Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Friday, November 10, 2017
It’s the second Friday of the Aqueduct meet 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. Give him a follow on twitter if you can.
Good luck, and take it away, Jason!
I don’t care much for the opener. I know I don’t want a $110,000 daughter of Tiznow that debuted for 50K racing for a low percentage barn so I’ll start by tossing Lilard Hall (4) . I also don’t want Paranoia (5) , Blushing Justine (7) , or Money Purse (8) for low percentage barns. Lady Blessings (6) seems the horse to beat dropping in class and returning to the main track. It leads me to believe they think she is fine on the main track since they opt here instead of the grass where she ran faster in her second and third start. Latrevo (3) will take some support here dropping in class, and turning back in distance. I don’t trust her much though. In her last start she quit without resistance despite being up front in a slow pace. She is conditioned by a trainer that brings them fit and ready, and in all three of her starts she was entered for the turf course. Rick Violette has horrible turf to dirt numbers, as well as route-to-sprint. Win or lose she’s not for me at 2-1. Two Shy (2) is worth a look. She has had just one chance for a decent Greg Sacco, that does well with straight maidens dropping in for a tag from limited opportunities. Very interesting to see a jock aboard that has won three of seven starts for Sacco. Carlos Martin saddles a pair, and although he’s improved with debut runners, he’s zero for five with debuting maiden claimers. Toni Rox (1) was one of those casualties, finishing third in his lone start fifteen lengths beaten. He was nine back of the second place runner, so I’m thinking big improvement is needed. He only faced four rivals that day, so I wouldn’t say he took money going off at three to one. Barn mate Gia Michael (1A) has trained in pedestrian style. I like the use of Montanez since he has had success riding for Martin, but other than that I don’t know how I could recommend him.
In race two I don’t really care for anything either, so once again let’s start with the one’s I don’t like. Bullheaded Boy (2) was claimed for 25K in his last start, but that came in March. It’s never encouraging to see a horse claimed and then shelved for seven months. All of his “recent” success has come routing, so this has the look of a prep. He’s only sprinted once in thirty-three starts. Lyrical Miracle (6) is just three for fifty-three, even though he does earn pay checks on occasion. He’s only won once in two years, and it isn’t from lack of opportunity. He was a surprising claim out of his last start, but the barn change is lateral at best. Pegasus Red (5) was also a curious claim out of his last start. He similarly settles for minor shares far too often. He’s never won in ten tries at Aqueduct, and nine starts at this distance. Of his five career victories two of them came over an off track. To me the barn change is a negative one as well. Sol the Freud (1) has found nothing late in all thee starts for a winless trainer. He’s not for me. So let’s look at the contenders. Global Positioning (7) is honest, and a repeat of his last makes him a major player. He likes to be on or just off the lead, and he drew nicely outside with little speed to his inside. Expect him to be there. Saratoga Heater (3) has been claimed out of five straight races, and will now race for Chris Englehart. Toss his last when he got pinched at the start and was forced to rally wide. He likes to race closer to the pace than his previous two starts. This seems like a good post today, and he should work out a better trip. Mighty Zealous (4) has not gotten to the wire first since March, with nine defeats in the interim at or around this level. Admittedly he’s hooked a couple faster ones along the way, but usually someone steps up and beats him. I’ll look for him second or third, but won’t rule him out either.
Strategic Dreams (4) was sacrificed on the front end in the GI Frizette, after an impressive win first out albeit versus maiden claimers. She drops in class, and will be odds on to defeat four rivals including a stable mate.
That filly Walls of Compassion (5) won first out but underwhelmed facing better in two subsequent races. I like the fact she brought 17 times her sire’s stud fee, but her lone win came in the mud, and she showed nothing when last seen.
I’m going to side with Redhairdon’tcare (1) for strong connections. She didn’t beat much first out as the second place runner from her debut win returned to essentially lay an egg. I won’t hold that against Dutrow though. He’s typically much better second out than with debut runners. This daughter of Fresian Fire cost fifty-seven times what she stands for. She was bought as a two-year old in training and is already paying dividends. She hasn’t missed a bit since the debut score with three well placed drills since. With an inside draw I expect Joel will send her, and I don’t think anyone will have what it takes to run her down. It’s noteworthy Anthony Dutrow has won six of ten times with debut winners returning in sprints.
Honey Graham (2) adds blinkers and is well spotted. She’s faced better since a debut win versus a next out winner. Like others in here she is just looking to find an appropriate class level. I can’t knock her. Right On (3) is on the outside looking in. She doesn’t have enough early zip to get to the top, and doesn’t possess a necessary closing kick.
The Bill Mott trained Giant Zinger (10) would be as logical as a favorite can be. She showed the improvement you’d expect from a Mott trainee losing by a nose second out at this level. An outside post with Rajiv in the saddle doesn’t inspire me though, but I suspect she runs her race. Chad Brown will garner big respect with his filly Chiclet’s Dream (2), but something about her bothers me. I know she wanted grass in her washed off debut, but she didn’t run one step, despite strong off track pedigree. I also think her purchase price was a bit low given the success of her mom on the New York circuit. I also think she’s much better bred to sprint than route. I realize you oppose this barn at your own risk, but I’ll side with another strong outfit at a better price.
That would be the Clement Stable sending out Seeking the Blue (8). Clement is good with significant stats, and this daughter of Arch fetched a huge $450,000 at auction. She must really look the part. Her mother was unraced, but her grand dam was really classy. She was a 1.9 million dollar purchase, at the time that was a record for a two-year old filly. She went on to be multiple graded stakes place, and earned over 650K at a time that meant more than it does now. It’s great to see Irad aboard for this barn. I’m digging the 8-1 ML.
