God's Tipster's Saturday Aqueduct, Churchill Downs Picks: 10 races with Memories of Silver, return of Zandon
Friday’s Race Recap from Keeneland:
(All odds US)
Replays for Friday’s races from Keeneland can be found here:
Race 3: SCRATCH
Race 4: 1st@ 2.02/1 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Race 7: 1st@ 4.72/1 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Race 9: 4th@ 4.20/1
Our Friday began with a scratch in Race 3. In Race 4, Ardanwood went to the lead and never looked back giving us a win to kick the day off. Never an anxious moment as the 2/1 co-favorite. In Race 7, Loyal Company sat off the early pace, the 6/5, Castlewarden favorite took the lead and we grinded him and Dark Vector down for another win at nearly 5/1. In Race 9, Debate never really got on track finishing fourth.
We’re starting to heat up again as we head into Kentucky Derby week. We’ve got opening day from Churchill Downs with a twilight racing card. I recognize that many of our UK based members aren’t able to bet on races from Churchill Downs due to silly rules with CDI tracks in the U.S. so I’ve handicapped some races from Aqueduct as well. Rain is expected at Aqueduct so I’ll be handicapping for sloppy conditions and off the turf racing but we should be fast and firm at Churchill Downs. I picked 10 races but many are short prices so we’re looking to make some money on volume.
Let’s get started!
Race 1: Miss Stones - 1 pt win - (US Morning Line Odds: 5/2)
Maiden fillies bred in New York will get us started sprinting 6 furlongs on the dirt. We’ve got a few contenders with starts under their belt and a few debut runners with potential. I’m opting for the latter as Miss Stones makes her debut for the Bruce Levine barn which wins at an underrated 16% with debut runners. Aside from this runner having speed in her breeding and owning the field’s top Tomlinson figure, this miss has been paired up in several recent workouts with a runner named Bustin Lulu. Bustin Lulu made her debut for this same barn recently blasting away early and blew the doors off a maiden field with a gate to wire score. Looking for similar from this one who’s perfectly positioned from the outside.
Race 2: Lady Beth - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 7/2)
The Memories of Silver is a rare feature race carded as the second race on a race program and it’s for three-year-old fillies racing a mile on turf. It’s supposed to rain all night and all day tomorrow so I’m handicapping for it to be rained off the turf but if it happens to stay on a softer turf I’d still give Lady Beth a long look. In her debut effort over the polytrack at Gulfstream in February Lady Beth ran with the early pace and took over, drawing off easily under mild urging. She’s a $390k purchase running for one of the top barns in the country with Flavien Prat aboard - winning at 21%. Hard Spun is the sire and his progeny seem to be able to run over any surface while a few in here may be limited with European grass breeding in their bloodlines. I don’t think she’ll be 7/2 but if she is I’ll be betting!
Race 4: Echo in Eternity - 2 pts win - BEST BET (US Morning Line Odds: 3/1)
This is the second division of Race 1’s 6 furlong maiden sprint for New York bred fillies. Angelique makes her debut for the unusually chilly barn of Todd Pletcher, who’s just 1 for 29 at this Aqueduct meet. Her last workout was a drill from the gate and I never like to see a debuting horse’s final work to be a gate work. That’s something I learned from a fellow handicapper a while back and it seems to hold pretty true. She’s our 9/5 favorite but I’ll pass on the cold barn and instead opt for Echo in Eternity who makes her debut for the Danny Gargan barn. This is a four-year-old filly facing a field of younger fillies. Trainer Gargan is 4 for 11 (36%) with dirt sprint runners making their debut here at Aqueduct and is 2 for 5 (40%) over the last five years with those types in races restricted to New York breds. According to the folks at DRF, Echo in Eternity has been working competitively with Grade 2 Remsen winner Dubyuhnell and turf stakes winner Dakota Gold. Look out!
Race 5: Healing - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 8/1)
Ok so this is a race that’s currently carded for a mile and a sixteenth on the turf but it’s already pouring rain and there’s a very good chance this race will end up being run over a sloppy, sealed main track. That sometimes helps runners with inside speed and Healing has speed. A low profile barn will ensure a fair price. Top rider Jose Ortiz takes the irons on this runner who has two workouts since his last start and might be a surprise package speeding from the rail here.
