5 Superfecta Keys for Aqueduct and Oaklawn on Saturday

5 Superfecta Keys for Aqueduct and Oaklawn on Saturday
Photo: Ted McClenning/Eclipse Sportswire

For me, one main attraction to superfectas is that a superfecta probable payout pool is not displayed making this bet an unknown endeavor relative to an exacta. However, if you observe the pool results over a long period of time, you will come to realize the favorites tend to be over bet in the pool and when outsiders come in especially in the top two positions, explosive payouts might result. 

This is why a 10 cent superfecta key is a great leveraged wager.  

The table below summarizes the reduction in your outlays for superfecta wagers when you key vs box your selections.




























There are books out there and it is common logic that the box wager makes no sense unless all horses are valued equally by the handicapper. Without getting too technical here, it is obvious if you have an opinion on a race, a box of any sort makes little sense.

The superfecta key requires you to ensure that your keyed horse must finish in one of the top four positions. To maximize return, I am looking for three conditions to create potential for a high payoff.

The conditions are:

  • Betting interests of at least nine entries but not more than 12 

  • The ability to confidently key a horse that is not an odds-on or a heavily bet favorite

  • Field that has runners seemingly ignored in the pool that would be at very high odds at post time but could be in the top four randomly

The Saturday card at Aqueduct provides two opportunities on dirt, where turf racing is over for the year. Oaklawn provides three opportunities on dirt, which is the only surface at Oaklawn.

At Aqueduct

Race 7

This one mile dirt claimer for 4-year-olds and up who have never won two races has some runners in this field of nine colts and geldings who are perennial losers, with the total combined efforts of the field coming in at less than one in four starts in the money or at the distance. There is some speed in the race, and the advantage should be to the front and close to the pace runners.

No. 9 Blame It On Brutus is the only runner stretching out trying this mile distance for the first time. He is not particularly fast, but he is the only runner who is truly lightly raced with only four lifetime starts and as one of four 4-year-olds in the field has room for improvement. He is 4-1.

No. 7 Mucho Sunshine has run acceptably at a mile, but needs a pace to run into, and even if there is none, he should still be passing horses in the stretch for a placing and could exceed a modest finish if he runs closer to the pace in his fourth start at the distance. This runner has shown speed in his sprint starts, and could flash some here. He is 15-1.

No. 2 Mr Fidget has finished fourth in his last three starts. While only two for 29 lifetime, he fits with these. He looks like your classic plodder who will pass horses who are tired, with a fast pace to his advantage. He is 6-1.

The likely favorite at post time who looks best here is No. 3 Jerusalem Gates, who has the most second call in the lead starts on the dirt in the field. He should face some pace pressure, but should last for a share.

Another 4-year-old in the field, who has the potential to improve is No. 6 Breaking Stones. He has shown speed in most of his efforts. This runner has been in the money three of four starts at a mile, and may vie for favoritism with No. 3 Jerusalem Gates.

The Play

$.10 Superfecta Key 9 with 2, 3, 6 and 7. Total wager: $9.60.

Race 8

Nine 3-year-old state bred fillies are entered in the Franklin Square Stakes, at six and one half furlongs on the dirt. These recently turned 3-year-olds are lightly raced, and have a combined 19 races with 12 in the money finishes. One runners come out of only turf efforts and another comes off a mile race in the slop, and only one has run the elongated sprint distance of six and one half furlongs on dirt. The race is wide open on the basis of the limited starts and the potential improvement of young horses at this time of the year. This elongated distance often has a pace scenario that gives an advantage to stretch runners unless there is lone speed, since the pace of the race at the four furlong mark is similar to a six furlong sprint and horses tend to get tired in the final furlong or less.  

No. 3 Sterling Silver is making her second start off a maiden victory at six furlongs on the dirt in a full field of 12 at Aqueduct. The running style off that maiden victory suggests she should come off the pace and like the added distance in this elongated sprint. She is your key horse at 5-1.

A wild card in this race is the turf to dirt runner for trainer Mike Maker, No. 7 Flip My Id, who has run in a few turf stakes at three different tracks. It looks like she was over her head in those efforts, and on balance, if she can run on dirt, this would be a softer spot since those other races were in open company. She is 12-1.

The most experienced runner in the field is No. 2 Shesawildjoker, who has four in the money finishes in four state bred starts including three stake races. She was over her head in the six and one half furlong Adirondack (G2) at Saratoga this past summer, a race which has to be ignored here. She is a pace pressing runner, who has run fast internal fractions at times and should be competitive at this distance with state bred runners.

No. 9 Thinking It Over came off the pace to win in her debut at six furlongs at Aqueduct. One start and one win, similar to No. 3 Sterling Silver with a similar running style, she looks like she should be in the mix early with some run left at the end.

The final runner in this superfecta is No. 6 Leeloo, who broke her maiden in the slop at Aqueduct and was soundly beaten by No. 3 Sterling Silver on debut, also at Aqueduct with both efforts at six furlongs. She may end up being the post time favorite off that last race in the slop and could be tough near the lead but not on the lead.

The Play

$.10 Superfecta Key 3 with 2, 6, 7 and 9. Total wager: $9.60.

At Oaklawn

Race 1

This bottom of the barrel $10,000 claimer at a mile on the dirt for 3-year-olds and up non-winners of two lifetime brings together 11 colts and geldings including one entry and one maiden. Four runners have new trainers with two off the claim. The combined record of the field is a low in the money rate of less than 30 percent over more than 100 races and an improved 60 percent at the distance in only 20 races. Two runners are stretching out to this mile distance for the first time and have never contested a route on any surface overall. Speed should be advantageous in this field, with runners having the lead at the second call about one out of every ten starts in the most recent 100 combined races. I anticipate a moderate to fast pace, however, a runner may shake loose and not look back if they are not pressured.

