Saturday’s card at Aqueduct,
particularly the late Pick 4 sequence, is about as tough as it gets. I’m going
to be up front with you guys, I struggled mightily with this quad of races. If
I played the ticket I constructed using all the top contenders that I wanted,
the ticket would have cost 150 bucks, for fifty cents!!! Now, I am definitely
not doing that, but my advice is this. You either have to put together a large
ticket, or you have to go out on a limb and take a chance. An educated risk, if
you will. I am opting for the latter. I have a feeling this sequence may pay
very well, so I can’t blame you if you go large here, I just had a hard time
dwindling my ticket down so I’m going in light. There was no middle ground for
me. I had to either take a shot with a single or go way too deep for my budget.
Enough of me rambling on, let’s get down to business. This set of races is
highlighted by the Grade 3 Red Smith Handicap and kicks off with a tough state-bred
allowance, here’s how I see it.
Race 6: I am going 5 deep here. I am hoping someone stands
out in the paddock or post parade because I would love to trim down a little
here in hopes I can use a few more later, in the race where I singled. As it is
though, I am using Native Singer, Rocket Hero, Junior Officer, Uncle Smokey,
and Precious Metal. Native Singer is
coming back off 6 days rest and that is a good angle for trainer Gary Gullo.
The problem is that he drew the rail, which may be an issue. If he scratches I
will not use the other half of the entry. Rocket Hero is coming in off of a
layoff and has fired fresh in the past. I see no reason why he can’t come right
back against this group and get the cash. The 10-1 morning line is more than
worth the risk against this bunch. Junior Officer is cutting back in distance
and is 2nd off the layoff and claim. I think the trip should suit
him just fine. Uncle Smokey is a tricky one, he hates to win. I am thinking if
anyone can turn him around though, it is David Jacobson, the guy is a wizard
with guys like this. And lastly, I will use Precious Metal. He is switching
from turf to dirt for Rudy Rodriguez, and if he can handle the switch, he may
be pretty tough to beat in here.
Race 7: Today’s feature, the Grade 3 Red North Handicap, I
see as a 3 horse race. I will only be using two of them though. Hyper and Nutello made the cut, Tannery
did not. Tannery is a real nice filly but I just feel she needs soft ground to
succeed. Without it, she always seems to just fall short and grab minor awards.
She may prove me wrong today but I had to take a stand somewhere. As for Hyper,
he always seems to show a good account of himself. He is a legit and deserving
favorite. With that said though, I’m not so sure he is a lock. He has not
visually wowed me at all. The long shot I am throwing in with him is Nutello.
Now, hear me out on this one. The reason I am using him is I believe you should
always give a horse 3 strikes if you think they have talent. I bet him in his
stateside debut where he was very rank and still finished a decent 3rd
in the Sword Dancer. I couldn't wait to bet him next out and backed him again in the Turf Classic at Belmont, where he just didn’t fire while
getting Lasix for the first time. Now, he comes into this off a little bit of a
rest while dropping out of two Grade 1’s, and he is getting a jockey switch to
Luis Saez who is more than capable. While I think Jose Lezcano is a fine jock,
maybe he just didn’t get along with this one. It’s now or never for me with
this guy. I hope he can repay me for my loyalty. (The other contender I should
mention is Imagining. I think he is outclassed and has some pace issues today, so
I am way against.)
Race 8: The Move It Now Stakes, an overnight restricted to New York breds who have
not won a stakes since September 1st, is a tough nut to crack. I
have no solid opinion so I won’t waste your time here. The only opinion I
really have here is that I am against Bond Vigilante because of the rail draw.
Besides that, I got nothing strong here. I am going to use five in here with Moneyinyour Pocket, Brigand, Zivo, Spa City Fever,
and Awesome Vision. They all have
their positives and negatives, but none of them make me exude confidence. I might just
close my eyes when this race goes off and pray I make it through alive.
Race 9: I am taking a major stand here in the night cap. I
am singling Christophe Clement’s charge Western
Exchange. He is a first time starter who gets the services of Jose Lezcano.
He is racing without Lasix, but I have seen Clemente pull this move many a
time. He can win going long at first asking and he can do so at a nice price as
well. My Pick 4 glory will lie in his hands if I am lucky enough to be alive
here. While I am going out on a limb, I do see a lot of major players in here
who I would not be shocked to see win. The second time starters of Genuine Flare, Gibson’s Bullet, and Gara
Gattino all have a major shots to take the money. The other two I see as top
contenders are Sheldon, who drops
out of the Grade 3 Pilgrim for Jimmy Toner, and That’s a Kitten, who is a first time starter for Chad Brown. Very
tough race folks, use as many as you can or take a shot like I did. Good luck.
The Play: A fifty cent wager will cost you $25. I am going
1-3-5-7-10 with 11-12 with 3-4-7-8-10 with 9.
Whelp, that was a tough one guys.
As always I hope I helped you lock up your stronger opinions or turned you onto
something you may not have thought of. Best of luck everyone on a very rough
string of races. We are going to need it. Have a winning day, folks. Good vibes coming your way.