Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Friday, December 8, 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. 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!
Even a novice would surmise there are only a couple horses that can win this race. Ice Palace (4), Rahy’s Bandit (3), and Over My Head (6) are totally awful. Mary Pray for Us (1) finally got through the n2l condition two back. She went back to her losing ways though last out first off the Nevin claim. Now she will race for her third barn in as many races. It’s a negative barn change as well. You are safe using only the two logical horses in the pick five. Lady Constance (2) is the horse to beat. Unfortunately, at 3-5 on the morning line she will be a popular single. Linda is not afraid to drop to win. Rice should be able to find a way for this filly to rebound off a race against better when saddled by an inferior barn. Simply put, she’s a better horse than Iwishirish (5) who has always raced for solid outfits, and really isn’t that fast. Diodoro was able to get a win first off the claim, but it was hard earned defeating two rivals by less than a length.
Look for Linda Rice to go two-for-two to start the day with the well spotted I Miss My Father (3). He’s the best speed in a race without much of it. Typically, I would oppose a horse like this that folded at the level last out at 4-5. However, I think that was a better group. The third place finisher already returned to win, and his competition inspires no confidence. He was a Steve Schwartz “jail move” last out when rising in class despite eligible to run for the 25K. He isn’t dropped today either so expect a big effort to say the least. This could potentially be a really chalky sequence.
Playwright (2) will be scratched. He won an off the turf maiden race on Wednesday.
Catapult Jack (7) merits respect since this barn has won three of eight times when racing off less than a week’s rest. I don’t trust this horse though that has amassed eleven seconds in twenty-one starts. He’s clearly photo shy. That said, there’s no reason he can’t run second again.
With blinks on and Paco up, obviously the plan is to send Croatia (6). I just don’t see a scenario he lasts.
Heat Check (1) has never run on dirt, but his turf sprints we’re awful. This seems a really unlikely spot to turn things around, but he’s probably bred better for the main track.
Tammany Giant (5) will not be 45-1 for a third straight time. He improved a bit with the drop in class, and also seems better on dirt from a pedigree perspective. These Frost Giant progeny have poor grass numbers.
Three out of six of the race three twenty claimers have raced primarily on grass, so this should be interesting. Start by eliminating Preziosa (1) who has been heinous since the claim from Rudy sans a second in the Suffolk slop. Linda Rice will saddle her third consecutive prohibitive favorite.
Admittedly, Gobi (2) should work out a nice trip turning back in distance in a race that should have early speed to enable an off the pace runner to get a fair shake. She might be a good horse to key underneath though. After all she’s had chances at this level before settling for minor shares. I think she’s the one you can count on to fire a good shot because there are a few horses without dirt sprint experience. That said, I wouldn’t look for her to get any better at this point after racing for Linda Rice nine times already.
Daring Prospect (5) moved forward in a big way second off the layoff. That victory came against non winners of two lifetime, but at least the win also came at this track and distance. She should sit a nice stalking trip, and get the first jump on the closers.
It’s uncertain how the speed of Queen of Spades (3) will translate to the main track. That’s important because she’s probably the quickest early in the race. I’m leery though, this daughter of Kitten’s Joy is certainly bred for the turf. I also have zero faith in this barn that makes a habit of entering horses in curious spots. This mare got through the N1X condition before the freshener, then returned to get beaten less than a length against n2x rivals. I know she finished sixth that day, but it was a useful return. Then last out she was given a shot routing, but was unable to hang around. I would expect her to return sprinting on grass in a protected race, but instead she’s dropped in for twenty thousand and runs on the main track. I imagine the claiming game trainers are chomping at the bit to try to improve off a Chatterpaul trainee. However, with winter here who knows when they would actually be able to get on grass. Look for her to be hard used early. I won’t rule her out because if you take a chance you’ll likely get a square price. Rimanisempreforte (4) is also curiously spotted on the main track. She’s been in a bit of a form reversal though so it’s less surprising. Furthermore she also shows two wins from three starts on dirt. She was pretty bad in her last two starts visually, but perhaps the surface switch could wake her up. From a pace perspective she should have every chance to win from a stalking position. I will say that she has just one career start against conditional claimers. The majority of her rivals have been mired in conditional claiming events.
The last of the “turf horses” trying the dirt is Majestic Bloom (6) . She is just two for twenty-one lifetime, but has primarily tackled better. One of those two wins came at this distance, but I don’t want to put too much stock into that since she was off the board in her other three main track races. She was also abysmal when last seen on the main track. This is a tough race, and in horizontals I want a few.
I love Nine Route (4) in the lackluster state bred maiden event. Let’s start by the fact he has little in the way of competition. Secondly, he’s well bred commanding $290,000 at auction. His young stallion, The Factor, was really fast and he loved seven furlongs on the dirt taking the GI Pat O’Brien and Malibu, as well as running second in the GI Triple Bend and Bing Crosby. He was also victorious in the GII San Carlos, and San Vicente. His mom is out of the great Missy’s Mirage, a multiple graded stakes winner from my younger years. She earned nearly a million bucks in a time that would equate to twice that today. She too also liked to sprint on dirt. This guy’s lone start was on turf for Bill Mott and he was bet to 5-2 favoritism, and all things considered didn’t run terribly. It stands that something went wrong that day in July since he hasn’t been seen since. He now races for Jeremiah Englehart who should have him dead fit off the bench. If he’s half the horse I think he is he wins here.
