Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Friday, December 15, 2017
Another great day of racing at Aqueduct is on the schedule for today. Eight races are on tap, with a first post time of 12:50 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. Give him a follow on twitter if you can.
Good luck, and take it away, Jason!
Can’t get creative in the opener that clearly goes through Battle of Saratoga (1). In his lone start he checked at the start and ran into a very well meant TAP first time starter. Graham Motion has fine numbers second out and sprint-to-route, even if they aren’t positive ROI propositions. There’s plenty of route influence from a pedigree perspective as his dam is half to multiple route winners including Fifty Stars, a Grade II winner that ran 2nd in the GI Louisiana. Derby. With a cleaner start I’d imagine he would be more forwardly placed stretching out. The only concern is the poor start first out coupled with a rail draw. Poor starts are most costly from the far inside or outside. Givetheman a Cigar (3) had no excuse last out, or in any of his five starts for that matter. He’s been defeated twice against 40K state bred rivals, and most recently offered no resistance to a horse that was winless in sixteen prior starts. In his favor is the fact he has a little early speed, and this will be his second start at eight furlongs.
J J’s Dreaming (4) has raced three times, but all on turf. Trainer Mark Hennig is in a bad funk right now winless in twenty-one starts for the meet. Win or lose, he’s going to be over bet off his mediocre turf form. He certainly could fire given the remaining two horses seem on the outside looking in.
Crash Mountain (2) was buried in his lone start fifteen months ago at 65-1 for a low profile barn. I can’t even consider him.
Roman Warrior (5) goes first out for a decent barn, that rarely runs them in New York. This son of Majestic Warrior was a $65,000 purchase hinting he may look the part. That said, he comes in with a light work-tab as a debuting gelding, racing for Greg Sacco who is zero for three with debuting route horses. Sacco wins first out at an eleven percent clip with a poor .99 ROI.
Missile Bomb (6) is probably going to be your favorite racing first off the Brad Cox claim. Cox is a ridiculous 36% with a $2.79 ROI with first time claimees. He also gives the leg up to his top jock Ricardo Santana. Cox is having an excellent meet with seven seconds, four wins, and a third from nineteen starts at the time of publication. In that last start he was making a return from a year layoff and plunging in class. Because of Cox’s strong numbers across the board, this horse will take a ton of heat.
Micozzi (7) comes in off a pair of decent tries at this level. He just raced first off the claim for the red hot Gary Gullo. I think a similar effort is eminent, but that might not be enough to win, and I don’t know why we would see further improvement. In watching his last start on replay he was much the best of the rest though. On paper he stands to work out a great trip, and I can’t think of a scenario he’s not part of the picture.
Initially I was concerned about the low purchase price of Curlout (4) because his stallion Curlin stands for $150,000, and this gelding commanded only $57,000 at auction. However, at the time of his purchase in 2014 Curlin stood for just $25,000 as a dubious stallion prospect. Therefore it’s not so worrisome. Since then we’ve seen Curlin offspring often take time to mature. This guy has had just two races. In his August of 2016 debut he took some serious mutual support, particularly considering he raced for a low profile trainer. He didn’t run much that day, but since he went to the shelf for a long period after, it is not unreasonable to believe something went wrong that day. He returned over a year later, and ran poorly again, albeit versus MUCH better horses than these. Eight Town is on a roll right now, and Tommy T just graduated after hard hitting against maiden special weight rivals. Michelle Nevin is having an excellent meet, and she employs a jock in Manny Franco that she has had very good success with. The two have combined to post a 2.71 ROI from a large sample.
The last race was supposed to be the one for Disruptor (8). After all Christophe Clement is lethal dropping from straight maidens to maiden claimers. Now the blinkers go on, another angle Clement has monstrous numbers with. The plan is probably to go here. There isn’t much speed in this race, and this disappointing son of Distorted Humor could make some noise.
He broke on top last out then tracked in second, and never offered a bit of resistance to Micozzi (7). It’s hard for me to tout this one after watching the replay of his last.
Schott (9) finally hit the board in his eleventh start. He’s a colossal disappointment that can’t win here.
