This week we head to Aqueduct for the 57th running of the Gotham Stakes. No other significant three year old preps around the country today, so good luck at Aqueduct!!
Race 1: This was an Alw54000N1X for 3yo New York bred fillies at 1m. It looked like a three horse race on paper between La Concerto, She’s Prime and More Oats Please. I settled on More Oats Please (ML 5/2) as she has blossomed since moving into the Thomas Bush barn two starts back. She tries a route of ground for the first time and has excellent sprint speed. Catch her to cash…
The Result: More Oats Please was sent off as the generous 5-1 second choice but could not hold off the Steve Asmussen trained La Concerto in the final strides. Kaydeross finished a distant third as the heavy ½ favorite She’s Prime struggled home fourth. A heartbreaking defeat for me in the opener, the winner was clearly playable second time off the layoff. I made the incorrect assumption that this horse would be bet down since it was an Asmussen horse, therefore I settled on More Oats Please.
Maximum Points: La Concerto 265
Maximum Score: 265
My Score: 109
Race 2: This was an Msw54K for 3+ at 1m. I thought it was a two horse race on paper between O’Kid and Go Swiftly, so quickly chose O’Kid since Go Swiftly was already 0 for 7 with several losses as the favorite. O’Kid is an off the pace runner moving back to Aqueduct from Laurel. He has faced several horses on form that have come back to win and should be a strong factor down the lane. The surprising (to me) strong favorite was Flat Bold shipping in from California with two average efforts on the synthetic surface. I wasn’t a big fan, especially at around even money. McLaughlin does take over the training duties from Craig Dollase. I still say show me the money.
The Result: Go Swiftly grabbed the early lead and repelled the challenge of favored Flat Bold to score at 5/2. Cary Away finished third. O’Kid was a non factor from far back at 7-1. A terrible effort by my selection.
Maximum Points: Go Swiftly 122
Maximum Score: 387
My Score: 109
Race 3: This was an Alw53000N1X for New York breds 3+ at 6f. Three scratches left a field of six. It appeared to be between Mahopac, Heir to the Stone and Legal Consent. Once again I tried to guess which of these three would be the highest price at post time and settled on Legal Consent who is turning back from a route and should offer a decent late kick in this race. Hopefully the splits will be strong enough to give him a chance. Mahopac looks very strong as the possible inside controlling speed. Favored Heir to the Stone had a sizzling debut last July and then was away for six months before coming back and narrowly losing at even money. Vulnerable chalk?
The Result: Heir to the Stone sprinted clear and was too good this time at even money. Legal Consent loomed at the top of the stretch but couldn’t get by down the stretch. Mahopac finished third. A formful finish to Race 3.
Maximum Points: Heir to the Stone 90
Maximum Score: 477
My Score: 165
Race 4: This was a Mcl25000 for New York bred fillies and mares 3+ at 6f. This was a very difficult race as the likely favorite was 0 for 9 and dropping into a maiden claimer for the first time. There appeared to be a fair amount of speed/fade types in the race and I bounced back and forth between Scott’s Choice, Sassification, True Intent and Princess Maura. I settled on the outside horse Princess Maura, who was also dropping into a maiden claimer for the first time and showed good early speed in her two career starts. She has taken some betting support in her two races but has faded badly each time. CC Lopez stays aboard and he has won twice already today. I’m hoping she is the speed of the speed and just keeps running today. The logical favorite is Scott’s Choice who is turning back in distance and dropping in class.
The Result: My selection made the lead but quickly faded out of it as huge longshot Sassification scored at 49-1. Favored Scott’s Choice finished second and Poof Poof ran third. Sassification was first time Lasix and had shown early speed a few times. She was 15-1 in the ML but got completely overlooked in the betting today. Congratulations if you found that one! I did consider the horse but I couldn’t quite pull the trigger. It looked like a good race to pick a longshot but I picked the wrong one. I guess the Lasix put her over the top against a very modest field. 50-1 still seems way too high for the horse! The win points were capped at 600.
Maximum Points: Sassification 1,028
Maximum Score: 1,505
My Score: 165
Race 5: This was a Clm10000N3l for 4+ at 6f. There appeared to be a lot of speed in this race and the track seems to be favoring speed so far. I liked It’s a Grandslam on the rail at ML 10-1 ridden by Napravnik. He had trouble in his last start and ran evenly and runs back for a new barn at the same level. Maybe she stays close early and finishes strong. Make the Point could be the speed of the speed and Spring Manners and True Rebel are the off the pace threats.