Race 8: Zandon - 2 pts win (US Morning Line Odds: 4/5)
Race 8 is an allowance optional claiming race at a mile and features the return of Zandon, last year’s Grade 1 BlueGrass winner. Zandon was last seen right here at this one mile distance at Aqueduct spinning his wheels in the slop in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile. I was initially going to try to beat him but I think he’s too much pony for this group. This is a Grade 1 winner facing allowance horses after all. Looking at a list of runners Zandon defeated last year and it includes: future Belmont Stakes winner, Mo Donegal, Pioneer of Medina, Smile Happy, Tawny Port, Emmanuel, Taiba, Cyberknife and Skippylongstocking. Most of those would also be heavily favored vs. these. He returns for a barn that doesn’t play games.
Race 3: Lucky Smile - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 10/1)
Bottom-level maiden claimers kick off Kentucky Derby week here for us at Churchill Downs and this is a really weak field of runners that’s about to go 7 furlongs. Lucky Smile is the choice. This recently gelded four-year-old son of Tapit was claimed from the barn of Todd Pletcher late last year. He ran decently enough in that debut effort against a really tough field. His subsequent starts haven’t been great but his recent workouts indicate he can run. I’m hoping the fact that they gelded him recently keeps his mind on business.
Race 5: Sidekick - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 5/2)
Maidens sprint 6 furlongs in this fun little raced for three-year-olds and up. My first thought was to look towards Dallas Stewart’s runner - the debuting Timetomakemischief - since Stewart does well with debut runners here at CD but this is a three-year-old August foal so he’s technically still a two-year-old and he’s facing some four- and five-year-olds today. No gracias. Shady Daredevil is another debut runner who looks ok - especially in light of trainer Norm Casse’s near 30% win percentage with debut runners here at Churchill Downs. But none of his debut runners in the last five years has run a figure as fast as the numbers Sidekick has been running. Sidekick is a runner I’ve always expected more from. This four-year-old full brother to Grade 1 Travers winner Code of Honor has run a few good races but kept getting beaten. I happened to think his sprinting debut effort was the most eye-catching of all his races and I’m looking forward to seeing what his new barn can do for him. He’s been working well since February and should be locked and loaded.
Race 7: Medaglia Forever - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 8/1)
Three-year-old maiden fillies race an unusual mile and a quarter distance here. Peak Popularity is going to be pretty popular at the betting windows but here’s a stat that won’t go into Chad Brown’s scrapbook: he’s 1 for 17 over the last five years with dirt runners at the distance of a mile and a quarter for a win percentage of 6%. Granted those were mostly Grade 1 races but I wasn’t overly impressed with that runner’s replay either. Medaglia Forever is a filly we played two races back when she looked home free but Tituba re-rallied and we had to settle for second. This three-year-old daughter of Breeder’s Cup Distaff winner Forever Unbridled was given a shot at stakes company but didn’t really take to the polytrack. She’s back to Churchill Downs and has been working well for a barn that loves to aim their horses for this Churchill Downs meet and she picks up top rider Luis Saez again. Definite value at 8/1 morning line or higher.
Race 8: Madrilena - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 6/1)
Filly and mares sprint 5 1/2 furlongs on turf in this allowance optional claiming race. I’ll keep this one simple. The top speed figure earned on turf by anyone in this field was earned by our selection Madrilena who happens to be 6/1. The 6/1 morning line part is a big reason behind why she’s my selection here. Trainer Paulo Lobo gets Gerardo Corrales to pilot this six-year-old mare once again as he rode her to just miss against a salty group at Kentucky Downs last September. Finishing 9th in that very race from Sept. 13 was today’s 5/2 morning line favorite Nota Bene, who doesn’t possess the same speed this one has. Gate to wire threat.
Race 10: Cronus - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 6/1)
I wasn’t going to pick another race but the 6/1 morning line value here was too good to pass up. Cronus ships in from Oaklawn Park for a 20% winning trainer. This five-year-old gelding will be making his 12th career start while looking for his first career win and his best main track speed figures tower over most of his rivals today. He finished off the board in his only start over the Churchill Downs main track and hasn’t hit the board yet at today’s distance so maybe that’ll keep his odds high but the speed figures he’s put up on the track and at the distance would be enough to take this.
Best of luck to all our members playing Saturday’s races from around the U.S.!!