I’m taking a few tentative shots today, but I’m focusing most of my energies on handicapping the expansive menu of top racing tomorrow.
Aqueduct, Race 1: Optional Claiming $25,000/N2X at one mile for NY-breds
I probably wouldn’t even be talking about this race if “Horse to Watch” Bigger Is Bettor (#6) was not running here. With the scratch of Pearl of Wisdom, three year-old Reaching Out (#2) becomes the lone speed and if he runs as well as he did last time he’s probably going to win. I’m married to putting a few bucks on Bigger Is Bettor and I’m hoping the return to one-turn racing might wake him up because he is better than his recent races might suggests. That said, he needs to show a will to win that has been lacking from his recent performances.
$5 Win 6
$5 Exacta 2-6 (WINNER; Payout: $16.25)
Aqueduct, Race 6: Optional Claiming $14,000/N1X at one mile for NY-bred fillies and mares
I get that She’s Always Hot can win as the likely favorite, but she really hasn’t done much running in any of her races. If this completely falls apart late, then I suppose she will probably inherit the lead, but she’s just not the sort of horse I want to put my money on.
Boldchildsrevenge (#5) got a ridiculous ride last time where she was sent up to press a suicidal pace and her prior route effort can legitimately win this. I know there’s other speed today, but she gets a positive rider switch to Eddie Castro and I just thinks he wants this trip more than fellow three year-olds Run a Dubb Dubb and Pumpkin Lane.
I’ll also use Sugar Beach (#7) to a less extent. She’s typically not the type of horse I want, especially since her one big figure was earned with the help of a gold rail, but her overall form isn’t that much worse than She’s Always Hot’s and she’s certainly going to be a bigger price.
$10 Win 5
$5 Win 7 (WINNER; Payout: $50.00)
Aqueduct, Race 8: Optional Claiming $62,500/N2X at one mile for fillies and mares
If Royal Lahaina (#2) runs either of her last two races, she’s probably not going to lose, but I like a horse who finished behind her last time who I think can run a lot better here. Coco Ecolo (#4) just ran like she wasn’t quite ready off the layoff last time. She was very rank early in the race, was fighting Mike Luzzi on the turn and down the backstretch, and then had nothing left late. She ran plenty of races last year that would put her in the mix for a big piece of this and Kelly Breen typically improves his horses in their second starts back from layoffs. If Jose Ortiz decides not to send Force de la Nature early, Coco Ecolo may find herself on the lead. She’ll probably be around 15-1, but I think she’s a contender to get in the exacta and perhaps even win if the favorite doesn’t fire.
$5 Win 4
$5 Exacta 2-4