Selections for Aqueduct and Parx for Jan. 1, 2019
Good luck and think track condition. Why? Because at this time of year, the weather is unpredictable but so is the track itself. All of the tracks in the Northeast have received chemical additives that keep the surface from freezing solid. But that’s just the start . . . track superintendents can create very different racing strips by changing the harrow depth and the moisture content. That’s why some tracks have been very fast (Laurel Park on Sunday) while others have been slow (Parx for much of the Fall/Winter). Make sure your horse fits the track and that may mean looking deeper than just the listed condition.
Clearing weather on Tuesday will mean all the tracks will be in flux. Wet early with drying conditions. It’s possible that everybody starts sloppy and everybody finishes fast. Welcome to January. . . . at least there is no snow in the forecast.
Awesome high level optional claimer for older females. This is easily a Stakes field many days. Looking past the 1-Sounds Delicious is tough but the long layoff and mediocre return should give the rest of the field a shot. That’s why Mick is going with the other Linda Rice mare, 2-Crimson Frost. She is on a better form cycle, gets first call jock Junior Alvarado, and handles off tracks. Coming off longer races, the big question will be the distance but a tiring, drying track will be her friend.
$10 W/P/S 2-Crimson Frost
Newly turned 3-year-old maiden $30K NY bred fillies at 5 ½ furlongs. Can you beat 1-Annette’s Humor here? Not likely but let’s take a shot. The logical approach is to look for fillies with excuses last time or firsters. No one had an excuse so let’s go with the firster, 5-Ladyberg. Looking a little deeper leads to some good things, precocious family (75% 2-year-old winners), lots of logical works, speed influenced sire, and a trainer that wins with firsters.
$10 W/P/S 5-Ladyberg
The first Stakes race of the year for newly minted 3-year-old boys at a mile. It’s a Derby prep race! Complete with points! That explains jockey John Velazquez coming north for the mount on 3-Mind Control. Although the fact that the last time they hooked up they won the G1 Hopeful may play a role. Has this one grown up enough to stretch the extra furlong? Not worth the short price to find out so let’s go elsewhere. As much as Mick would like to show love for the Parx based 5-Gates of Dawn or the Laurel based 4-Our Braintrust, neither have pedigrees that scream mile. Look outside to trainer Mark Casse’s 6-Souper Jackpot. The colt was super game in defeat and would not be making the trip from Palm Meadows if he was not well intentioned.
$20 W/P/S 6-Souper Jackpot
Open allowance races might as well be Overnight Stakes. Why don’t racing secretaries just throw a name on it and share the black type love? These are fast older mares. All fit here but the standout appears to be 6-Ms Locust Point. The question is whether this is a prep for a Barbara Fritchie Handicap return or is she dialed in to win? Of the others, the on form mare is 5-She’s Stunning but the trainer change to the owner seems odd. Let’s instead look for a price and tab 4-Risque’s Diamond. She likes the off going but brings her best efforts every time.
$10 Win 4-Risque’s Diamond
And now for some quickies….
2-Printer looks well placed here but will be short priced. The bigger question may be whether Howard Brown reclaims him . . . again. Poor guy doesn’t know which barn is home.
8-Appealing Future is impossible to pass up even though he will be very short priced. It’s amazing that this guy once ran for a tag low enough to qualify for this race.