Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Sunday, January 21, 2018
A great day of racing action at Aqueduct is on tap. There’s an nine-race card, including two stakes races: the Alex M. Robb Stakes, and the Ladies Handicap. The first post time will be 12:20 PM EST.
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!
The track of late, especially yesterday, has been extremely kind to inside speed. The only horses that were able to make up considerable ground were horses that rode the rail. I have handicapped today based on that track trend. Let’s see if it stays the same. 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 – 5 / 3,6,7 / 5 / 2,3 / ALL = $21
Aggressive Pick 5 Ticket- 3,5 / 3,4,5,6,7 / 5 / 2,3,6 / 2,3,4,6,7 = $75
Race 1- 5-3-4
#5- Merger of Banks – Unless one of the first time starters have any early zip, I do not see how they beat this horse. Last time out he stumbled out of the gate and rushed up for the lead and got caught late. A similar showing with a clean break makes him extremely hard to beat. The switch to Paco Lopez, who is good as they come with horses attempting to wire the field.
#3- Heyitsnricopalazo – One of the great names I have seen on a horse (Naked Gun reference). Of the two horses Englehart horses I will venture a guess that this is the better of the two horses since Franco, his go-to rider, has taken the mount.
Race 2- 3-7-6
#3- R Lucky Charm – I will be the first to say I am not thrilled with this pick. Taking 2-1 on a horse with a lot of red flags is not my cup of tea. His best races have come on off-tracks which he will not get here today. The drop in class is also extremely worrisome. But Jason Servis is a master at spotting horses and it is hard to ignore his stats going turf to dirt (36% winners). He should also have a slight post edge over the Rudy horse who might press one another.
#7- Curiousncuriouser – On a fair track, this would be my top pick at 6-1 since the potential speed duel should set up a nice her nice closing kick. I am usually not a big fan of the claim an drop move for trainer Diodoro but he just won with this move in the finale on Saturday.
#6- Leah’s Dream- On a fair track she figures to receive the dream trip sitting just off of the two speed horses. This is probably the stronger of the two Diodoro entries as evident by his go-to rider, Arroyo, taking the mount. It is hard to endorse a horse, however who has never won on a fast track.
Race 3- 5- 1-2
#5- Control Group – Gary Contessa must be kicking himself for letting this horse go as a maiden. The job Rudy Rodriguez has done with this horse is amazing. I love the switch to Kendrick Carmouche who is the perfect rider for a horse like this. I do not think he is as good as his last performance but he is good enough to take this field wire to wire. If we have the same track as yesterday he should be 1/5.
#1- Papa Shot- I think this horse is extremely dangerous coming off a freshening. The last time coming off such a layoff he finished a strong 2nd to Diversify. If Control Group gets into a dogfight with Wake up in Malibu, this is the type of horse who can ride the rail and close for a winning score. Do not ignore
Race 4- 3-2-5
#3- Impazible Creek – I made this my top pick the other day when she was scratched in favor of her entry mate who won easy. I love the scratch into another race angle and this horse has a couple of excuses in her first two tries. First time out she got off terrible and showed some run during the course of the race. Last time out she showed some early speed (which would come in handy today) and faded at a longer distance and in the mud. Getting to a fast track, I am hoping she goes right to the lead and holds off the other contenders. Worth a shot at a nice price.
#2- Overtime Olivia- She ran an impressive 2nd behind a horse who took on Stakes company next time out. That speed will help with these low connections and it will be interesting to see who breaks better between my top two picks. Whoever does, is your likely winner.
#5- Pink Twist- One of the best handicapping angles I have found over the years is betting against older Todd Pletcher first time starters. She is bred to be a decent horse but it is clear that this is not one of the stronger horses in the Pletcher barn.
#6- My Girl Annie- It is worth noting that in her only two 6 Furlong races she ran into Bluegrass Flag and Overnegotiate. She might have found the right field in this spot.
Race 5- 3-7-2
#3- Summer Punch- Here is my crazy play for the day. Bare with me on this one. This horse is a jail move for Robrertino Diodoro which everyone knows I love. He claimed this horse from Linda Rice who is not known to have her horses ready first time out. Despite that fact, this horse went off as the favorite in an 8 horse field at Saratoga that produced a few nice horses. The horse never left the gate and who knows why this horse has been away for so long. But any horse that took that much action first time out, albeit meant for the turf, for Linda Rice and on a jail move for Diodoro at 12-1 is a horse I can’t ignore.
#7- Blue Watch- See my write-up about Pink Twist in race 3 and apply it here for Chad Brown. I do not want to say that they have given up on this horse, but if they were really high on this horse, wouldn’t he have brought this one down to Gulfstream? She is bred to be a good thing and has been training consistently. I guess she could go right to the front and put them away, but I predict that win or lose, Chad will have this one in the claiming ranks within six months.
#2- Total Control- Of the horses that have run, this is the horse that has shown the most ability. Constantly earning checks but has not shown a winning move as of yet.
Pick 4 Play – Check on twitter based on how track is playing first 5 races.
Race 6- 4-7-9
#4- Rockford – I think we can call this race the Jail Move classic. 5 of the 9 horses are coming into the race on jail moves (mostly due to all the cancelations). I will give a slight edge to this old vet who is projected to be loose on the lead. On yesterday’s track, this is a Pick 4 single. If the track is playing the same, play with confidence. He is also 3 for his last 3 on fast tracks.
#7- Daddy DT- A Rudy jail move is hard to ignore. On a fair track this is my top pick and should sit a nice trip right behind my top pick and the 8 horse. It is important to note that one of the hardest trainers to claim from is Diodoro.
#9- Will Did It- It is interesting that Mark Hennig plunked 25k on this horse since he does not do much claiming. This jail move should be closer to the leaders and loves the track. This horse has been a popular item at the claim box and it is reasonable to expect a slight improvement coming out of the Robert Barbara barn.
Race 7- 8-3-2
#8- Sandy Belle- I know I sound like a broken record, but if the track is like yesterday they can’t catch this horse. The ironic thing is on a fair track, I think this is a terrible play since she seems more like a turf / off track specialist. This is what handicapping is about…..adjusting based on info. Check on my twitter updates to see if this is a strong play or stay away based on the track trend.
#3- Nothingbutasmile- I want to give this horse one more try on a fast track as three of her four attempts have been on a different surface. Her long try on a fast track was a two length lose to Palladian Bridge who has turned into a decent runner.
Race 8- 2-4-7
Linda Rice looks like she has a strong hold in this edition of the Ladies Handicap. I will give a slight edge to the 2 horse who is starting to really get good and exits a race that looks live.
Race 9- 5-3-4
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