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

Horse Racing: McMudder’s Friday picks

Races at Aqueduct and Laurel Park

Mick McMudder

Mick McMudder

Track condition changes are all around us again. Such is winter racing in the northeast but this year seems unduly changeable. That has led to track condition changes not only from day to day but from race to race. Yesterday at Laurel, a sloppy track became a muddy track became a sticky track. There is no accepted rating for sticky but that is what it was by the last race. When there is such variability in track conditions, there are three ways to proceed. The first is to find the horses with good form on the current surface. Obviously, a track rated sloppy could be either hard or soft so watching some replays to get that next level of knowledge is very helpful. The second is to look at breeding. There is no question that some sires get better off-track offspring. Candy Ride and Blame are the two current, top level sires with consistently 20+% get on the off going. The last is to see their feet. Obviously this involves being at the track (go. . . it’s fun and the food is better than you think). Some horses with big, “turf” feet go across sloppy sealed tracks wonderfully, as if they are floating on the water. Other times, small footed horses do better on sticky tracks since they have less contact area.

Picks for February 22, 2019:

Colder with a chance for some precipitation. Who knows what the track condition will be. If the rain stays away and the wind picks up, they should be fast at SOME point. Just don’t know when.

Aqueduct Race 3
Allowance/optional claimer for $75K for 3-year-old fillies at 6f. These are awesome races in the winter at Aqueduct because anywhere else, this would be a Stakes race. Even here, the majority of these runners are coming out of Stakes races last out or two back. What makes this race very interesting is that the two NY trainers’ horses will get all the money at the windows and the two Parx horses will get all the money in the purses. Really? Yes. 2-Hey Mamaluke and 5-Amandasromeo look super tough in here even though 2-Hey Mamaluke is coming off a single, albeit winning, start and 5-Amandasromeo is coming off a 3-month break. Neither of these connections would load these fillies on the truck and ship if they were not well intentioned. Going with the more in form of the two, but using both in an exacta.
$10 W/P/S 2-Mamaluke
$2 Exacta 2/5

Aqueduct Race 7
Older boys at 9f. Wow. . . more Parx based riders at Aqueduct this winter on dark days in PA. And Silvestre Gonzalez is on a live one here, 1A-Ironclad. Throwing in the other half of the entry, 1-Langdarma, gives trainer Mertkan Kantarmarci an excellent 1-2 punch. But, neither scream that they want 9f, especially if the track is still muddy and tiring. Look instead at 5-Roaming Union, a horse that ran poorly in the mud last out but ran his best career race on a good track at 9f, unfortunately for him, it wasn’t in the Haskell last summer.
$10 W/P/S 5-Roaming Union
$2 Exacta Box 1/5

Laurel Race 2
$8k 3-year-old fillies at 5 ½ f. A very different kind of 3-year-old race. All of these are winners but none of them have performed as expected. The race comes down to a shipper from Mahoning Valley, 6-Baytown Lady, who won last out in a $5K n2 race with olders (in a crawl and as the favorite) or Jagger, Inc’s 2-Jagger Baby (original until you see that the dam was Jaggermama) who won a maiden race last out in a respectable time on a lightning quick track. Go with the home team.
$10 W/P/S 2-Jagger Baby

Laurel Race 8
3-year-old fillies at 8 ½ f. Nice group of fillies prepping for bigger and better things although this race is significantly weaker than the 3rd at the Big A. Love every part of Rodney Jenkins stretching 4-The Factor’s Fact out after the maiden breaker. She is a big scopey sort and looks like a two-turn horse although, long term, those turns may be on grass. Instead, looking outside for the Parx shipper (today’s theme?) 7-Golden Gala who has conquered two turns previously and looked good doing it.
$10 W/P/S 7-Golden Gala

And now for some quickies….

Aqueduct Race 1
3-year-old and up maidens at 7f. Either 5-Castle Casanova came out of his last effort on MONDAY bouncing or somebody is just trying to grab a weak race. Yes, it is not the toughest maiden race on the card but 2-Deputy Flag is legit and should improve off his last effort. And, besides, Tom Morley is better than his 3% current mark at Aqueduct.

Laurel Race 6
Optional $35K for older fillies and mares at 6 f. 6-Elevated Vision appears to be the perfect fit for this race. She won a Stakes race last out, took a break and gets this one before the Conniver next month at Laurel. Jevian Toledo fits this horse well and got her home at this distance in a much tougher field last time. She won’t pay ~$80 this time but she is still the bet.

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