Most of his competition are hard to endorse. Mickey T (2) ,and Trinni Juice (6) look horrible. Beach Access (3) and D’Rock (1) have a ray of hope but nothing more. Leap to Glory (5) has been buried in all three starts, but at least flashed speed, and he returns to the debut surface his trainer thought he’d like best.
Big Thicket (7) is obviously the biggest obstacle in our way, but talk about a horse that doesn’t excite. Brad Cox brings them to the races ready to roll, and this colt debuted at 22-1 and didn’t pick up his feet. Then he added Lasix and tried a route of ground, but virtually stopped. He doesn’t want to go a distance based on his lineage. If you dig far enough back you’ll find he is kin to sprint champion Housebuster. He was scratched as an also eligible in a 50K claimer on Wednesday. That could be interpreted a number of ways. I believe it’s because of the nature of this soft spot, and not that they have changed their mind on his worth. There is no reason to believe he can’t beat the rest of the slow animals in any event.
I’m done watching replays of the horses in race 5. I spent a lot of time watching them and probably shouldn’t have since I have essentially concluded that I want to be wide here.
If for some reason it’s run on the main track I’d be surprised if Flick of an Eye (12) got beat possessing the lone speed. If run on the turf as expected then I know I want to be deep here, and have no desire settling on a short priced horse.
Khaleesi Cat (8) was simply awful last out when “not persevered with” as your favorite. At least she will be a square price this time. Two back she ran down Kacy Lauren (4) who had the perfect trip. She was impeccably ridden by Nik Juarez but hung late.
Jose Ortiz gave Queen of Castle (9) an awesome ride last out. I like this gal’s versatility, because she won’t be able to win in similar fashion against a group with more early speed. She can still rate and win though.
Reckless Humor (2) opened up a long lead and just lasted on the stretch out in distance. There was a lot of speed on paper that day, and I also feel she was fortunate to hold off a sprinter that has since returned and ran poorly. The New York jockey’s can be frustrating, but I’m hopeful someone brings the race to her.
Zeven (7) should keep her honest. Her win three back came in wire-to-wire fashion, and her jockey, Dylan Davis, can sometimes be aggressive.
Winner’s Dream (6) fought Junior Alvarado much of the way in her last start, then she had to make a wide move. I’m a little concerned about her turn of foot, and would want to see a better price. 5-1 seems unrealistic.
Indygita (10) returns to an appropriate level, and should benefit from a favorable pace. I like the idea of using her in exotics at a big price. Four back she defeated some common rivals she meets again today. In her three subsequent starts she tried starter allowance level competition.
Another competitive group of $25K claimers square off in race six. The only horse I want is the versatile Rockford (6). I can forgive the last try going eight panels. I see a nice stalking trip behind the reeling Candy Promises (5). He should wait for that rival to fold then pounce.
Conquest Big E Luck (1) has been a bit pace compromised. There’s not a lot of speed here, but enough he can offer late foot.
Will Did It (7) is in great form. I just stay away from barn changes like this at a short price. Conquest Twister (3) is making a lateral barn change, and I don’t care for the field he just bested.
The switch to the turf has turned out to be a good thing for D’funnything (1). He has a win and a third since making that change. I don’t care for the rail draw one bit, but it may not be enough to hold him back. He’s best on the lead or just off it, but if he can rate it’s his race to win or lose though. Look, this gelding is eight for sixteen, so clearly he can overcome obstacles. I see a scenario he’s down inside horses that don’t want to go six furlongs. Look for a huge effort against a group I’m not that fond of.
Uncle Youdge (3) wants no part of six furlongs. He possesses better speed, but quit two back when squaring off against the top pick.
The Crocheron Kid (8) tries, but does not have a finishing punch.
Throw out the dumb Beyer speed figs of Samadi Sky (9) and Leavematthegate (2) in their common race on October 8th and you are left with a couple of unimpressive runners.
Psychic Energy (7) did well as a one run closer last out. I look for them to employ similar tactics on Friday. He should be part of the picture no matter how it unfolds.
Tiz a Chance (10) should pick off tired rivals and offer some value in exotics. He has four seconds in six starts sprinting on grass at the distance.
Chad Brown saddles a pair, but he’s been bad to say the least at Aqueduct. It makes sense, his best stock is off to Florida. He had a horrible favorite in the finale on Wednesday that was 0-5 without making a serious threat in any race. So while I won’t rule him out, I want a better price on top. All of this said Chad is so good turf to dirt it is scary. Of his pair, that both race off that angle, I much prefer Fool’s Gold (1) who made it to the races in a timely manner and exits some really good heats. Clearly stock will be put into the fact Irad bails for a barn mate, but Manny Franco has given some great rides for Brown.
Moi (6) bothers me. Her full brother Mrs McDougal is a proven grass horse, and this filly did not make it to the races until October of her two-year old campaign, and now is switched to the main track. Something does not feel right.
Go (5) runs for a barn that habitually over spots their horses. This looks like a good spot though. With Kendrick up I assume the plan is to go early. There is no speed in this race, and if she could establish an early lead, she may forget to stop.
Lemoona (3) showed no improvement switching to dirt. She’s hard to recommend. There are things to like about Sierra Aleone (4). She’s not a proven loser, she doesn’t scream red flag, and Casse is capable in spots like this. The jock choice is curious though. She’s also a February foal that has taken a long time to get to the races.
So I’ll give a shot with Cocktail Countess (7). Linda is probably sitting on three wins for the day so why not close out in style? Rice excels second time out, and this filly is well bred for the main track.
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