No. 6 Axis has a 100 percent in the money record in five starts at the distance, the most experience in the field, and tactical speed. He is also a maiden, who clearly is competitive and has not been able to win. When it comes to the distance, the competition and a superfecta, he is a solid player and at 8-1 is your key horse for trainer Kim Puhl.

One of two runners stretching out is No. 3 African Warrior who runs evenly and projects to be competitive off his sprints with his off the pace running style. Nine of his 12 lifetime starts are at Oaklawn with a couple of in the money finishes. At 10-1, he could be part of the mix down the stretch.

No. 9 Graves Mill Road, off the claim and three consecutive in the money finishes at this one mile distance at Canterbury Park will be very tough here and may end up going off as the post time favorite as the result of those strong spring and summer efforts. This is his first start since August of last year, and he might need a race, but he should be very close at the end.

No. 2 Chase Tracker off the claim for trainer Genaro Garcia, who is having a poor meeting thus far is coming out of six consecutive dirt tries at longer than one mile and he looks like a grinder who will fare better shortening up here. He has some tactical speed and should last for a share.

The final runner in this superfecta play is No. 1a Call of Honor, who has the fewest starts in the field with four and has run on turf, dirt and synthetic in those starts. Two were at a mile or longer on the dirt including when he broke his maiden at Keeneland in a mile and one sixteenth effort. His debut is a toss out where he broke slowly at a mile on the dirt. He could be tough here.

The Play

$.10 Superfecta Key 6 with 1a, 2, 3 and 9. Total wager: $9.60.

Race 2

This six furlong on the dirt claimer for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up who are non-winners of two lifetime brings together nine runners who average about six starts each with a nearly 50 percent in the money percentage at the distance and one out of three in the money finishes overall.  Two of the runners are off the claim and all of the runners last raced at either Churchill or Oaklawn. The five runners who last raced at Oaklawn are coming out of two different races on December 31st of last year. There is not much speed here, and I anticipate a slow to moderate pace. The advantage should be to horses on or near the lead. This race is very close on paper.

No. 5 Bitter Vixen is trainer by Ken McPeek, who is very good with fillies and mares, and this runner broke her maiden at seven furlongs in one of her three starts at Churchill. She has tactical speed, and like most runners McPeek trains, will have something left at the end. She will be very tough here at 9-2 and is your key horse.

No. 6 Caught Looking off the claim for small stable solid trainer Bentley Combs looks like a great play here at 12-1 if you toss out her last effort. She is nearly as fast as others in her two starts prior to that toss out including one where she broke her maiden at seven furlongs at Churchill similar to No. 5 Bitter Vixen.

No. 1 Nisi Prius comes out of one of those Oaklawn races, where she was making here second start, and had some trouble still finishing fourth after breaking her maiden in her debut. She might be tough here at odds of 6-1 if she runs back to her debut also at today’s six furlong distance.

Another runner off the claim is No. 4 Premier Wish, who has two in the money finishes in three starts at this distance, can pass horses, is tractable and could be formidable down the stretch. She looks like the kind of horse who can close or be very close depending upon how the race unfolds. She is 6-1.

The final runner to include in this superfecta is No. 9 Montgomery Park, the probable favorite who ran a very strong second at this distance last out at Oaklawn. She will never be far from the lead, and demonstrated that she would not quit in the stretch having run well in four of her six starts.

The Play

$.10 Superfecta Key 5 with 1, 4, 6 and 9. Total wager: $9.60.

Race 8

The Fifth Season Stakes at one mile on the dirt for 4-year-olds and up has attracted nine runners ranging in age from four to nine, including one runner, the 4-year-old, who was once considered a Triple Crown type runner during the 2021 season and three older hard hitting geldings and horses who have amassed earnings of $1 million or more grinding it out over stellar careers. Additionally, one runner is going longer than seven furlongs for the first time in their career. The combined record of the field is an in the money rate of nearly 60 percent at the distance and slightly less overall. The pace should be moderate to fast with one pure front runner, and a field of largely off pace runners. This pace scenario gives the advantage to front running horses.

No 1. Thomas Shelby trained by high percentage leading trainer Robertino Diodoro is extremely tough at this one mile distance and at Oaklawn Park in the money 80 percent of the time in six and five starts respectively. He has strong tactical speed and is the only true front runner if he chooses to be on the lead, in the entire field. At 5-1 this is your key horse.

No 2. Rated R Superstar is the oldest and most experienced runner in the race who has a true closer running style, and often seems out of it after a half mile, and often makes impressive stretch moves for a piece of the purse evidenced by his 50 percent in the money percentage. At 8-1 and as the only true deep closer in the race, he should pass some mid pack runners late and get up for a share.

Solid high percentage trainer Chris Hartman sends out No. 4 Necker Island who comes out of three consecutive dirt sprints with two wins. He fits the profile of a sprinter who runs well somewhere in the range of six furlongs to a mile and has two wins in four starts at the mile distance. He grinds his way to success as a middle of the pack runner and will be around near the end. 

The hard to include and hard to dismiss runner who will take a lot of money is No. 5 Concert Tour who was last seen in the 2021 Preakness and is now in the Brad Cox barn. His could be very good here, or may need a race, and in either scenario, taking him out of the mix is difficult to do. He is the probable favorite and as the only 4-year-old in the field has the most upside potential.

No. 9 Mucho is the only runner in the field who has not contested this one mile on the dirt distance. He has strong tactical speed, and will likely contend with No. 1 Thomas Shelby near the lead for the early part of the race. There is no reason why he cannot get the one mile distance and he has a number of good performances at seven furlongs.

The Play

$.10 Superfecta Key 1 with 2, 4, 5 and 9. Total wager: $9.60.

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