We'll head back to Aqueduct today, but we'll stick to dirt, as the races in Ozone Park were off the turf yesterday, and the condition of the sod in Ozone Park is unknown to us at press time. The races we've handicapped are all scheduled for dirt, which we are expecting to be fast. Let's go.
Aqueduct, Race 2, 1:17 pm ET
$16,000 Claiming, 1 mile, dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
We're going for a price in here, and an off-the-pace runner, as the top betting choices are all evenly matched speed horses. That means a too-fast early pace, and tiring front-runners at the top of the stretch. We think 4-First Dawn will be in the right spot to pick up the pieces, finish strongly, and get her picture taken in the winner's circle. We will bet her to win at 5-1. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 2, $25 to win on 4-First Dawn.
Aqueduct, Race 5, 1:17 pm ET
$25,000 Claiming, 7 furlongs, dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
We like 7-Solitary Gem in this claimer. This 4-year-old filly just missed at this level at Belmont Park in September, earning a good 63 Beyer Speed Figure. That race as at a mile and a sixteenth, whereas she'll be going 7 furlongs today, but we think the cutback in distance will help her, as she took the lead in the stretch in her last before fading. A repeat of that effort should win this one for her. We will bet her to win at 3-1. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 5, $30 to win on 7-Solitary Gem.
Aqueduct, Race 8, 4:17 pm ET
$40,000 Maiden Claiming, 6 furlongs, dirt, New York-bred 2-year-old fillies
A full field of twelve goes to the post in this maiden claimer. 1-Maru is a strong play here: she ran a decent fourth in her lone career start, a straight maiden special weight race at Belmont Park in September. Today she makes the biggest drop in racing, going from straight maiden to maiden claiming company. She's got abundant speed; breaking from the rail, we expect her to go right to the front and not look back. Key stat: trainer Rudy Rodriguez wins at a very good 30% clip with horses dropping from maiden special to maiden claiming races. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $40 to win on 1-Maru.
That's all for today. Good luck at the windows.