Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Sunday, December 31, 2017
A great day of racing action at Aqueduct is on tap for the final time in 2017. There’s an eight-race card, with a first post time of 12:20 PM EST, and Steven Schwartz (@albundypolkhigh) will be providing FREE picks & analysis of all the racing action. Be sure to give Steven a follow on twitter for updated thoughts throughout the program.
Good luck to everyone following along!
It is my honor to write the last write-up of the 2017 year for the site and its followers. It has been a fun and profitable year. Along the way I have gotten to know many of the followers and I am looking forward to an even better 2018. Hopefully they will be running but extreme cold is expected in the forecast. Let’s end the year on a high note. Let’s take some chances. Let’s cash some tickets. Let’s get ‘em. Make sure to follow me on twitter @albundypolkhigh. I often make changes to picks based on surface and the betting board.
Conservative Pick 5 Ticket – 3,5 / 6,8 / 2 / 3,4 / 3,8,10 = $12
Aggressive Pick 5 Ticket- 2,3,5 / 6,8 / 2,3,4,5 / 3,4,5 / 1,3,6,7,8,9,10 =$252
Race 1- 3-5-2
The kickoff leg of the Pick 5 is very interesting. It appears to be a battle between the have runs vs. the first timers. I am siding big time with the horses going first time out. Here is a quick breakdown:
1 Entry – No shot.
2- Tilt- A two year old firster for Todd Pletcher is always dangerous. This is especially true for those that go for 12x the sire price. Training very forwardly for this race and appears to be the one to beat. However, there are a few red flags for me:
- Do I really want to take a Todd Pletcher non-state bred who he left in NY? These are generally not his strongest bunch.
- It is tough for horses to win from the rail post first time out.
- Pletcher usually has his strong stock run earlier in the year at Gulfstream or at Saratoga. Why is he waiting till the last day of the year to run this horse?
3- Corinthian Spirit- I made this my top pick based on value since I think any of the firsters can win here. He went for 17x the stud fee so I expect this one to run a bit. David Donk usually does not do well first time out but he has had a strong meet and the works look decent enough to try to get an 8-1 home to start the pick 5.
4- Power Boss- I am against this horse big time and might consider tossing on most tickets. He will get bet off his last in where he finished a game second at 11-1. Why take the same horse a race later at 5-2. He might appreciate the cutback but there is a reason that this horse debuted on the turf for a low percentage barn. Pass on a short price.
5- Egyptian Pioneer – A well bred son of Pioneer of the Nile who also had a bit of a maturity advantage over the others being born in February. The connections are sure to make sure that this one takes a ton of money and is well positioned on the outside of a short field. Horse is logical but hard to endorse at what appears to be a short price. Watch the board for more info.
6- Infield is in- He has an experience advantage over the others but the low connections and 0-8 lifetime record leave a lot to be desired.
Race 2- 8-6-5
#8- Cathy Naz- I will make this my top pick in what looks like a two-horse race. Last time out she went off 3x the price as the morning line favorite and finished ahead of the favorite despite the rough start. Look for her to be forwardly placed and sit the right trip with the upgrade in jockey who loves to be aggressive.
#6- Viradia- She is the logical horse to win but as I always say, I am not a big fan of these Linda Rice droppers. She just missed in a similar spot two-back and a similar effort would make her tough to beat.
#5- Baby Boss- She has the look of an interesting 2nd time starter who has the right to improve at good odds. She took a ton of money first time out and never looked comfortable on the race track. She showed good speed which should help her here since there does not appear to be much speed signed on. Expect an improvement and a nice horse to make a Jason Perry Superfecta move (box underneath)
Race 3- 2-5-3
On paper this seems like a race where something crazy can happen. The 4-5 favorite in Sandy Belle has run the fastest numbers but appears to be a “need-the-lead” type and if she gets the lead she will be gasping for air down the stretch. #4 Classic Stones is out of Bustin Stones who everyone knows is one of my favorite sires. They are bred to fire the minute they leave the gate and that is exactly what this horse has done the first two times out. If that occurs again, both the #3 and #4 can cause this race to breakdown and leave it to one of the closers. #2 Nothingbutasmile looks to most benefit from that pace setup. Don’t ignore #5 Terralsole who also has a nice closing kick and going 2nd off the layoff for a trainer who is hot as a pistol.
In your pick 5 tickets, I would either hit the all button or take a chance and throw out the chalk and hope that he gets pace compromised. “We play to win the game”.
