Races at Aqueduct and Laurel Park
Let’s talk about form cycles. Just like human athletes, equines go through natural highs and lows. Just like LeBron going for 40 one night and 10 the next, horses have good days and bad days. And the reasons can be myriad. Track condition, competition, a different rider, home vs away, and many others. Ultimately, they are living, breathing beings and they have highs and lows. So how does the handicapper know? By watching them carefully. How were they acting before their last good effort? How about before their last bad effort? That’s why top conditioners have notes on every horse that races where they are based and often even for other tracks. Top Maryland conditioner Dale Capuano used to keep every program from every race day with his notes in stacks at his house. That way he knew exactly where to find the pre-race and post-race notes on every horse of interest. It is that level of study that is needed to really know the horses but there are some short cuts for the more casual punter. Horses that are on their toes but otherwise are composed are ready to do something. That something is usually good. Horses that show anxiety, especially sweating, head tossing and rearing, are using their energy up before the race. That’s bad. So the horse to look for is the well behaved one that looks happy and has a pep in his step. If the numbers correlate, that’s your bet.
Picks for March 1, 2019:
Very different forecasts for the two tracks today. Cold and cloudy with little chance of precipitation at Aqueduct. That should make the track fast but it will get cuppy if they can’t keep it watered. Rain and snow and just above freezing at Laurel. Looks like some track condition handicapping is in order.
Aqueduct Race 1
$30K claimer for 3-year-old boys at 6f. Well this is interesting. Todd Pletcher has a maiden in a winner’s race. And it’s even his horse. Another trainer and Mick would assume someone misread the condition book. But that’s not a Pletcher move and neither is this. Gotta assume that this one is in to make the race go for someone else but that’s not Todd’s style either. Hope it’s a red herring and go with 3-Americano or assume Todd is pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes and go with 1-Threatlovesmidnite.
$10 W/P/S 1-Threatlovesmidnite
Aqueduct Race 7
$75K OC for 3-year-old NY-bred fillies at 8 f. 1-Elegant Zip is well placed here having run well in recent NY bred Stakes races. Beating her will be difficult but the 3-Diamond N Simon is very interesting. Robert Mosco is a Parx guy but his shipper ran well recently at Aqueduct and she is back to try it again. The recent efforts have been strong, the form cycle is good and the price should be right.
$10 W/P/S 3-Diamond N Simon
Laurel Race 4
OC $25K n3 for 3 and older boys at 8 ½ f. The trio of 4-Bobby G, 5-Sidewalk Prophet, and 6-Johnny Banks looks like the trifecta but sorting between the three for order is tough. The 5-Sidewalk Prophet should offer the greatest return but taking that one in the Place/Show spot may be the smartest safe choice. Instead, take him across the board and use the others in the Exacta and Trifecta.
$10 W/P/S 5-Sidewalk Prophet
$2 Exacta Box 4/5/6
$0.50 Trifecta Box 4/5/6
Laurel Race 6
Maiden for 3-year-old fillies at 8 ½ f. It’s time to play the pedigrees since none of this field has ever gone two turns. Most have legitimate two turn pedigrees so who has the best shot to move up with the second turn. 4-Remarkable Soul looks well placed to take the next step and gets Trevor McCarthy in the saddle but the best late runner appears to be 6-Our Curlene who gets the new pilot.
$10 W/P/S 6-Our Curlene
And now for some quickies. . .
Aqueduct Race 8
6f race for NY bred older boys for $25k. The stand out at 8/1 on the M/L? Sign Mick up. 2-T Loves a Fight is taking a huge step up off of a claim but his last race was in a super tough field. Lots of back class with this one and when he is right, he is right.
Laurel Race 5
6f, $8K n1y for older fillies and mares. Gotta love the effort that Joseph Besecker is putting into the horse industry in the MidAtlantic. Runners all over, leading buyer at Fasig-Tipton, and, apparently, lots more in training on various farms. He is a one-man industry. And he has a live one in 5-Sally O’Prado who is returning to her claim level for the first time since being haltered. Jockey Katie Davis is at 28% when Trainer Hugh McMahon gives the leg up. The only question is the distance but the cut back should help her finish.