As usual, the stakes action quiets down on Sunday. On the west coast, Los Alamitos offers the Grade 3, $100,000 Bayakoa Stakes. On the east coast, Aqueduct continues its state-bred stakes program with two different versions of the $150,000 New York Stallion Series Stakes, which are separated into the Staten Island and Thunder Rumble divisions.
Here are selections for those three stakes races.
Aqueduct Race 5: New York Stallion Series (Staten Island)
Bank Sting deserves another shot after running an even fifth in the Empire Distaff Handicap at Belmont in her last start. The return effort came off a 152-day layoff and horses always deserve one pass to shake off the rust.
Before the layoff, Bank Sting put together a four-race win streak culminating in the Critical Eye Handicap in May. She also owns important tactical speed, which puts her just behind Trinni Luck and The Important One early on.
If any of the two main speed horses pull it off, then The Important One is more likely to hold on. When two main speed horses are present, the speed horse on the outside holds the advantage in most cases as he or she holds the option to either directly duel or press the leader closely.
Byhubbyhellomoney's second to The Important One two starts ago in a Belmont optional claiming race was good. She needs a heated pace.
Top selection: No. 4 Bank Sting (3-1)
Contenders: No. 6 The Important One (6/5)
Best value: No. 7 Byhubbyhellomoney (5-1)
Aqueduct Race 10: New York Stallion Series (Thunder Rumble)
Both Captain Bombastic and Wild Banker exit the Empire Classic Handicap, where Saturday's Cigar Mile (G1) winner Americanrevolution won by 11 3/4 lengths.
Even though Captain Bombastic faded to fifth, he deserves some credit for running close to the pace and posting TimeformUS Pace Figures of 137 and 135 before slowing down and fading once Americanrevolution pulled away.
For the fifth-place effort, Captain Bombastic posted a 113 TimeformUS Speed Figure, which is good enough to win this race.
Wild Banker started off the Empire Classic in eighth and 10 lengths behind before picking off enough horses to earn the runner-up spot. Sometimes when one horses on another level crushes the field, the chasers become discouraged and quit, while the closers then benefit.
Regardless, Wild Banker still earned a 112 on TimeformUS, which makes him a contender in this race as well. He does need some pace in front.
Top selection: No. 12 Captain Bombastic (5-1)
Contender: No. 7 Wild Banker (8-1)
Los Alamitos Race 9: Bayakoa Stakes (G3)
As Time Goes By gets a pass for folding to eighth by 16 3/4 lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff because the pace collapsed after her stablemate Private Mission set brutal 21.84 and 44.97 fractions with Letruska chasing.
Two starts ago in the Zenyatta Stakes (G2), As Time Goes By followed Private Mission around the track and finished a solid second by 2 ¼ lengths. As Time Goes By earned a solid 116 TimeformUS Speed Figure for the effort.
The Zenyatta is a better reflection of As Time Goes By’s ability. If she repeats the 116 in the Bayakoa Stakes here, then she probably wins.
For value underneath, think about using Bye Bye Bertie and Warren’s Showtime.
Bye Bye Bertie overcame a slow pace to win an optional claiming race at Santa Anita by 5 1/2 lengths on Oct. 11. She was always a popular mare at the claiming box, which is a clear sign that she has been healthy.
Warren’s Showtime closed for second while losing by only 1 ½ lengths in the Betty Grable Stakes at Del Mar. The winner Bella Vita went on to ship east and finish second in the Go For Wand Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct.
For exacta players, either of those two mild closers might pick off enough horses to finish second and add some spice to the payoff.
If As Time Goes By stays at 2-1 though, that is probably enough value for only a win bet considering her pace and class advantage. Expect Flavien Prat to send her to the front and wire the field as expected.
Top selection: No. 1 As Time Goes By (2-1)
Underneath: No. 3 Bye Bye Bertie (6-1), No. 4 Warren’s Showtime (7/2)
Exacta wheel: 1 / 3,4