With horse racing literally the only game in town, we're working overtime to give you something to watch today. The good news is that there are plenty of good and bet-able races on Sunday, with stakes at Aqueduct in New York and Sunland Park in New Mexico. We will look at those, plus a couple of other non-stakes grass races from the Fair Grounds in New Orleans as well.
We will also pause here to make a public service announcement: if there are any new readers here, anyone looking for a diversion during these trying times, drop us a note, right in the comments section at the bottom of this page, if there's anything racing-related that you would like to see in this space. We're game for anything: Handicapping 101, Question and answer sessions, you name it. Like everyone else, we're learning to deal with the world the coronavirus outbreak has wrought as we go along, and if there's anything that any of you out there want to see, we want to know about it.
We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of the following races. With that out of the way, let's go.
Fair Grounds, Race 4, 2:57 pm ET
Allowance, 1 mile, Turf, 3-year-old Fillies
This first-level allowance down in the Big Easy drew a nice field of seven. Brad Cox trains two of them, one of which, 3-Enduringly, is our pick. She is a Godolphin homebred with a flashy pedigree, by top sire Ghostzapper out of an Elusive Quality mare, and she's done nothing wrong in her two career starts: she broke her maiden at first asking the day after Christmas, and finished second on February 13 at the same distance, and under the same conditions, as today's race. Enduringly is a stretch-runner, and in that race last month, she tried to rally into a slow pace, but couldn't catch the leaders; we think the pace will be faster today, which will set up her late kick nicely. We will bet her to win at 3-1. The bet: Fair Grounds, Race 4, $35 to win on 3-Enduringly.
Fair Grounds, Race 8, 4:53 pm ET
Allowance, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, 4 & Up
This is a second-level allowance, for non-winners of two races, and it's drawn a pretty salty field of older turf horses. There are some confirmed front-runners in the field, so we think this race, like the 4th, will be run with a fairly quick early pace, and that will set the table for the come-from-behinders. The closer we like the most is 2-Patriot Drive, who starts for trainer Mike Maker. He has the right running style, and he has been running in graded stakes company, and we think he is going to find the much shallower waters of an allowance race much to his liking. We think Patriot Drive gets his picture taken with a strong move down the stretch; we will bet him to win at 7/2. The bet: Fair Grounds, Race 8, $35 to win on 2-Patriot Drive.
Aqueduct, Race 8, 5:01 pm ET
$100,000 Damon Runyon Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, New York-bred 3-year-olds
If ever there were a human being who just screamed to have a horse race named after him, it was Damon Runyon, and Aqueduct obliges us today with seven state-bred colts going 7 furlongs on the dirt. Speed was king at the Big A yesterday: it was not a ridiculous bias, but forwardly-placed horses definitely had an advantage, and we think that trend will continue to rule today. That makes this race very easy to handicap: 1-Dream Bigger has by far the most early zip in this race, and breaking from the rail, he must use to clear the field and avoid traffic trouble. We think this Rudy Rodriguez trainee is going to go right to the front and never look back, winning the race in wire-to-wire fashion. We will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $40 to win on 1-Dream Bigger.
Sunland Park, Race 9, 6:41 pm ET
$75,000 Curribot Handicap, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 4 & Up
The Curribot Handicap drew a field of six, which is a little short, but it's a decent race for betting nonetheless. We like 2-Restrainedvengeance. He's a 6-year-old gelding who has been butting heads with some pretty tough horses: he ran last in the Grade 2 San Pasqual at Santa Anita. He did not win the San Pasqual -- he finished fifth -- but the field here is nowhere near as tough as what he's been facing. Restrainedvengeance has superior speed figures, is in good form, and will be ridden by Francisco Arrieta, the top jockey at Sunland Park. This guy is a go, and we will bet him to win. We will not get his 2-1 morning line odds -- he will get bet, and be a lower price at post time -- but we will bet him anyway. The bet: Sunland Park, Race 9, $50 to win on 2-Restrainedvengeance.
That's all for today. Enjoy the racing, be well, and, as always, good luck at the windows.