There’s a lot of racing to get to today, especially if you’re taking a look at Oaklawn and Keeneland. I will, but for the purposes of this entry, let’s go through the card at Aqueduct. I’ll also make mention of my selection in the Arkansas Derby.
Aqueduct, Race 3: Claiming $12,500N2L at six furlongs
This is usually the sort of race that I pass right over, but when Revere is the horse to beat, it’s time to take a closer look. Ginger’s Joe (#1) has not been competitive in a race in quite some time, but he also hasn’t faced a field this easy perhaps ever. I have no idea who his owner/trainer is, but he’s run over this circuit against much tougher competition that give him a shot. You could say he’s been off form lately, but he gets a positive jockey switch today and really doesn’t need to improve his speed figures all that much to take this.
$5 Win 1
Aqueduct, Race 4: Optional Claiming $62,500 at one mile on the turf
I’m letting the turf course influence these selections a bit. Of the horses who have run over less than firm courses, I like the form of Eternal Ruler (#4) and Hangover Kid (#5) the best and they both should be decent prices. Tricky Hat and Malibu Way each had their share of troubles in that March 16th race at Gulfstream, with the latter’s being well documented, but I doubt the overall quality of that race. Exclusive Strike is a reliable old gelding, but he rarely offers value and I’ll try to beat him here.
$10 Win 4
$5 Win 5
Aqueduct, Race 6: Optional Claiming $25,000/N2X at six furlongs for NY-breds
A lot of the starch was taken out of this race when the scratches were announced. I liked “Horse to Watch” Odea (#4) originally, but now that Writingonthewall and Dr. Disco have been scratched, he is likely the lone speed and becomes way the horse to beat. It’s worth noting that his Beyer two back was greatly affected by pace and should be about 10 points higher to make sense–hence his placement on my “Horses to Watch” list. I’ll also use him over Pearl of Wisdom (#6) and Verbosity (#7) in the exacta.
$10 Win 4
$5 Exacta 4 with 6/7
Aqueduct, Race 9: Optional Claiming $25,000/N1X at one mile
I’m sort of married to Cap the Moment (#6) and originally wasn’t going to pick him here, but he fits on speed figures and perhaps he’s just turned a corner and can step up to be competitive with this group. You know he’ll be a price and I have a few questions about the favorites. Incognito (#3), who I’m also a fan of, has to show that he possesses the speed to win going a one-turn mile. I think he’s more of a two-turn horse with a lot of stamina and I wonder if he’ll drop too far back here with a faster pace. Perhaps Late Starter will get back to that 93 Beyer he ran last on the dirt for Jacobson, but I wonder if he’s going in the wrong direction.
$5 Win 6
$2 Exacta Box 3/6
Oaklawn, Race 10: The Arkansas Derby (G1) at 1 1/8 miles for three year-olds
I just don’t get all of the hype surrounding War Academy because it doesn’t really line up with what he’s done on the racetrack. Last time that allowance race fell apart a bit late when his stablemate ran off going into the turn and War Academy ran right by a tired horse late. The figure came back strong, but I want to see him do it again.
I’ve been a fan of Oxbow (#10) all winter and I think he’s only going to get better as the distances continue to stretch out. He’s been unlucky with wide post positions and subsequently very wide trips, but I think the post will matter a little less today with a longer run to the first turn. I’ve liked his progression this winter and am looking for a breakout performance here to signal that he’s a major contender moving forward to the Kentucky Derby.
$20 Win 10