Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Saturday, December 30, 2017
Another great day of racing at Aqueduct is on the schedule for today. Nine races are on tap, headlined by the Damon Runyon Stakes, for New York-bred two-year-olds. It’s also the first day of NYRA’s 2018 calendar sale, which goes on until January 1. Brave the cold temperatures if you’re in the area and pick one up.
We’ve got Mike Mahon (@MikeMahonPA) with picks & analysis of the program. Mike’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, Mike!
Race 1, 1 Mile, Maiden $60,000
4 to win
2 Go is the likely pace setter in this one, but it doesn’t look like he fits this distance. 4 Hail is stretching out from her only start at 6 1/2 Furlongs a month ago. She ran well and managed to show, but she never threatened and finished eight and a half lengths back. Bill Mott’s hitting these sprint to routes at nearly a 20% clip. Look for him to add to that today.
Race 2, 6 Furlongs, Claiming $14,000
1, 2, 4 to win
If 2 Finnegan breaks clean, he could wire the field. He’s ran well enough on the dirt earlier in his career. Another speed horse worth consideration is 4 Competitiveness, who’s a proven winner at this class and distance. Barring a bounce, a speed duel between these two would benefit 2 Lost Iron.
Race 3, 1 Mile, Allowance Optional Claiming $80,000
2, 3 to win
This is a short, chalky field with not a lot of value. I’m inclined to go with 2 Classy Class despite the 7/5 odds suggested in the morning line. If 1 Abiding Star is able to press Classy Class enough to tire him, look for 3 Vulcan’s Forge, also with fairly short odds, to pick up the pieces.
Race 4, 6 Furlongs, Claiming $16,000
7 w 1
7 I miss my Father comes in hot after breaking his maiden earlier in the month. Gullo win close to a quarter of his races second off this claim, but I’m a bit concerned that 1 Nut Nut drops to $16k claimer after a single race following the $25k claim. I don’t trust him to win here, but he’s worth an underneath play.
Race 5, 6 1/2 Furlongs, Allowance $50,000
1 w 7
1 Holland Road hopes to increase his two-race win streak to three with another step-up in class. He seems to like the surface at Aqueduct, and has a pretty good shot today. 7 Sir Alfred is an interesting option – he left Pletcher’s barn two weeks ago and he dives right into the same class two weeks later. He’s had some big performances in the past, and his last work was exceptional. He’s worth a shot at 8/1.
Race 6, 6 1/2 Furlongs, Maiden $55,000
3 w 7 w 8
3 Trinni Ninja ran exceptionally well for a first timer last out – she drifted back, challenged, and dueled her way from over six lengths behind to get within four of the winner. She doesn’t want to lose, and may be find her first trip to the winners circle this afternoon. 7 Sunshine Gal is well-bred and precocious – her dam has 7 winners from 9 starters, including one stakes winner. She’s bred to sprint, but Baker doesn’t strike too often with first time starters. 8 My Victoria Rose may improve with blinkers added, but probably won’t contest to win.
Race 7, 6 Furlongs, Optional Claiming $40,000
5, 8 w 5,8 w 3,4
1 For Pops wants to set the pace, and he draws a good position to do so today. I’ll look for 8 Saratoga Giro to press the pace make it interesting at the wire. 5 Mighty Zealous has been running very well lately, and takes a step up in class after being claimed last weekend. I usually wouldn’t play a horse off such a quick turnaround, but he’s hot and I’m tempted to ride the wave. 3 Cerretalto ran well last out and could improve second off the layoff. 4 Giantinthemoonlite looks like a solid contestant, but an unlikely winner.
Race 8, 1 Mile, Damon Runyon Stakes $100,000
8 w 4 w 3
4 Evaluator joins us this afternoon for his first run in over two months. He’s the classiest contestant and belongs on the dirt, but his recent works have not been impressive. 8 Audible ran a huge race last out, pressing the pace through the second and distancing himself by almost ten lengths down the stretch. His odds were terribly short that afternoon and I expect the same today. I’m impressed by both 1 Sea Foam and 6 Empire Line, but I’m not sure if either of them can stretch out while stepping up to stakes competition, so I’ll look to 3 Honor Up to round out the trifecta.
Race 9, 6 Furlongs, Maiden Claiming $40,000
8 w 4,6
8 Trinni Juice drops in class today while Parboo is winning at 20% third off a layoff. She showed improvement last out, and should be in the mix this afternoon. 6 Zenato is also taking a small step down, and could be able to get out front and run away from this group. 4 Can’tweallgetalong revisits the dirt sprinting world after two turf route attempts. He’s taken off four months, and looks like more of a wild card than a practical wager.
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