Race of the Week 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Across the Board with Mike B

Saturday at The Big A: Late Pick 4 Action


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.


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Older Comments about Saturday at The Big A: Late Pick 4 Action ...

No superstars in the Red Smith. My crazy long shot is Artic North. I liked the way he finished his last two; might just be ready for this.

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 Meet Michael Barry   


 It all started 5 years ago for me after a spur of the moment trip to Saratoga Springs with my future wife.  I had always bet on the Triple Crown races, and made a few trips to Suffolk Downs annually, but not until that journey to The Spa did things get serious for me.  I fell in love with horse racing right then and there and I haven’t looked back since.  The following year I read every handicapping book I could get my hands on.  I became, and still am, a very passionate student of the game. 


Through this blog I hope to take you guys through my favorite aspect of the game, which is breaking down races and doping out winners.  I focus my attention between the NYRA circuit (mostly), Gulfstream Park, and Keeneland.  I also plan to provide very thorough coverage leading up to the Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup.  I love analyzing the prep races leading up to both of those grand events. 


Wagering wise, I love playing pick 4’s and 5’s, and I have enjoyed some success in the past playing those types of exotics.  In any given race, I try to attack based on strength of opinion and value.  That may be in the form of an exacta, trifecta, superfecta, daily double, pick 3, or by laddering my choice across the board.  Every race is its own animal and must be played accordingly.


Personally, I am a graduate of Boston University and reside on the South Shore of Massachusetts with my beautiful wife Tara and wonderful son Finn.  I work as a technician for a communications company by day. 


I can be found on Twitter @mbarry24 and I’m always up to discuss anything horse racing related.

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