Fiveinthemorning (5) has been a bit unlucky exiting live events. The added distance should not hurt. Southern Gal (6) is a logical player. She was unlucky to lose first out, then ran into a buzzsaw in a race washed off the turf. I don’t foresee a problem going sprint to route.
In the compact group of horses in race five it seems all runners would want to be on the lead on a perfect day. In scenarios like this where all of the contestants would like to be on or near the lead and no one has shown that ability to close I am going to look for the best speed of all. That is clearly Phi Beta Express (5). He draws outside with an aggressive jockey. Two back he contested the lead in the GI H Allen Jerkens against the swift Takaful. I cannot make a case for him to not run big in this spot. Rectify (3) does not have the speed to go with him early and whenever this horse doesn’t make the lead he folds. Gorgeous Charlie (2) is uber cheap racing primarily at Parx of late. Throw out his surprise effort to back and you are left with a cheap animal that cannot come from off the pace and will face significant early pressure. Foreset (4) is yet another need the lead type, but at least he is a bit classier. You absolutely have to be concerned about his poor form since the long layoff since February 2017. The only legitimate upset chance belongs to Forest Blue (1). He has not raced since July in California so he too has concerns. Nevertheless Diodoro is fine with horses racing off long layoffs, and it’s really interesting to see Irad riding. Why you ask? Well that’s because Ortiz has not ridden for Robertino in two years. That is really hard for me to believe, and it really makes me wonder how live this guy is. He is the only horse in the field that has shown he can come from off the pace with any kind of serious interest. To me this is a two horse race.
I thought Iron Power (5) was a bad favorite last out, but turns out I was wrong. I think he really appreciated a little distance relief. I also think the further cut back to a mile will be just fine. I know he’s 0-3 at the distance but at least two of those races were run on a soft course he clearly doesn’t care for, and they were against drastically better rivals. He should work out a great trip behind the cheap speed of Bluegrass Prevails (4) and Glowing Ember (6) both of whom I believe are not good enough to wire these. Those two should also compromise Spin Cycle (2) who seems to be a need the lead type. With Exultation (1) fits well. He likes this course and distance, and should get a favorable pace scenario. Orino (4) has not been able to move forward since the Jacobson claim from Bond four back. He too looks to possibly sit a good trip with a nice post position drafting behind the speed horses.
Kiaran MacLaughlin seemingly holds a strong hand here, but you could make a case for most of these. Tanzania Road (4) is the tepid favorite after running creditably in her first start in North America. That day she ran into Tapella, a Todd Pletcher trained daughter of Tapit that returned to win in sharp fashion. Even though McLaughlin has poor route to sprint numbers, bare in mind this fillies last start was also around one turn, so this isn’t your typical route to sprint. More importantly Kiaran is off to a fast start, and has already won with a horse second off the layoff just like this filly races. McLaughlin wins at a 24% rate second off layoffs of six months or longer. I may slightly prefer stable mate Sleigh Ride (3). KPM racing does very well second time out, and frequently doesn’t have them fully cranked for the debut. She’s out of a decent mare that bankrolled over $250,000. Total Control (1) wore her down for second, but she was more experienced, and I don’t know why should improve right now. Blind Pool (7) merits respect hailing from top flight connections. She does have a long layoff to contend with, and I’m a bit concerned about her two races prior to the layoff, particularly her second race in which she quit without much resistance. You can’t leave this combo out, but we aren’t going to get fair value in a small field based on her credentials. Mott also saddles a pair. Length (6) regressed in her third start. I was really disappointed with her lack of run that day. She’s much better bred for route and grass racing than this dirt sprint she tries today. So I actually prefer the longer of the uncoupled Mott duo. Angel Food (5) has turned in some decent drills, and Irad Ortiz sees fit to ride. Mott has a stigma for not winning at first asking, but he’s drastically better with three year old debut runners than two year old first timers. This filly’s mother was quick winning seven races in eighteen starts. Be sure to spread here.
I’m going with the pros in race eight, and most of all I want Spring to the Sky (8). I pegged the cold exacta writing for this site when English Minister ran him down at 6-1 to complete a monster exacta when he was last seen. He should be aggressively ridden on Friday by Caramouche and play catch me if you can. I’ve had great success through the years with this gelding, and he doesn’t have much early speed to contend with.
His major rival End Play (7) really had no excuse running a close beaten third without having to do any of the dirty work.
The entry is just o.k. Next Shares (1A) comes out of a race in which many of the horses are happy to run second or third. His barn mate has only won over Lord of Love a horse that is something like two for fifty.
I don’t care a lot for the Diodoro trainee Clever Royal (2) who ran terribly off the long layoff. On a positive note his turf sprints in California came against drastically faster animals. War Stroll (4) is a joke at 5 to 1 on the morning line at first glance, but Mike Maker has some good relevant stats that made me take a second look. Initially I did not think he has the turn on foot at this distance, but he has had success sprinting before. The long shot you might want to get into the number is Street Shark (5). I give him virtually no chance to win, but I must respect the fact he’s been competitive sprinting on grass.
Good luck in the finale; obviously Mr Masenna (4) is supposed to win, but he’s burned me so many times I can hardly take it. I can’t argue for Kierland (1) either, who’s also had his chances. I am guessing one of the Tom Albetrani runners steps up and beats these hangers. I don’t know if it will be Alexander David (3) or Prince Reigner (7), so I’ll use both. In the late pick four I’ll spread and use all of these.
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