Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Friday, February 9, 2018
Aqueduct’s got an 8-race card today, with a first post time of 12:50 PM EST, and 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 winter. Give him a follow on twitter when you can.
Good luck, and take it away, Jason!
Only Anne’s Song (1) has yet to fail at the level. Carlos Martin has won two of nine starts dropping from straight maidens to claimers. With a rail draw and Carmouche remaining aboard I’d expect her to go early.
VIP Nation (4) might be a little quicker early coming out of sprint races where she was forwardly placed. She’s the most accomplished, for lack of a better word, finishing third twice in four starts. Contessa actually has had some success with horses racing two sprints to route with three wins in eleven tries.
Withaflourish (2) finished a distant third to a pair of next out winners in her lone route try. I suppose she’s the best of the rest whom I can’t make a case for.
Broadway Girl (3) has been outrun twice for a strong barn that brings them ready. Out of sprinter Jimmy Creed, she doesn’t figure to improve with added ground.
Shezerfirst (5) looks up against it, and that says a lot against a group like this.
One would expect improvement from Indian Ghost (1) as another former Gaudet trainee that’s been transferred to Gargan. He drops in class after being a non factor in a loaded Laurel race last October. Danny means business when he races maiden claimers, and has had really good success with Kendrick in the saddle.
Threefortyfive (5) flashed brief speed at Parx in his debut before giving way while finishing a distant fourth. I suspect he’ll be a bit too respected off that performance in addition to racing as a first time gelding. This son of the seemingly declining stallion Freud cost just $1500 at auction, so I’m circumspect about the way this guy is put together.
Gio Lucky (4) drops in class and will try the main track for the first time. Terranova is strong with horses off layoffs of this nature, as well as route-to-sprint runners. It’s also encouraging Dylan Davis is riding. He doesn’t ride often for this barn, but when he has it’s been with really good success. This colt’s lack of any early speed whatsoever in two route races is certainly something that concerns going six furlongs. This field is bad though, and there should be horses backing up in front of him if he takes to the main track.
Buss the Bell (6) improved some when dropped in class, but his lack of any run last out at this level is a problem. Honk King Gardens (3) got buried most recently while racing for a stronger barn. The switch to Contessa doesn’t excite, nor does the addition of blinkers. Contessa is winless in thirty starts adding the hood.
Ten Dollar Hammer (2) is eligible to improve off his lone start against drastically better than these.
In the compact field of five in race three, all but one runner does their best racing on or near the lead. So give me My Won Love (2) racing for Rudy Rodriguez for the first time. That’s a strong angle for sure, as is the presence of Junior Alvarado aboard. He’s been sizzling hot for Rudy winning at a 28% rate with a $2.77 ROI here at Aqueduct. Obviously this mare’s propensity for settling for small shares is a concern. However, she’s raced for lesser barns for quite some time, and if she improves just a bit for Rodriguez from a speed figure perspective it makes her a major player. She should have no excuse from a pace perspective.
The hard-trying Awesome News (1) was quite an overlay last out getting back to the six furlong distance she adores. It looks like the six month vacation did her a lot of good, but I am surprised at the low win percentage as well as ROI for Chris Englehart second off layoffs of this nature. With an inside draw and Paco up they have no choice but to go early.
Leah’s Dream (3) has cruised through conditional opponents, and will tackle open company on Friday. She’s not going to have a cushy lead after four furlongs like she has in her last pair. She’s going to have to take a step forward against better rivals now. She’s not out of the question by any stretch of the imagination, but I would not want her as the favorite.
Zippity Zoom (4) will race off the re-claim for Linda Rice. The problem is that claim came last August and she hasn’t been seen since. I have to think the five month vacation was not by design, especially since she was rounding into good form for the first time in months. It’s been a long time since she’s found the winners’ circle, and she hasn’t been the same mare since the summer of 2016. A win here would be no surprise, but I do see some concerns.
A career best from Sing for Beauty (5) probably wouldn’t be enough to win. She’s hard to recommend coming in off poor efforts at Finger Lakes.
It’s Hot Out (3) has three seconds in four tries. I think you can expect a similar effort, and I suspect one of the three logical first timers will prove best. He might be a good horse to key underneath.
Bad Guy (6) might be another you want to include on the back end. His five thirds in nine starts with no wins or places pretty much sums up what can be expected from him.
Trinni Juice (1) seemingly has no chance, so let’s consider the remaining three, none of which have raced.
