Races at Aqueduct and Penn National on Friday, Dec. 28, 2108
With his picks below, Mick is trying to show races where he thinks there is an opportunity to make the right wager and get a return on your investment in line with the risk involved. You will seldom see him calling out the morning line chalk. Although focusing on the Mid Atlantic tracks, he will feature top races from elsewhere in the country (and world, when possible), especially those that are Grade 1s or leading up to the classics.
Good luck and look for winning combinations. Why? Seldom do jockeys win at greater than 20% and trainers at greater than 25% but many jock-trainer combos can exceed 40% winners. They win because top trainers get the pick of the jocks and select the best rider for the horse in that race on that day. Some recent examples include Julien Leparoux and Mark Casse, Mike Smith and Bob Baffert , and Ryan Moore and Aidan O’Brien.
Picks for December 28, 2018:
Friday looks to be a mixed weather day with sun in NYC and rain at Penn National. The assumption going in should be fast at the Big A and sloppy at Penn National.
An open $60K for 3-year-olds at 5 ½ furlongs. What an odd race to get to fill. Late season 3-year-old races often go wanting for entries and at this level, many of these have run for much less. So who actually fits? Hard to know. The entry has two horses bred to go further but the 1A-American Rule looks to be the more sprint-oriented of the two although 1-Bon Raison has some gas and will not be completely out-footed. Trainer Gary Contessa is having a tough meet (~6%) but should revert to his mean over time. If the entry remains in and stays at 4/1 or higher:
$10 Win 1/1A-Entry
Ah, older maidens. Great burners of the owners’ money. Why? Because it costs the same to train losers as it does winners and winners make more. Which of these gets the first career win? Look for a horse that has not gotten accustomed to losing. That leaves 1-Heros’ Welcome, 3-Replicator, and 5-Dance for Oro. All come from good families with black-type present close up. The problem here? That doesn’t matter anymore since Replicator’s $520K yearling price tag was a long time ago and his single start was not very good. Nor does it matter that Dance for Oro has a pretty good half brother, Moreno, since he, too, has shown little. So let the horse speak and see Gary Contessa have a two win day.
$10 W/P/S 1-Hero’s Welcome
A great example of quality racing after dark. An open $5K claimer for fillies and mares. The female version of the old warriors race from recent days at Parx. Look at those trainer win percentages! More than half the field comes from 25+% barns, but only one is coming from a 43+% barn AND a jockey trainer combo of 54%. Mr. Mileni and Ms. Vanek . . . enjoy your winter sojourn to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and please, will the M/L hold. If you have exchange privileges (BetFair people in NJ), you may want to bet this early and lock odds. No way a hot horse with hot connections stays at 6/1.
$30 Win 6-Show Shape
And now for some quickies….
Looking past trainers named Mott, Rice, Englehart and Rodriguez to show some Parx love for Uriah St Lewis. He may have moved too quickly raising this one but her last race was excellent and would have won at today’s distance. Betting 2-Norma’s Charm.
Penn National Race 7
Mick saw this one run at Parx on an amazingly dead race track. Jockey Jann Hernandez is making the two-hour drive west to keep two of his regular trainers happy but I think this one is a better placed mount. Betting 4-Queen Fantabulous.