Race 4- 4-3-5
#4- Bobby on Fleek – This race might be very similar to the 3rd race in that you have a couple of speed horses who will be challenging one another. If that occurs it should set things up for one of the closers. As much as I wanted to pull the trigger on the better price, I couldn’t. This horse has a ton of back class and looked great winning last time out against weaker but I am also very scared that Rudy is trying to make a few bucks on this horse and hope that someone plops down 50k on him off his last effort. Might have the look of a horse who appreciates time off and he will only get 10 days here. Buyer beware.
#3- Professor Snape – He is only a few days short of one of the larger jail moves you will ever seen and racing for almost 3x the price he was claimed for. That day he was all out just to win at the 14k level and struggled doing it. So what makes us think that he can now win at the 50k level after being claimed off of Linda Rice? Well those that follow my angles know that I love when trainers show confidence. This type of move from a trainer who has been very successful at this meet is as confident a move as one can get. Normally the jockey would concern me but this combo is already 2 for 3 at this meet with a $30 ROI and 4 for 9 the past year when teaming up. A lot to like and the value play here.
#5- Curtis- He has been just a different horse since being claimed by Gary Gullo. With Paco Lopez aboard you are assured that they are sending hard on this horse but might has a challenger to his outside which will not make things easy. I am also a bit concerned that this horse may just like Belmont as evident by his flop last time out at Parx. The rest may help. If he gets an easy lead, he is gone but that is not likely.
Conservative Pick 4- 3,8,10 / 2,4 / 7 / 3,4 = $6
Aggressive Pick 4- 3,6,8,10 / 2,4,5 / 5,7 / 1,2,3,4 = $48b
Race 5- 3-10-8
#3- My Luciana Rose – This top pick is more about value and the lack of love for the top 2 morning line favorites than an endorsement for this horse. One more that has been effective at this meet are horses getting back to the surface of their maiden voyage as this one is doing here. That day she faced a tougher field and did little running despite taking a little bit of money first time out. Now she is getting blinkers and cutting back in distance which is two decent angles for this outfit. She will need to improve but the connections bred confidence.
#10- Dancingwthdaffodls- I think the world will be betting this horse and will be a terrible underlay in my opinion. Everyone knows how great a job Linda Rice does with horses second time out and most will go to the windows with that angle in mind. However, this horse did little running and the running lines make the horse out to be better than the race actually was in my opinion. She made up 3 lengths in the file quarter but I wonder how much that has to do with the bad start and the bad field. The slight drop in class is another red flag and one that I mentioned I try to avoid. The outside post will do this horse no favors either. Must include, but not with a win ticket.
#8- Missimpazi- She likes to cash checks which is a good thing but does not like to take that picture. The slight cutback in distance will help but might need an easier field than this.
Race 6- 2-4-5
#2- Cinderela El Crome – A Danny Gargan jail move at 10-1? How can I resist. This horse is getting a huge trainer and jockey upgrade and will need everything to go perfect to win this race. But that is why we are going to get at least 10-1 on this horse. He should be sitting a decent trip just off the leaders and the horse he lost to last time out came back to run a beyer in the 90s (I believe). I will be making a large win bet and wheeling underneath in tris and supers.
#4- Tommy T- Most would point to the fact that it took him 5 attempts to break his maiden with 3 seconds as a negative. But look at who he was running against. Losing to the likes of Phi Beta Exress, CZ Rocket, Eight Town and Westwood is understandable and he has a right to win back to back races. It is concerning that the trainer is 0 for 20 after winning his last start. Ortiz is known not to be an aggressive rider and that might work to his advantage with other speeds signs on.
#5- Polar Jet- Linda Rice has done wonders with this horse and looks like it will be steal of a 25k claim. Another slight improvement and he will be tough to beat.
Race 7- 7-5-6
#7- Control Group- I looked for a horse that can beat him and I think only the jockey can lose the race for him. Wake up in Malibu will be sending and with the short run to the first turn, it is important that Ortiz rates just off of him and does not try to get into a battle with this horse. If he does that he should sit the perfect trip to win around the final turn. If they hook up in a battle, it will be tough to sustain that battle for 10 panels.
#5- Can You Diggit- I will forgive his last race which came on 10 days rest. Prior to that he ran 3rd in the Empire Classic just behind Control Group, whom both horse have not fared well against Twisted Tom. If he can improve with the rest then he can make up the lost ground that day and beat Control Group.
#6- Extinct Charm- Everyone knows that I am against Bruce Brown runners but this horse has an interesting look at a price underneath. His races last year show he can get the distance and his speed ratings fit in this spot. His form is steadily improving each time coming off the long layoff and might be sitting on a solid race.
Race 8- 3-4-1
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