Aqueduct Racetrack
Aqueduct Racetrack|Francesca LeDonne Photo/Aqueduct/NYRA

Horse Racing: McMudder’s picks for President’s Day

Races at Aqueduct, Laurel Park and Parx

Mick McMudder

Mick McMudder

Droppers. . . why are there more droppers during certain times of the year? Mostly, it’s due to the schedule of upcoming meets and races. The greatest number of droppers occurs at the end of turf season in the north when connections make the decision that a horse is not worth taking south for the winter or laying up. The next most popular time is when young horses are getting towards the end of their designated races. As was shown last week with a 3-and-up race on a card, the separate races for 3-year-olds are nearing their conclusion at many venues and connections will need to decide whether their youngins can run with the older horses or should get dropped to a lower level now. It’s early to see many 3-year-old age droppers but many 4-year-olds are taking the plunge right now. They showed as being a cut below as late 3-year-olds and now are searching for their proper place. This is accelerated at tracks that will allow 2-year-olds to train now since they require stall space which is often in short supply.

Picks for Feb. 18, 2019:

Colder with a chance for some precipitation. Light rain or snow should not change the track condition but any need to seal the surface will change everything.

Aqueduct Race 4
Starter allowance for older boys at 8f. 8-Dark N Cloudy seems an appropriate pick for a day that may be dark and cloudy. He has tried this condition 3 times previously at 3 different distances, showing improving form and speed with each try. The other interesting option is 1-Trustworthy, a horse that likes to run second at this condition having done so in 4 of his last 5 races. Either of these should pay well since 3-Hero’s Welcome is coming out of a stakes race and should take a lot of money. Mixing it up today with some different angles.
$10 W/P/S 8-Dark N Cloudy
$2 Exacta 8/1
$1 Trifecta 8/1,3/1,3

Aqueduct Race 8 Hollie Hughes Stakes
Older NY bred boys at 6f. Interesting group here with several making the move up from claiming or first level allowance levels while others are regular stakes competitors. Usually, the stakes horses are holding better class but the two best candidates both ran in the stakes race on the card yesterday so the guess is 9-Honor Up and 3-Syndergaard, will not run here. If either does, bet them since they ran 1,2 yesterday and connections that run two days in a row have supreme confidence in their horse. Otherwise, 8-Runaway Lute returns to NY bred company for the first time since winning the Hudson in the fall at Belmont. He got outclassed in a G3 but ran well last out in an OC $62.5K where he came up just short. 7-Eye Luv Lulu deserves a mention since he ran a career best fig last out and is trained by Jason Servis, a trainer on a roll.
$10 W/P/S 8-Runaway Lute

Laurel Race 1
$16k older boys at 6f. The ageless wonder, 9-year-old 7-Draxhall Woods looks well placed to score number 15 lifetime and push his career earnings over half a million. Is he what he once was? No. Is he good enough here? Absolutely. Trainer Ralph Riviezzo seldom takes horses to Maryland but this is one that he will take on the road.
$10 W/P/S 7-Draxhall Woods

Laurel Race 5 Maryland Racing Media Stakes
Older fillies and mares at 8 ½ f. Nice group of older mares but the choice is not about the horses, it’s about the jockeys. Why? Jorge Vargas Jr has ridden half of the field but he has chosen to ride 6-Isotope here. The other jockey angle is Wes Hamilton returning to his usual position on the 4-year-old filly 8-Timeless Curls. Both of these are worthy but age over beauty today.
$10 W/P/S 6-Isotope

Parx Race 2
$7500 n4 for older fillies and mares at 6f. This race is pretty simple. 5-Carry Your Heels is the best horse BUT she has been eased or pulled up multiple times including two back with the comment “bled from nostrils”. So you don’t know what you will get from her and whether the bleeding issue is under control. Dry, winter air can irritate the lungs so be careful here. The option here is 7-Rove, a fast closing third at this condition last out. If she gets rolling, look for her to mow them down.
$10 W/P/S 7-Rove

And now for some quickies….

Aqueduct Race 5
3-year-old maidens at 8f. Plenty of expensive horses here with the majority of the field selling for more than $100K at least once. Instead looking at the bargain priced 4-Grumps Little Tots to step forward off an excellent effort last out. 3-Castle Casanova is interesting in that he is Triple Crown nominated so his connections obviously like him.

Parx Race 7
Starter allowance for older boys at 8 ½ f. 2-Halite will be the big favorite but look to 5-Agujero to pull the upset. Small but high percentage barn that just missed with similar last out. Gets top jock Mychel Sanchez, too.

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