillard Hall (7) debuted for half her purchase price for low percentage connections, and in two starts has run accordingly.
Paranoia (5) got beat twenty lengths establishing slow fractions. I give her zero chance.
She’s da Nuts (3) was empty first out at this level for a far better trainer. Once again, no chance.
I want to spread in this event. I know Nisha (13) looks real good in this spot coming off a big win in fast time while moving to a strong barn. I won’t leave her out, but I think there are a couple others that offer more value. You really need to include the second choice entry for Canizzo since both are proven sprinting on grass.
Avery Maeve (1) turns in consistent good efforts. I think she will find a way to lose again, but she must be used in vertical wagers along with barn mate China Rider (1A), a filly that probably has a better win chance, and ran a really good race in her lone turf sprint. John Velazquez shows no races for this trainer, so how on Earth do you not take her seriously? I hope they scratch the other half so we can get a little better price with this gal.
Sister Sophia (8) is another I really have to have. Throw out her races for the low percentage barns while focusing on the races for high percentage ones, and you are left with a filly that cannot be discounted. My biggest problem with her is that she recently bested a pair of mares that don’t like to win races.
Libarale (11) screams prep to me, but if she came flying down the lane I won’t be surprised.
At a better price I’d give a look to Fly By (1) to close late at a big price. I also think Goldwood (4) could outrun her odds, and can balloon the back end of exotics.
Once again, I’m going to need a few horses in the late pick 4. There are horses that have ran have already had their chances, and the horses debuting probably should have made it to the races sooner.
Blewitt (1) is a perfect example. A Todd Pletcher trainee that doesn’t make it to the races until November of her three year old season is a red flag. I can’t omit him against a lackluster group, but clearly there have been problems along the way, and he won’t offer value. So I’m more turned on by the other first time starters.
If not for the incredibly spotty work tab I’d actually consider Okeamo (8). He has notable siblings and his mother is from a nice family. The length of time between his published works is befuddling though both short and long.
The same can’t be said for Battle of Saratoga (5), an Earle Mack homebred that hasn’t missed a bit in the morning. Javier Castellano doesn’t ride much for this barn, so his presence her makes me think he is live.
Zonic (2) rolled late benefiting from fast fractions on the turn back in distance. I think someone steps up and beats him again. He’s logical underneath though.
I’ve been chasing Catch a Cab (3), and am done doing so. Joel bails and so do I. He’s better bred for grass, and has not moved forward since the long layoff.
Rosario jumped ship for Ferrad’s Party (4). He debuted on dirt, a surface he’s bred to like more. I think he’s simply improved in all three starts. Gary Gallo is awesome with turf-to-dirt runners, and this is the horse to beat in my opinion. I expect a big race win or lose.
Valiant Man (7) also returns to the surface he started his career. We see a big jock change to Irad on Friday. I recommend using him. There are plenty of question marks in this race to not use a horse that has shown us something.
You can have Westwood (3) as a morning line favorite. He just graduated versus a suspect group that included the hanging Stan the Man who did his usual routine on Thursday. This gelding has had issues obviously, I mean why is a horse out of Bernardini and a multiple Grade I winner of nearly four million dollars, Ashado, gelded after one second place finish? It means they saw no stallion potential. As opposed to his last start, he will now face significant early pressure. Frankly, I see this as a two horse race.
I would have liked to see Irad Ortiz stay aboard, but I won’t let that keep me from using Forest Blue (2). He ran big off the long layoff against a very fast Phi Beta Express that held a recency edge. Diodoro wins at a high rate second off layoffs of this nature. This gelding is versatile and draws well to the inside where he can use his tactical speed to his advantage.
I also like Mr. Buff (6). He got good before his five month layoff and returned in the same good form. He should have won his race off the bench, and made amends second off the layoff. I look for him to stalk the speed of Westwood, take the heart out of that runner and then look to hold off the challenge of a fresh Forest Blue.
I don’t care much for the entry or the Chad Brown trainee Battle of Evermore (5), who returns from a long layoff, and wasn’t that good prior to it.
In the finale it’s real hard to get past Gio d’Oro (10). He ran really big first out for Brad Cox finishing second to a far more experienced Sea Foam who is now a two-time winner. I’d be astonished if he’s not first or second after such a solid debut.
If he’s to get upset I would think the most likely spoiler to be Empire Line (11). George Weaver is really good with two-year olds and this colt brought eighteen times his sire’s stud fee when bought by West Point Thoroughbreds out of a two-year old in training sale. Part of that big purchase price may be because his unraced mom is half to five winning sibs from as many starters including Breeders Cup Turf Juvenile Filly winner Rushing Fall. I won’t hold that against him. His training pattern is great, highlighted by a 47.3 breeze from the gate on November 6th. The red hot John Velazquez rides. I’m using only these two in the late pick four.
I won’t pretend though not to be afraid of the Gargan trained Crossways (7) with Irad Ortiz up. If you have the capital to use a third, he’s the one.
I don’t know why Flash Drive (2) would find a second gear. In four starts to date, he’s been unable to find it late. He could finish underneath, but I think Anything Pazible (5) is a better option at a bigger price with more room to improve if you’re shopping for vertical plays.
If Curlin’s Legacy (4) beats me I’ll be sick. I never leave Jeremiah out with debut runners. This colt is out of Curlin, and a mare that was a nice horse racing locally. She’s a homebred though from a low profile owner, and since she wasn’t bought out of a sale, we have nothing to gauge her talent on. I’m looking to the aforementioned rivals.
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