Repole home bred Analyze the Bill (2) is out of a solid race mare that won six of eleven starts, and took a couple stakes races at Aqueduct tallying over $200K in earnings. His lone sib to race is a nice horse, Clipthecouponannie, a winner of five of seven starts while earning near $250K. TAP has handled that one with kid gloves, and probably with good reason. My biggest concern is the late start, you know Pletcher looks to get them to the races as early as possible. I’m also turned off by the fact that his sibling was out of Uncle Mo, and this one is out of a much more modest stallion. No matter how you look at it, you leave him out at your own risk, but you won’t be rewarded for landing here. I know Tom Morley won with a real good looking firster last week, but that was the exception and not the rule.
Phantomofthefrost (4) seems a bad morning line at 5-2, particularly with Arroyo named to ride. He is winless in twenty-two starts for Morley. Nevertheless, this guy has looked well in the morning, and the 47.3 gate move two works back is imposing. He also worked in company with that aforementioned debut winner that was well supported at the windows. I think this horse is live, but definitely want more than the head scratching ML.
City Never Sleeps (5) could very well be the most talented filly in the field. She’s trained by Linda Rice for a top ownership group that campaigned La Verdad as well as Hot City Girl. This filly commanded $375,000 at auction in 2016, but doesn’t make it to the races until now. Something went awry along the way it seems. Her works have been steady, and I think she’s a horse that may need a race for a barn that often improves second time out. In the long run, this will likely be the horse that makes the biggest impact.
Bluegrass Prevails (6) looks well spotted by Rudy to be an odds on winner in race five. He’s a consistent gelding facing a group of inconsistent and poor rivals. Rudy is so good he has found a way to win at a 32% rate with a 7% jock aboard. He’s got good tactical speed that should serve well in this spot.
The only other worthy of mention is Bear Clause (8) returning to a proper level. David Canizzo claimed him two back then threw him to the wolves against much better. It’s hard to believe his jockey Josh Navarro is going as badly right now as he is, and he’s way overdue for a win. I expect improvement at this level. I hate the rest. Puppy Manners (2) fits underneath, but won’t provide value.
Of the chalks in race six, I prefer My Roxy Girl (4) over My Last Million (5). She’s demonstrated both the fact she likes this course, and that she is fine rating. Most recently she wasn’t that bad in a race against better when she raced very wide. The latter filly goes out for the relatively cold Charlie Baker. She was victorious stretching out and adding Lasix, but should face other company on the front end on Friday. I wouldn’t leave her out as she seems to be improving.
Paranoia (3) seems a quicker rival that comes out of a race against open company stakes type. She’s one of two fillies that have not squared off entirely against New York-bred foes.
The other is Right On (2) who comes in off an effort she forced the pace at this level, but also probably drew a stronger field. The winner that day was a Linda Rice trainee that would tower over this group. Dylan Davis has a hot hand right now, and I’d like him to aggressively play catch me if you can.
Chilly Bon Bon (2) looks like the best speed on paper, and should make the early lead against a group of horses in which none, other than Charming Indy can really be trusted going nine furlongs. So I think the front end is where you would want to be. Two back he made the lead against better, but tired over a slow track. Then last out he was wired by a sharp Becker’s Galaxy who hammered the field dropping in class. This will be his third race in a current form cycle so I look for a top effort.
J J’s Dreaming (5) also has a little speed, and likewise races for the third time since being freshened. I’m a little concerned about his company lines. He graduated versus a pretty big hanger, Givetheman a Cigar. Then last out weakened late, albeit over a tiring surface, against a colossal hanger Here Comes Tommy.
The horse you can probably count on to be there is Here Comes Indy (7). He won three straight at Finger Lakes going two turns by narrow margins, then lost his rider at the start when seeking a fourth straight win. Then two back he ran into the aforementioned Becker’s Galaxy, and wasn’t embarrassed. Last out he just couldn’t punch by an exhausted pace setter, so I’m a bit bothered about him.
Taioseach (4) probably needed the last, and he’s traditionally been campaigned by mediocre barns. In the right hands he could improve.
I like the connections of Devil Buster (6) who spot their horses to win.
I know TAP merits big respect in a soft spot like this with the home bred Secret Mission (4). Obviously that filly has problems debuting for a tag though, so why not side with a barn you’d expect to run in this spot? I think one of these will step up and beat Go Kelly Go (3), and that filly will once again be second or third.
Stormy Rita (5) is the only long shot worth consideration. She adds blinkers, goes first Lasix, changes barns, and drops a smidgen in class. I still think she’s a stretch though.
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