Shoot the Gap (1) may have a better shot, but he’s been beyond awful since the July layoff. I’m pretty certain it’s safe to use three horses here in the pick 5.
Home Run Maker (4) is clearly the lone speed in the race 3 maiden special weight going nine furlongs. In there lies the problem for this son of Into Mischief. Can he get a mile and an eighth? From a breeding perspective I’d say yes. Furthermore, Jeremiah Englehart wins at a high rate going sprint-to-route, and at an even higher rate going two sprints to route. In his last start he broke better than the running line suggests, but got out-sprinted early. He stayed on willingly though, and if he’s left alone he may forget to stop.
Marconi (2) is not a horse I’m high on down the road, but he’s hard to ignore in this spot. I don’t care for these late starting TAP babies. In general, they have issues. However, this looks like a great spot for him to win. His two million dollar purchase price is largely due to his breeding. He’s out of all world sire Tapit, and a real nice race mare that is the dam of 5.5 million dollar earner Mucho Macho Man.
Roaming Union (5) was no match for the aforementioned Marconi and came in with a great deal more experience. I don’t know why this horse would turn the tables at a distance I’m suspect he wants to go.
Lonely Weekend (3) has improved a bit, but looks too slow to factor big.
Sure, Mathematician (1) is an X-factor having never raced on dirt. You can have Mark Hennig right now along with his heinous turf-to-dirt numbers though. At least Junior Alvarado is aboard. He seems to be the only jock that ever wins for Hennig.
Linda Rice is better second out than first, but she won with a debuting 50K maiden claimer on Thursday, so why not again today? I’ll make Midnight Disguise (3) my top pick for the red hot Linda, who is going to run away and hide in the Aqueduct training standings. She’s been astonishing at “The Big A” with Irad Ortiz up winning 46% of the time over the last two years. Certainly there is little in the way of competition. Only the pair of horses to her inside offer any appeal whatsoever.
Asiliveandbreathe (4) has grinded out a couple minor awards at Finger Lakes in REALLY slow time. She could do the same on Friday.
Morning line favorite Simona (2) is logical. She was just third beaten a little over a length at this level and over this course, while finishing well clear of the rest. David Duggan is good sprint-to-route, good with Dylan Davis aboard, and solid with maiden claimers. I think with A.P. Indy in her lineage she’s better off at this distance than her relatively low Tomlinson number suggests.
Promise Me Roses (1) adds blinkers for he third start. That’s been a nice angle from an ROI perspective for this barn. With a rail draw she will likely go in hopes of wiring this field. Carlos Martin does well stretching horses out clicking at a strong 20%. She’s one of three I could see winning here.
There are a few horses running in race 5 recently claimed away from savvy barns. Proceed with caution. Forget about Laneikea (1) since she’s been horrible since the claim from Clement two back. Do you really believe she’ll turn it around on the dirt?
Sand City (6) is going to take a lot of support here, and could conceivably be the favorite. Do you really want a horse that couldn’t last in her most recent start for Danny Gargan at a short price? Antonio Arriaga is a solid conditioner, and he has done well first off the claim in limited opportunities. I just wonder how frequently he’d win claiming from Gargan. I am certainly not going to rule her out, but there is a good chance she won’t make the lead, and I think she’s going to be any underlay win or lose.
I’m against Jump For Joy (7). She was claimed away from Todd Pletcher at this same level two back in a race she folded, finishing off the board. Charlie Baker is a good conditioner, but it’s no surprise he couldn’t get more stamina out of her first off the claim from TAP. This filly has big time soundness concerns to me.
Pray for Bourbon (4) makes sense. She’s dropping in class, and should get a favorable pace scenario. I just don’t know if I can swallow Hennig as a possible favorite. That said, I cannot leave her out against a group like this with a bunch of speed horses I don’t trust. I’m most interested in a pair of long shots.
Passporttovictory (5) has some appeal adding blinkers for Canizzo. I do not know what to think of his use of this rider since they have yet to have a start together. But this filly is versatile, and she offers considerable more value than the aforementioned favorites. I know it was on grass but she prompted the pace versus better horses and her last two starts and could surprise here.
