Horse Racing: McMudder’s Monday Picks
Horse RacingPhoto by <a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Mathew Schwartz</a> on <a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a>

Horse Racing: McMudder’s Monday Picks

Selections from Parx, Aqueduct and Laurel for Dec. 31, 2018&nbsp;

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 focus on the last day of the racing year. Why? Every horse gets a year older tomorrow. All Northern Hemisphere thoroughbreds age on January 1 of each year. That means all of the race conditions change, too. Today is the last day to look for open conditions limited to 3 year olds (2015 foals) and the last day for 2 year old racing for a while.

Weather in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast continues to be . . . difficult to predict. Looks like rain on Monday so look for the “mud puppies” again.

Aqueduct Race 2

State bred Maiden $50K colts. This is the race for the disappointments? Why? Because every runner has failed in a Maiden Special Weight. The biggest drop in racing is from MSW to any tag. The impact may be muted since all of these were in state bred MSWs but they are all dropping from their first endeavors. So who benefits most from the drop, likes the mile and can handle the off going? The two that seem most likely are 1-Iron Fork and 6-Captain Frost. Both are making second career starts for barns that excel with such. Go with the value and wonder whether trainer Brad Cox will be happy to see this one haltered?

$10 W/P/S 1-Iron Fork

Aqueduct Race 3

3-year-old $35K fillies. Interesting race since half the field have been running for lower tags and half for higher. So do you bet the dropper on class or the riser on form? Going with a form cycle play here. 5-Karen’s Gem has improved with each race for trainer David Cannizzo and look for her to continue to do so. She gets super hot jock Junior Alvarado, too.

$10 Win 5-Karen’s Gem

Parx Race 4

Great Starter Allowance race for non-winners in 2018. Fun condition that comes with the end of the calendar year. Looking for a horse with both back class and recent form. And off track aptitude. So hoping 2-Positino’s Champion drifts higher than his morning line. He stands out here.

$20 Win 2-Positino’s Champion

Parx Race 6

Another great Starter, this one for fillies and mares. 7-Viva Forever looks deserving of the 2/5 M/L. Her effort in the Claiming Crown was excellent and she would have won that race run at today’s distance. Can she lose here? Absolutely . . . that’s why they run the races. How do you make money here? Either key the 7 or find a horse trying something new. The new angle horse is the 8-Celesse stretching out for the first time. Will it work? Maybe. Will it pay if it works? Absolutely. Look for bridge jumping opportunities late.

$10 W/P/S 4-Celesse

And now for some quickies . . .

Aqueduct Race 7 The Damon Runyon Stakes

1-turn mile for NY-bred 2-year-old boys. Pletcher. Franco. Off-track success. That’s enough for me to look past former distance issues. 6-La Fuerza.

And today’s hunch plays….

Aqueduct 1 -- Cognac Cutie

Parx 9 -- Champagne Chuck

Aqueduct 8 -- Barrel of Stout

Aqueduct 4 -- Tequila Sunday

Laurel 3 --Bourbon Streak

Laurel 7 -- I’ll Take the Cake

Happy New Year’s.

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