Parx / Aqueduct / Laurel
Today’s angle is all about trends. Horses are living, breathing beings and as such, they have their good days and their bad days. But, more importantly, they improve with training, success, weather changes, riders, trainers and a myriad of other reasons. What the handicapper needs to keep in mind is that these trends often indicate where the results of the next race may be. The best example of a horse to watch is one that has never run a speed figure as high as others in a race but his figs have improved 5+% over three or more races. A continued improvement at that same percentage improvement puts them in contention. These are better options than the horse that throws in a great race occasionally.
PICKS FOR SATURDAY, FEB. 9, 2019:
Colder, windier and drier. Good chance for cuppy tracks if the moisture comes out of the top and leaves a more consolidated base. That led to a very fast strip at Laurel on Friday and may happen elsewhere on Saturday.
AQUEDUCT RACE 4
NY Bred $25K maidens for older boys at 6 ½ f. 3-Dublin Leprechaun is an excellent example of a progressive horse, even if he has yet to win a race. It’s hard to call a 5 year old maiden progressive but this guy has run an improving speed fig each of his last four races and a continuation of that trend will result in an easy win here. Top bug Rey Gutierrez stays on board when he probably had the choice of the field here, too.
Pick: $10 W/P/S 3-Dublin Leprechaun
AQUEDUCT RACE 5
First level allowance for older fillies and mares at 6 f. 6-Fair Regis looks superior to this field on first inspection. She has run some excellent races on all kinds of tracks so the surface should not matter. The distance even helps here. The biggest competition may be immediately inside. 5-Noble Freud has never missed the board on a fast track and ran 3rd in this race last time. Rather than playing both, pick your favored pace scenario. Mick sees 6-Fair Regis clearing and controlling pace.
Pick: $10 W/P/S 6-Fair Regis
PARX RACE 1
Claiming $7500 n1 in 6 months for older fillies and mares at 6f. Can you beat an even money favorite? Here’s your chance. 6-Thatta Boy Girl should go off as a huge favorite based primarily on her race two back. Is she suspect? Yes. She has struggled to win at a level above $5K for a while and the race two back went all her way. Today, she will not get an easy lead since the mare to her outside will get sent since that is her only chance. Instead look for the mare that will be there at the end. 5-One Tough Angel fills that bill. She showed closing ability last out to win and comes from a 32% barn. The M/L is generous, too.
Pick: $10 W/P/S 5-One Tough Angel
LAUREL RACE 5
Maiden Special Weight for three year old boys at 6f. Kaleem Shah buys a colt for $275K and sends it to Graham Motion. Why does this matter? Because they nominated him to the Triple Crown before he ever made a start. I don’t know if 6-Fast Master will make it to the gate on May 4 at Churchill but his connections certainly like him. That’s enough for Mick. Of those with a start, 3-Baptize the Boy looks tough but he only cost $1000. Follow the money.
Pick: $10 W/P/S 6-Fast Master
And now for some quickies:
AQUEDUCT RACE 8/Jimmy Winkfield Stakes
Pretty cool there is a race that honors the last African-American Kentucky Derby winning jockey. 7f race for 3 year old boys. Many of these are on the Derby Trail but have not progressed to the two turn distances being run elsewhere this weekend. 4-Tikhvin Flew ran a stunner first out and got a huge fig as a result. Unless he bounces, he should best these. The progressive in the race, 1-Jump for Alex is moving in the right direction since getting the hood but this is a huge class test.
LAUREL RACE 8
First level allowance for older fillies and mares at 8 ½ f. 5-Oxhilirating ran a screamer last out and wins with a repeat. No one else is close to that last race.
PARX RACE 8
Second level optional allowance for older boys at 6f. Some fast horses in this field but how can you bet against 3-Wentz? He always gets pounded at the windows but usually rewards the support. In case you are wondering…Foles is a two year old PA bred son of Jump Start.