Aqueduct, Race 4: Allowance N1X at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for NY-breds
I know it appears that Captain Gaughen (#2) has really tailed off since the summer, but he has had major excuses in each of this last two races. When he returned from a two-month break on October 3rd, he got a curious ride from Jose Lezcano. There was not much speed on paper, so Lezcano decided to try and send Captain Gaughen up to engage the co-favored leader. They hooked up and went way too fast to the half-mile before they both faltered in the stretch. That is not how Captain Gaughen wants to run and Lezcano corrected his mistake next time on October 19th. Unfortunately, that was a complete merry-go-round race in which the first three finishers paraded around the track in that order. Captain Gaughen tried to mount a rally at the top of the stretch, but encountered brief traffic trouble as he tried to work his way outside and just got going far too late.
The pace scenario is not exactly clear in this race either and I do have some questions about whether he wants to go this far, but Captain Gaughen could go off at double digit odds and I think he might still be the best horse in the race so he’s my selection.
$10 Win 2 (WINNER; Payout: $53.00)
Aqueduct, Race 6: The Demoiselle (G2) at 1 1/8 miles for two year-old fillies
This race isn’t part of the Pick-4, but there’s a horse in here that I like so I’ll mention it.
On paper America (#4) looks slower than likely favorite Stopchargingmaria as well as both Penwith and Got Lucky, who are coming out of the same faster maiden race. That doesn’t matter so much to me when you’re talking about two year-old fillies going a mile and an eighth. I want the one that is going to get the distance and I believe America is that filly.
America is the product of a branch of one of the top active Thoroughbred female families tracing back to her fourth dam, Best In Show, who appropriately was a winner of the Comely Stakes. Best In Show is the ancestress of plenty of stakes winners through numerous daughters, but her two most notable progeny were the fillies Sex Appeal and Blush With Pride. Sex Appel is the dam of influential sire and Champion Three Year-Old El Gran Senor while Blush With Pride produced the great modern broodmare Better Than Honour, dam of back-to-back Belmont Stakes winners Rags to Riches and Jazil as well as Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner Man of Iron and Peter Pan winner Casino Drive, who probably should have been her third consecutive Belmont winner in 2008.
For her last four matings, Blush With Pride was bred to Sadler’s Wells several times. The first of those foals was Maryinsky, who produced European Champion Three Year-old Filly Peeping Fawn, winner of the Yorkshire Oaks and Irish Oaks at 12 furlongs. The second of those Sadler’s Wells foals is America’s second dam, Butterfly Blue. Butterfly Blue was nothing special, winning just 1 of 9 starts in Ireland and after her racing career was bred to speed influence Fasliyev, getting America’s dam, Lacadena. Lacadena was considerably quicker than the rest of her family, winning a sprint race in her debut and finishing third in the Victoria Stakes at Woodbine as a two year-old. This mix of precocity from Lacadena’s sire and stamina from both A. P. Indy and the rest of Lacadena’s female family has resulted in America.
She needs to move forward again today, but Mott adds Lasix and shows plenty of confidence moving her up into this spot. I also loved the way she galloped out last time after being hard ridden to get into gear at the top of the stretch. She could find herself right up on the pace today with a clean break and I expect her to gallop these fillies into submission.
I will use her to win and in the exacta with Got Lucky (#1), who hails from a stamina-oriented Phipps female family. Her dam is a half-sister to graded stakes winners Daydreaming and Girolamo as well as She’s a Winner, the dam of Bluegrass Cat, and Supercharger, the dam of Super Saver. She put in a strong rally into a slow pace in her debut after breaking slowly and could be set for a step forward today.
$15 Win 4
$5 Exacta Box 1/4
Aqueduct, Race 7: The Comely Stakes (G3) at 1 1/8 miles for three year-old fillies
Wedding Toast will be a single for many in the Pick-4 and perhaps it’s futile to try and beat her, but I’m not of the opinion that she’s invincible in this spot. Her win two races back came up very fast on the Beyer scale, but it was a bias-aided performance in which she was in the inside speed over an inside speed favoring racetrack. Furthermore, she was allowed to set a very slow pace for the distance and naturally had plenty left in the tank for the final quarter mile. Next time she rated successfully in the Belle Cherie and drew off to another good-looking win, but the time was not so fast to warrant her being an odds-on favorite here, which I do think she’ll be.
