I’ll write just a few words about today’s opinions at Aqueduct:
Aqueduct, Race 1: Maiden Special Weight at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for two year-old fillies
Marie Antoinette is clearly the filly to beat based on the strength of her debut performance. She survived a stiff pace that day and battled back gamely in the stretch. She’d be no surprise as the winner of this race, but I’m not itching to bet her at 5-2 when there are a couple of other interesting horses in the race.
Gumdrop (#6) began her career in promising fashion at Arlington on the synthetic track, but has since disappointed, first in a stakes race and then on dirt. Her pedigree suggests that turf is what is going to ultimately prefer since her dam is a full-sister to Tenski, winner of the Queen Elizebeth II Challenge Cup (G1) and over $500,000 on turf. I think she could wake up today at a big price.
I will also use Tizarocket (#8), who ran two respectable dirt races to start her career, but has the pedigree to transfer that form to turf. While her dam has yet to produce any other talented runners, there is plenty of turf in the second generation of her pedigree as a handful of this mare’s half-sisters have produced a slew of turf stakes winners. I like that Javier Castellano takes the call as this filly gets another huge rider upgrade.
$10 Win 6
$10 Win 8
Aqueduct, Race 3: Maiden Special Weight at seven furlongs
There is quite a bit of evidence suggesting that the Belmont main track was again heavily favoring rail runners on October 18th, which makes the performance of Onecats Chance (#1) pretty remarkable. He went four-wide all the way around the far turn and continued to make a sustained run through the stretch on a day when other horses were not able to follow suit. I don’t know where that race came from, but if he runs it back again today he’ll have an excellent chance to win.
$15 Win 1
Aqueduct, Race 5: Allowance N1X at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for fillies and mares
She’s disappointed me more often than not and seems to have a knack for finding trouble, but I have to keep the faith that Dreaming of Cara (#4) will some day fall into that perfect trip and score at a huge price. That day could be today as she never had a chance to run last time in the Ticonderoga Stakes when she was blocked for the entirety of the stretch run. I don’t know if she would have won without the trouble, but she certainly would have finished a lot closer (Watch Replay). The trip is what is going to make the difference today. She drew a good post position but Pablo Morales needs to do everything right to get her home. If she manages to avoid trouble, I think she’s every bit as good as anyone else in this race and has a real chance to win.
$10 Win 4 [SCRATCHED] $2 Exacta 3/7/9/10/12 with 4 [SCRATCHED]
Aqueduct, Race 8: Starter Optional Claiming $20,000 at six furlongs
I’m not being too clever with this one, but I just think Start Jumping (#11) would be a very logical winner off a solid wide trip performance on October 18th when you probably wanted to stay closer to the rail. He’s run fast enough to win this already and David Jacobson is really on a roll right now.
$15 Win 11
Aqueduct, Race 9: Maiden Special Weight at one mile on the turf for NY-bred two year-olds
While the overall quality of that October 14th maiden race won by Social Rebellion may have been lacking by comparison to some of the other NY-bred maiden races run at Belmont this fall, I think there are a couple of runners exiting that race that could take steps forward today. Luv Dakota Skye (#9) and Giant Jo (#11) had contrasting trips, each of which probably prevented them from showing their best on that day (Watch Replay). Luv Dakota Skye was just everywhere in the pack–first rushing up to chase the leaders, then dropping back on the turn while seemingly out of contention before running on strongly late for second. Giant Jo on the other hand chased a very fast pace up front and was the only horse who participated in that hot pace to be around at the finish. He may have run the better race that day, but I do have some questions about him negotiating two turns today whereas Luv Dakota Skye should relish the extra ground. Both should be decent prices.
$10 Win 9
$10 Win 11