The Result: Make the Point sat off the early pace and scored as the favorite over True Rebel and Spring Manners. It’s a Grandslam was no factor at 16-1. A formful event after the last race fireworks.
Maximum Points: Make the Point 155
Maximum Score: 1,660
My Score: 165
Race 6: This was an OC75K for 3yo at 6f. I selected Fellow Crasher from the outside. He has good stalking speed and finished second at this level back in December. Mike From Queens was seen earlier in the contest as a Whirlaway entrant. He is the race favorite.
The Result: Interesting. Counter Move went wire to wire at 6-1 in his second career start after moving into the McLaughlin barn. Another front running score so this track is pretty tight for the front runners today. Favored Fellow Crasher finished second and Kickapoo was third. I can’t say this one was on my radar screen. Nice handicapping if you found this son of Vindication.
Maximum Points: Counter Move 274
Maximum Score: 1,934
My Score: 224
Race 7: This was an Msw51K for New York bred 3yo fillies at 6f. I selected For Love Alone who ran a much improved effort in her last start. When a maiden runs a few even efforts and then jumps up and runs a much better race, it usually signifies that the horse has figured out the game and will run well again. She probably won’t get the lead in here which could be problematic. Three scratches leave a field of nine.
The Result: Speed did not hold this time as Banker’s Buy rallied from far back to nail Roaring Ghost at the wire. Favored Not Ja Mama finished third. A poor effort from my selection at 5/2! Roaring Ghost gets the most contest points for finishing second at 15-1. He was a first time starter by Roaring Fever. Again, not on my radar screen!
Maximum Points: Roaring Ghost 205
Maximum Score: 2,139
My score: 224
Race 8: This was the 116th running of The Grade III Toboggin Handicap for 3+ at 6f. It looked like anyone could win it so I just took a stab at a price with West Coast Flier who has won his last four races in a row against softer competition. He’s 3 for 4 lifetime over the Aqueduct inner and looks like a contender at a price. No clue in puzzler…
The Result: Another rallier Au Day gets up in the final strides to nip Eternal Star and Saint Daimon. My selection got caught up in a speed duel and the unpredictable result was not surprising. A nice quality field for this year’s Toboggin.
Maximum Points: Au Day 309
Maximum Score: 2,448
My Score: 224
Race 9: Here is the featured 57th running of the Grade III Gotham Stakes for 3yos at 1m1/16th. I have a strong opinion on Mr. Fantasy in this race exiting two daylight victories against New York breds. McLaughlin has been on fire lately and I believe this horse will get the lead and cruise wire to wire. I wouldn’t be surprised if the horse goes favored as he handled his first two turn try easily. Haynesfield and I Want Revenge appear to be the main threats on paper and we have seen both of these horses in previous prep races. I Want Revenge tries dirt for the first time after racing in California previously.
The Result: An outstanding performance by I Want Revenge as he went toe to toe with Mr. Fantasy early and drew away authoritatively down the lane. Mr. Fantasy tired late and was nipped by Imperial Council for second. I Want Revenge handled the dirt beautifully and perhaps gives extra credence to some of the West Coast runners he has faced this year, including Pioneer of the Nile.
Maximum Points: I Want Revenge 316
Maximum Score: 2,764
My Score: 284
Race 10: This was a Clm7500 for 4+ at 1m70. I tried favored Military Major ho drops into a softer spot today and is a consistent runner from off the pace. The pace may be pretty slow in this race so he may be compromised. Dreamin of Victory and Friendly Pocket appear to be the main threats.
The Result: Not surprisingly, the 1-2 runners early ran around the track. The hard part was figuring out who was going to be near the early lead as the winner Friendly Pocket was coming off 3 consecutive races where he was 8th, 9th and 8th at the first call. Today he was 2nd at the first call and easily disposed of Fregata to draw off to an easy win at 6-1. Longshot Corrupt Judge ran third.
Maximum Points: Friendly Pocket 289
Maximum Score: 3,053
My Score: 284
Summary: Sassification in Race 5 was a must have if you want to get the weekly prizes this week. She was by far the highest scoring horse of the day. Also, great effort by I Want Revenge in the Gotham Stakes as he won by a big margin. The winning score should be in the 2,000 point range as there were a lot of points available today despite only ten races. Those of you struggling like I am, we can always hope for 1 big week! See you next week.