If this race were a furlong shorter, I would have instead gone to My Happy Face, who is probably just as good as, if not better than, Wedding Toast, but I have real concerns about her getting this distance, especially with other speed in the race.
I’ve ultimately landed on Galloping Giraffe (#8). Yes, Wedding Toast beat her by 14 lengths two races back, but I think you’re looking at the entire picture if you take that number at face value. Galloping Giraffe was up against the pace scenario and the way the track was playing as she had to rally wide around the horses. She was turned back in distance last time and took a major step forward. October 24th was a day when the track was again leaning slightly towards inside speed and Galloping Giraffe closed relentlessly through the final half-mile to catch a loose on the lead Classic Point. It was a performance that signaled to me that this long striding filly is finally figuring things out. Distance is not a concern and she should get some pace up front. She’ll need another step forward to beat the favorite, but I think it’s within the realm of possibility and she should be a decent price.
$10 Win 8
$5 Exacta 2-8
Aqueduct, Race 8: The Cigar Mile (G1) at one mile
I was actually surprised at how well Verrazano (#10) ran in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). For the first time in his career he faced some adversity and didn’t completely shut down. Instead he battled back in the stretch to get fourth despite going extremely wide and having to race farther off the pace than he was accustomed to doing. I’m encouraged that the connections are pressing on with him to squeeze in this one more start before he’s shipped off to stud. We all know that when he has his mind on running there are few horses in the country who can beat him and his Dirt Mile suggested that perhaps his mental capacity is finally catching up with his physical ability.
While it’s unfortunate that John Velazquez is still on the sidelines, I actually like the jockey switch to Javier Castellano. It’s not that I think he’s a better jockey or anything of the sort, but sometimes horses get used to one style of riding and a change such as this can wake them up.
All conjectures aside, the reason I ended up picking Verrazano is because he figures to get a very good trip in this race. Private Zone is the speed of the speed and figures to clear off from the outside post position. That should leave Verrazano stalking outside in the clear where he wants to be. I believe he has more raw talent than Goldencents if he’s willing to show it and all things being equal, I will take Verrazano at what should be a fair price.
I also want to use Forty Tales (#2), who has had excuses in his three losses since having his early summer winning streak snapped. He encountered traffic trouble in the King’s Bishop and was then against the pace scenario in the Vosburgh. Last time Joel Rosario apparently sensed that there was not much speed on paper and took Forty Tales out of his usual running style by asking him to go up to stalk the pace early. He dropped back around the turn, but then came on again strongly late to finish a clear second behind Clearly Now, who really woke up with the addition of blinkers. I have questions about Clearly Now getting the mile, but Forty Tales has negotiated this distance successfully in the past and I think he may be overlooked in the wagering based on his recent disappointments. His last race suggests to me that he’s as good as ever and he’s a threat to win this if either Verrazano or Goldencents get caught up in a fast pace.
The horse I’m against is Groupie Doll. They made a split variant on Breeders’ Cup day which resulted in her figure being higher than what one might have expected. A horse who ran nearly the exact same seven furlong time earlier in the day earned a figure that was 11 points lower. I don’t really agree with the decision to split up the day’s variant and I do not think her performance is as strong as it appears on paper.
I’ll bet my two selections to win at decent price and box them in the exacta with the very logical Goldencents.
$15 Win 10
$10 Win 2
$2 Exacta Box 2/8/10
Aqueduct, Race 9: The Remsen Stakes (G2) at 1 1/8 miles for two year-olds
I don’t want to spend too much time discussing the Remsen now that the ‘other’ horse I liked, Noble Moon, has been scratched. I’ve been a huge Honor Code fan since his debut and I’ll be rooting for him to demolish this field today. Cairo Prince was impressive last time, but a look into his female family calls his stamina into question and I wonder if he wants to go much farther than a mile.
The pace won’t be in his favor, but Honor Code should win today if he’s as good as his first two races suggested.