Big A Thursday: Garrity heads to Aqueduct to pick four races with Nerves of Steel
The Caretaker, shown here racing at Aqueduct in March 2020, is Garrity's pick in the 2nd at Aqueduct today, January 7, 2021.NYRA

Big A Thursday: Garrity heads to Aqueduct to pick four races with Nerves of Steel

First picked race, the 2nd at Aqueduct, has a post time of 1:20 pm EST

We’re going to tackle the card at Aqueduct today, where it will be a fine day, at least by January standards, sunny and with temperatures in the 40s, and where we have plays in half of the day’s eight races. We expect the main track at the Big A to be fast. Let’s go.

Aqueduct, Race 2, 1:20 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, New York-breds 4 & Up

Six state-bred older horses line up for this 6 ½ furlong sprint. The pick is 6-The Caretaker, who should get a dream trip: he’s a closer who drew outside what should be a very fast pace. Look for him to be moving late for new conditioner Wayne Potts, who claimed him for $25,000 out of his last start, and who hits at a robust 26% rate with horses running back the first time after being claimed. All the stars are aligned for this 7-year-old, which means that he’s headed to the winner’s circle. We will bet him to win at 2-1. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 2, $30 to win on 6-The Caretaker.

Aqueduct, Race 5, 2:50 pm ET

Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds

Eight colts line up for this maiden affair. 1-Kid Cash has run a couple of races that were good enough to win at this level, but his form is a bit too obvious for our tastes, as anyone with a program can see that, and he will consequently be a very short price at post time. We are going to try to beat him, and we are doing so with 7-Nerves of Steel, who makes his second career start this afternoon. He finished far, far back in his career debut, which was at Saratoga in August, but we think his effort that day was better than it looks on paper, as he showed some speed before tiring late. He’s been given time off to recover and mature physically, and his recent works suggest he is ready to run today. Horses sometimes improve dramatically in their second career try, and we think that Nerves of Steel is a candidate to do so, enough of one that his 8-1 morning line odds look juicy. We will bet him to win. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 5, $30 to win on 7-Nerves of Steel.

Aqueduct, Race 6, 3:20 pm ET

Starter Allowance, 1 mile, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up

This starter allowance drew a field of eight, and there is a noticeable lack of early speed in the group. That has us thinking that a horse might be able to steal it on the front end, by leading through very slow fractions, and we think that 6-Cousin Basil looks like a prime candidate: she has the best early-speed numbers in the field, and she comes off a win in a $40k maiden claimer at Parx in which she was forwardly placed throughout. The main track at Parx is usually deeper, and more tiring, than the dirt at Aqueduct, and we think that her Parx effort will have Cousin Basil fit, and ready to steal this race in wire-to-wire fashion. We will bet her to win at 12-1. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 6, $35 to win on 6-Cousin Basil.

Aqueduct, Race 7, 3:50 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 mile, Dirt, 4 & Up

This is a third-level allowance, and though it only drew six entrants, they’re a pretty tough group. We like 6-Someday Jones, who makes his first start for trainer Mike Maker, who claimed him out of his last race for $62,500. He’s an 8-year-old, a grizzled veteran, and while he’s in good form, what makes him the pick here is pace: we see fast early fractions, and Someday Jones should be ideally situated to take advantage when the pacesetters begin to slow down in front of him. We will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 7, $35 to win on 6-Someday Jones.

That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.

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