Garrity's Sunday Aqueduct Picks include Franklin Square Stakes: Rain in the forecast, speed on the track
The national stakes schedule is exceedingly light today, so we are going to focus our attention on New York, where Aqueduct has a card that is pretty good for a deep-winter Sunday. The main track at the Big A has been kind to speed of late, and we expect that trend to be more pronounced today, as some fairly heavy rain is expected this afternoon, and the good folks in Ozone Park are going to be scrambling to get all nine races run before the skies open up (expect to see accelerated post times, with shorter time between races, to try to finish before the deluge). We’re going to the Big Apple to play speed, speed, and more speed; we expect a fast main track for all these races, so let’s go.
Aqueduct, Race 5, 2:17 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 4 & Up
Today’s 5th at the Big A is a very tough third-level allowance sprint that drew a half-dozen runners. We are going with 4-Fire Sword, a straight-down-the-line speed play who cuts back to 6 furlongs after two speed-and-fade efforts at longer distances in his last two starts. We think that Fire Sword will get the early lead, and we also think that he is going to be tough to catch. We will bet him to win at 12-1. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 5, $40 to win on 4-Fire Sword.
Aqueduct, Race 7, 3:18 pm ET
Allowance, 1 mile, Dirt, New York-bred Fillies & Mares 4 & Up
Older state bred fillies and mares, seven of them, line up for this first-level allowance. The pick is favored 7-Tough Street, who we might normally try to find a way to beat, but who is have things her own way in this race, as she has an outside post position and a huge edge in early pace: This means she is going to go to the front without having to try very hard; once she is ensconced in this tactically advantageous position, she is going to be impossible to catch. We will bet her to win at 7/5, and we will also bet her (see below) in the Double comprising races 7 and 8. The bets: Aqueduct, Race 7, $50 to win on 7-Tough Street; $50 Double, 7 (Tough Street) with 7 (Stonewall Star).
Aqueduct, Race 8, 3:47 pm ET
$100,000 Franklin Square Stakes, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, New York-bred 3-Year-Old Fillies
The Franklin Square, a nice little stakes race for state-bred fillies, is another instance where the horse with the most natural early speed drew a tactically advantageous post position: 7-Stonewell Star, who has hit the board in all five of her starts, would probably be a contender under almost any circumstances, but here she has two advantages that should prove insuperable: she is much, much faster than her six rivals, and she drew outside of all of them. She is going to go right to the front, and she is going to stay in front all the way around the track. We will bet her to win at 8/5. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $50 to win on 7-Stonewell Star.
That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.