Strawberry Tequila (2) could also also outrun her odds. She may be better suited for the main track and should get a fair shake from a pace scenario.
There is nothing wrong with including Thirst for Truth (3) underneath in exotics.
There is no one I trust going ten furlongs. I can’t believe it but I’m going to side with a horse formally trained by Todd Pletcher.
I feel like he has been far enough removed from that stain so give me Unbridled Daddy (7). He comes in off three straight wins, but frankly he has had to work fairly hard on the lead without anything being handed to him. As distances get longer I like horses that have speed and tactical speed. In a race in which I do not trust anyone to go this far I will take my chances with a horse that should be out front.
This race is perfectly written for logical runners like him and Clowney (3). I just can’t stand the pedigree of a horse by Yesbyjimminy to get a mile and a quarter. Nevertheless he’s just faster than most of his rivals on paper. Conquest Big E Luck (2) is seemingly getting worse with every start. This may be a good spot for him though. He has always been better routing than sprinting and has plenty of route pedigree. He’s probably the most well bred horse to handle this long distance, and I don’t think this barn would bring him back so suddenly if they did not think he could run big. My biggest issue is that he is a horse claimed away from Linda Rice, and that’s definitely not encouraging.
Somehow Taoiseach (6) got an 84 Beyer speed figure running a nonthreatening third against $10,000 claimers. I’m leery to say the least. Another plodding effort would not be a surprise but I’ve really never liked this horse. Charming Indy (5) Took forever to get through non-winners of three lifetime. Then he put three straight wins together. I don’t think he will make it four straight, but I do think he could run on for a small piece.
Court Dancer (4) May be a popular late pick four single. A win would certainly be no surprise tracking from just off the pace of Zealous Scholar (5), who is not going to wire this field out. Her effort last out with solid, but don’t forget it came in off the turf event, and two back she was claimed away from Jason Servis in a pretty bad effort. She’s pretty hard to trust entirely.
I have had some success with Palladian Bridge (3) in the past. I just get the feeling she’s going to come up a little short against this group. For the most part she’s faced lesser of late.
I give a little shot to Timely Tradition (6) since she will work out a favorable pace scenario, at least on paper. Nevertheless, this Filly has never raced on a fast mean track so I have a very hard time making her a top pick. I definitely don’t get excited about horses Christophe Clement drops in for a tag either.
To me, the most viable option at a nice price is Unrepented (1). She was curiously spotted off the long layoff on the grass for a trainer that doesn’t do well racing on turf. Perhaps he was using that just to get her fit but more importantly I’m excited about the fact that she now goes to Diodoro. He is lethal first off the claim and has decided to protect this horse today instead of offering her up for the tag. She’s finished first or second in nearly half of her 40 starts lifetime. Her training moves prior to the odd spot on grass were solid, so I think the fact she is not available for the $40,000 is a very good sign.
Deep Sea (3) is supposed to win the finale. Servis’ numbers first of the claim are simply ridiculous. He has never used this jockey, but how can I question anything he does? This horse should like the added ground, and has plenty of cheap speed in front of him. He looks ;ole a cinch.
Thaddeus (1) is a joke. He is the speed of the speed, but I can’t stand this horse in general. He put consecutive wins together against dreadful competition. Then he was pathetic last out against a horrible group.
Underneath I prefer Rosie Val (9), but at the same time cannot make an argument for her to win.
Fielding Gold (6) needed the last, and is at home going this distance. 8-1 is solid value in exotics, but don’t look for a win necessarily. Clearly he does not like to win races, but he has run plenty of races that put him in the picture against these.
Honorable James (4) screams use me at a big price. Yes he’s 2 for 34 lifetime, but both wins came at the distance. He has raced a stupid amount of times this year, and may be spent, but he won two back off the freshening. Then he faced better last time out. I absolutely do not think he will win, but I do think he is a horse you want underneath in your exotics at 20 to 1.
I’ve been against Gotham News (7) forever, but against a group like this racing for connections like these…
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