Aqueduct, Parx, Laurel, Santa Anita
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 track condition changes. Why? Every horse is different and nothing is a better indicator of off-track performance than . . . off-track performance. There are some clues including pedigree and sibling performance but Mick loves to look at turf form to indicate off-track proclivities. If the sealed track feels like turf . . . why not run the same?
PICKS FOR SATURDAY, DEC. 29, 2018
Mick missed the weather forecast for Friday at Aqueduct where the rains arrived early and made a mess. Expect more of the same for Saturday where the “swamp things” should have an advantage across the region.
Aqueduct Race 2
An $8K race at NYRA? Must be the Winter at the Big A. This race doesn’t happen very often in the Empire State outside of Finger Lakes. But it’s a legitimate race with lots of droppers. If we could bet the over on the number of claim slips we would! So with the expected off going, this one is all about the horse that fits. For Mick, that’s 2-Professor Snape who possesses good off-track form, moves to a barn that wins off the claim and the drop. Look past recent form and drink the potion. May he skip across the course like a . . . doe?
Pick: $10 W/P/S 2-Professor Snape
Aqueduct Race 5
Two-year-old maiden special weight fillies. This is a race where half of the field are legit and the other half are too valuable as broodmares that they won’t get risked for a tag . . . ever. So who is legit? The 2-Alisio is legit based on her two runner-up efforts, excellent breeding and stellar connections. Beating her will be tough but the interesting play is 6-Effiemeister. She comes from a small barn that seems to get them ready first out, she has legit off-track pedigree and gets in light with the bug boy. Mom was all turf but she was very good and the class should be there. It’s all or nothing here but the value should be good.
Pick: $10 Win 6-Effiemeister
Parx Race 2
The cheapest race available at Parx. So why are we here? Value! No one in the race is even remotely consistent. Whose day is it? And what will he pay? Let’s make the case for 7-King’s House. The negatives: Lost the leading bug to the 6-Yourdreamsormine, faded badly last out, low percentage trainer. The positives: Likes off tracks, pedigree likes off tracks, 0% jockey can’t stay at 0%. And the biggest reason: Sshould go off at long odds in a race that has no stand out.
Pick: $20 Win 7-King’s House
Parx Race 5
How do you beat Servis here? No not that Servis. Jason Servis is shipping in the obvious favorite, a horse for owners that like to win. Usually a recipe for a short-priced favorite. Your boy Mick loves beating short-priced favorites and looks to a New Jersey bred for the trick. Look for 4-Optic Way to continue his forward progression and repeat his off-track break-out performance. Stack him above the 1, 3, and 10 for some exotics.
Pick: $10 W/P/S 4-Optic Way
Pick: $0.50 Trifecta 4/1,3,10/1,3,10
And now for some quickies . . .
Laurel Race 5
Big stakes day at Laurel. The Rainbow 6 starts in the 5th and contains five stakes races and a $5K non 2. Couldn’t that have made it all Stakes races? Can’t go into every race here so let’s see how we can spread this one effectively.
Pick 6: 1,2/4,5/4/2,4,5/3,4/6,7,10
Santa Anita Race 8: The American Oaks (G1)
Gotta throw this one in. Why? It’s full of fillies trying to capture black type before the clock on age restricted races runs out for them. This race is restricted to three-year-old fillies. It’s at 10 furlongs. Many pedigrees work and every filly has shown stamina but who has both the patience and turn of foot to win a race that will look more like coastal France than SoCal? Go with the French filly and hope that no one notices Graham Motion wins with these kind when he goes to SoCal. 2-Colonia . . . and hope she gets through.