Thursday at the track: Garrity picks three slop-fest races at Aqueduct
Perhaps it’s shortening days, or perhaps it’s the gray skies outside our window, or maybe it’s our Circadian rhythms kicking in, but whatever the reason, we want to embrace the lousy weather today here in the East, and head to the Big A, to Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park, New York, where there will be a nine-race slop-fest this afternoon: all races are off turf and will be run on a sloppy main track. It will be dark; it will be gloomy; it will be raining; but we think we just may be able to turn that lugubrious scene into the bright sunshine of some pari-mutuel profits. Let’s go.
Aqueduct, Race 4, 1:45 pm ET
$25,000 Claiming, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
Six females line up for this claimer. All signs we see point to the 3-year-old filly on the rail, 1-Onward. She drops into claiming company for the first time, she has the most early speed in the field, and while she’s never run over a wet track before, her pedigree (by Street Sense, out of an Arch mare) suggests that she will thrive on it. There is some concern about the class drop -- she cost $600,000 as a yearling but can now be purchased for $25,000 by anyone with a license in the state of New York -- but we think that is more a case of trainer Christophe Clement being realistic about her abilities, rather than giving up on her. We think she fits at this level, and we think she wires this group on the front end. We will bet her to win at 5/2. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 4, $40 to win on 1-Onward.
Aqueduct, Race 6, 2:45 pm ET
$40,000 Maiden Claiming, Dirt, New York-bred 2-Year-Old FIllies
This state-bred maiden sprint drew a field of ten. We like 7-Full of Fire, and we like her quite a lot. She has one career start, a speed-and-fade at Belmont Park on October 2, but that was against a straight maiden field, and here she faces maiden claimers. Moreover, this race is at Aqueduct, which tends to be more speed-favoring than Belmont, and today she gets blinkers, which are a sign that trainer Horacio DePaz wants her to go right to the front. She has speed, an outside post, and decent off-track breeding, which is good; what’s even better is that DePaz has incredible stats with horses in similar spots: he has a 36% win rate with maidens making the second start of their career, and a 38% strike rate with horses getting blinkers for the first time. We think Full of Fire goes right to the front, and demolishes this field in wire-to-wire fashion; we will bet her to win at 3-1, and will do so aggressively. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 6, $50 to win on 7-Full of Fire.
Aqueduct, Race 8, 3:47 pm ET
Allowance, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 3 & Up
This first-level allowance at nine furlongs on the Big A main track drew a field of six. We like it as a betting race, despite the short field, because we’re not overly enthusiastic about the prospects of odds-on favorite 6-Our Last Buck. He has decent speed figures, but he comes into this race having faced his fellow New York-breds in his last five starts, and we think he’s going to find the waters of open company here, running against horses bred in Kentucky and Florida and the like, to be much, much deeper than what he’s become used to. Throw in the fact that he’s suspect on a wet track -- his best races have been on fast dirt -- and he’s an absolute play-against.
We like 1-V.I.P. Ticket. While he’s never won on a wet track before, he has done well in the slop, with two seconds and two thirds in four career starts, and those efforts were against tougher fields than he faces here. Moreover, we think the pace will favor his late-running style: there’s a lot of speed here drawn to his outside, and we think he can get a good ground-saving trip from his rail post, biding his time while the horses in front of him run each other to the point of exhaustion. We see him well behind the leaders early, but in front at the wire; we will bet him to win at 6-1. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $35 to win on 1-V.I.P. Ticket.
That’s all for today. Enjoy the races, stay safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.