This edition of the Grade 2, $150,000 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct is short on horses, with only five entries, but it features at least one promising and well-bred contender to consider wagering on.
Last year, this blog gave out Shotski as the 9-1 winner. For the race on Saturday, the probable winners are narrowed down to Pickin’ Time, Known Agenda and Ten for Ten. Because the race contains only five horses in all, all three of them are likely to start at single-digit odds.
With that said, the Shug McGaughey-trained Ten for Ten might offer value here. In the last few weeks, the barn has won with notable overlays such as North Dakota ($19.40) in the Red Smith Stakes (G3) and Mrs. Danvers ($9.50) in the Comely Stakes (G3). If Ten for Ten starts as the third choice, he is another overlay who can fire.
Ten for Ten’s biggest appeal is how he broke his maiden on a sloppy track at Belmont by eight lengths on Oct. 16. Based on the current weather forecast, the Aqueduct surface is going to come up sloppy on Saturday. He won in pacesetting fashion, although it is too soon to put the need-the-lead label on this young runner.
One race later, Ten for Ten cut back slightly to one mile in the Nashua Stakes (G3) and weakened slightly in the stretch to Pickin’ Time, who won by 2 1/4 lengths. The fast track and shorter distance possibly affected him. This Remsen Stakes is not only scheduled for the slop, but the field will travel a demanding nine furlongs.
Watch Pickin' Time and Ten for Ten kick clear in the stretch of the Nashua.
Despite losing, Ten for Ten still put 10 1/4 lengths on Isolate in third.
Ten for Ten’s dam, Summer Vacation, is a half-sister to known longer routers such as Destin, Vexatious and Creative Cause. Destin ran second in the 2016 Belmont Stakes and won the 2017 Marathon Stakes on the Breeders’ Cup undercard. Vexatious took the nine-furlong Personal Ensign Stakes (G1) this year. In Creative Cause’s shortened career, he ran fifth by only three lengths in the 2012 Kentucky Derby.
As an added plus, Ten for Ten draws outside his main opponents, which could promote a pressing or stalking trip under Jose Ortiz this time around if another horse gets too aggressive. But if no one goes to the lead, then there is no reason to not attempt a pacesetting win again.
If he is not the favorite, Ten for Ten is the bettable choice. He is liable to move up a few lengths on the slop, which will help turn the tables on his rival Pickin’ Time.
Pickin’ Time beat Ten for Ten in the Nashua with stalking tactics, while also earning a final 103 TimeformUS Speed Figure. But because TimeformUS credits pace work, Ten for Ten wound up with the same 103 figure. Nevertheless, that is a respectable number for both.
In terms of pedigree, Pickin’ Time’s sire is Stay Thirsty, the son of Bernardini and grandson of A.P. Indy. Most horses in the illustrious A.P. Indy line handle wet dirt, although most pedigree handicapping standards are not perfect rules to live by on.
The stretchout to nine furlongs is a question, but most descendants of A.P. Indy in general are capable of handling longer routes too. But without seeing the experience on paper, it still feels like a guess.
Kelly Breen is not as well known as McGaughey or Todd Pletcher. Yet, the feeling is that the public will respect Pickin’ Time because of his Nashua win.
Known Agenda won for Pletcher in a local Nov. 8 maiden race at nine furlongs. Given his win, the pedigree is less important to study in terms of stamina.
Handicappers might want to glance anyway to decide whether he can handle the slop. Based on the top line, it is probable that Known Agenda adapts well to it. Curlin himself won the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic over a sloppy track at Monmouth Park.
Known Agenda won by only a head over Greatest Honour, but check out the 21-length margin between Greatest Honour and the third-place Overtook. Also, Known Agenda shows a 102 on TimeformUS for the maiden victory, which puts him in the mix with the other two horses.
Value bettors know the drill with Pletcher 2-year-olds. The public loves them, especially when they break their maiden with a decent figure. While Known Agenda could win, the value is not there if his odds fall below Ten for Ten and Pickin’ Time, both of whom already own stakes experience. Known Agenda shows only two maiden races at this point.
As for the last two entries, Brooklyn Strong needs to prove himself outside of New York-bred competition, and Erawan is overmatched.
Ten for Ten, Pickin’ Time and Known Agenda all deserve a spot in multi-race wagers. For bettors short on money, their priority is listed in that exact order.
For a Win bet, try Ten for Ten at 3-1 or higher. Given his loss in the Nashua, the public can be expected to back off him enough to offer value.
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