Saturday Plays: Mutamakina the pick in Aqueduct's Long Island

Saturday Plays: Mutamakina the pick in Aqueduct's Long Island
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

This week’s set of race analysis hopes to match last Saturday's six plays, which gave away three winners from six races including North Dakota at $19.40 in the Grade 3 Red Smith Stakes and Wow Brown at $9 one race before him at Aqueduct.

With the Long Island Stakes (G3) on Saturday, Aqueduct hosts the filly and mare version of the 1 3/8-mile Red Smith. The highlighted selection is Christophe Clement trainee Mutamakina, who exits a race in which she ran into traffic problems on the final turn, making her another troubled-trip turf marathon play. 

                  Click here for Aqueduct Entries, Results.

If she remains at 7-2, those are great betting odds. Mutamakina is the best bet of the five Aqueduct and Churchill selections below.

Aqueduct Race 3: Discovery Stakes (G3)

Monday Morning QB enters this race off an excellent win in the Maryland Millions Classic Stakes at Laurel Park with a career-high 119 TimeformUS Speed Figure.

Here is a short recap of the race.  

After a slight bobble at the break, Monday Morning QB presses Prendimi, before taking over and facing another threat from the rail-running Tattooed.

Monday Morning QB puts Tattooed away by the top of the stretch, but then he needs to defend the lead against Harpers First Ride, who rallies wide. 

Monday Morning QB keeps a cushion though and wins by 3¼ lengths.  

Throw out the turf flop two starts ago.

Three starts back, Monday Morning QB also ran a great second in the Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico to the rising star Happy Saver, who went on to capture the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) in his next start.

In this race, the 3-2 favorite Shared Sense does not show one speed figure over 114 on TimeformUS in 10 starts. Also, his recent victory in the Oklahoma Derby (G3) at Remington Park was against moderate competition.

Monday Morning QB is the choice, and a great bet if he remains 5-2.

Aqueduct Race 9: Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship Stakes

After winning his first two starts under trainer Steve Asmussen in the Wolf Hill Stakes and Get Serious Stakes, Archidust ran third in the Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational (G3) on Oct. 4. The effort is forgivable because of the lack of pace.

For a six-furlong turf race, Wet Your Whistle set slow early fractions of 22.47 and 45.15 in the Belmont Turf Sprint, on a course labeled as “firm” in the chart. A loose horse did run in front of him, but if anything, that loose horse made sure none of them speed went faster. 

Given the early pace, it is no surprise Wet Your Whistle went on to win by 3¼ lengths over Chewing Gum and a late-rallying Archidust in third.

In this spot, Archidust is supposed to get more pace with Sayyaaf, Turned Aside and Battle Station lined up. He also gets a clear run from Post 9.

At 4-1 or higher, Archidust is the choice.

Aqueduct Race 10: Long Island Stakes (G3)

Mutamakina’s third-place finish in the Zagora Stakes at Belmont is far better than the half-length finishing margin indicates.

For most of the race, Mutamakina ran third in the pocket position, just behind the leaders Beau Belle and Lemon Zip. In most turf races, the pocket position is not a bad spot as it allows horses to save ground and wait for the right moment without taking dirt in their face.

Approaching the last turn though, Mutamakina falls into misfortune.

Beau Belle folds and backs right into Mutamakina, who takes up and gets shuffled all the way to second to last and 9½ lengths behind.

In the stretch run though, Joel Rosario guides Mutamakina back into the action initially through the inside, before tipping out late for one final punch. Mutamakina comes up a half-length short to Luck Money, but she was objectively was the best horse in the field after the trouble. 

Mutamakina also shows strong races in her European form, including a second by 1¼ lengths to Sottsass in the 2019 Qatar Prix Niel (G2). Sottsass eventually won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) last month.

At 7-2, Mutamakina is a great bet. More realistically, expect 2-1 to 5-2.

Churchill Downs Race 9: Golden Rod Stakes (G2)

Over at Churchill Downs, Clairiere enters the Golden Rod Stakes off a closing maiden win. She went wide on both turns to win by half a length.

Clairiere did earn a 93 TimeformUS Speed Figure in that Oct. 25 race, which is competitive in this spot. She needs to improve by roughly 10 points to win here, which is realistic given her connections and blue-blood pedigree. Remember that most horses improve in their second career start, as the first one typically works as nothing more than a learning experience.

With the maiden win, Clairiere also owns a 1 1/16-mile victory. Trainer Steve Asmussen probably knew from the beginning that she is a router.

On paper, Simply Ravishing is the classiest filly with a victory in the Alcibiades Stakes (G1) at Keeneland and fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. But the Alcibiades win came as a result of an uncontested lead and soft pace. It is unclear whether she is the same under different situations.

A couple of fillies are faster early than Simply Ravishing in this race, making it possible that she needs to fire from midpack again.

At 6-1 or higher, Clairiere is the better bet. It is worth taking the shot that she moves forward against this weak field with experience under her belt, while Simply Ravishing misfires or comes up short without a comfortable lead.

Given that bettors receive the Asmussen and Santana Jr. combination at a price with Clairiere, that is a plus too. She is the top choice. 

Churchill Downs Race 11: Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2)

As stated in an earlier post, King Fury receives the benefit of blinkers in a race without a ton of pace. In most cases, blinkers promote speed.

King Fury’s two wins also came at Churchill Downs at the same 1 1/16-mile distance as today. He broke his maiden here on Sept. 3 and won the Street Sense Stakes by half a length over the previously graded stakes-placed Super Stock on Oct. 25.

His two bad races were at Keeneland.

In the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) effort, King Fury gets a pass for traveling wide. It also was his first graded stakes effort, which is not always easy.

As for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile run, he finished decently enough for seventh after some minor traffic problems on the turn when Classier almost backed into him. When that happened, it hurt his momentum and he stalled. 

Notice that King Fury still displays relatively high early pace figures of 127 and 128 on TimeformUS for the Breeders' Cup effort, which would probably secure the lead in this spot if he manages to repeat those figures. Against this field, an upfront position in the clear is perfect.  

Expect King Fury to secure a good pressing or stalking position with blinkers added. He is the top choice and an inviting Win bet at 6-1 odds.

Meet Reinier Macatangay

My first time at the racetrack came as a 5-year-old kid at Santa Anita Park. For most of my younger life, that was the only track I attended other the occasional visit to Hollywood Park. 

Years later, after graduating California State University, Stanislaus with an English MA, I began writing for Lady and the Track. From late 2014-2016, my articles were seen on a weekly basis and covered handicapping, interviews with well-known racing personalities, fashion and more. 

The handicapping style I use concentrates on pace analysis. Some horses are compromised by the pace. Others are helped. Handicappers just starting out cannot easily see how pace affects the finish, so with this blog, I hope to help those unsure of how to apply pace into their handicapping and post-race analysis. 

On an unrelated note, I enjoy video games and attending anime or comic-book conventions. I am currently based in Kentucky, but spend a lot of time traveling between there and California.

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