The New York Racing Association is at it again ... Aqueduct is headed towards another weekend of running. The capstone is today's Grade 1 Cigar Mile. Along with the Remsen S., which has Kentucky Derby Points on the line, it is a fabulous card top to bottom. We have a Late Pick 4, All-Stakes ticket, that is sure to cash!
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LEG 1: (Race 7: Dirt, 1 Mile, Go for Wand H. (G3), $250k, F&M 3+)
The opening leg of this All-Stakes Pick 4 is a 1-turn mile that is sure to stir some excitement. This G3 has some strong entries, but I like the look of Brad Cox’s Lady Rocket #2. She is a filly that deserves favoritism, and should take quite a bit of money after winning the divided Pumpkin Pie 100k on Halloween at Belmont. Irad Ortiz gets the call once again, and even though he and Cox do not work together that often, that could change in the near future. If she can take a step forward from that race, then she has a great chance to notch this Grade 3 victory. We should not forget that this one by Tale of the Cat was 2nd in the Gallant Bloom (G2) 2 races back. Kicking off this sequence, that is why she is a “Single,” for me.
Selections: 2 (Single)
LEG 2: (Race 8: Dirt, 1 1/8th, The Remsen S. (G2), $250k, 2)
After that “Single” in the 1st Leg, I will have the opportunity to go deeper in a race that is anyone’s game. The Remsen is a KYD148 Points race, and even though runners that have one have not made it to the winner’s circle on the “1st Saturday in May,” doesn’t mean that there is not talent in here. Earlier in the week, I was pretty convinced when I first looked at the entries that Chad Brown’s Zandon #7 was the pick. I stand by that top selection because this colt by Upstart comes from a fabulous barn, and broke his maiden in fine style back at Belmont in early October. The speed fig that day was excellent for never having run in competition, and with Joel Rosario back aboard, this one looks awfully smart. When you are bred by the former Governor of Kentucky, Brereton Jones, you know you have a possible winner. I want to include a couple of others though that will keep me honest, especially since I have some room in the budget. Let’s not leave out Shug McGaughey’s Judge Davis #3, nor Todd Pletcher’s Mo Donegal #1. Both of these entries are experienced, and are looking to really make an impact for their respective outfits. In particular, the latter broke his maiden last out at Belmont, and showcased an impressive leg kick late in the game in that MSW90k affair. Irad Ortiz is aboard once again … I think going 3-Deep should do the trick …
Selections: 1/3/7 (3-Deep)
LEG 3: (Race 9: Dirt, 1 1/8th, Demoiselle S. (G2), $250k, 2F)
Moving right along, we are now taking a look at the “sister race” to The Remsen … The Grade 2 Demoiselle S. This one has Kentucky Oaks implications (10-4-2-1), and brings together an intriguing group of 8. Some of the entries in here do not make much sense … i.e. Full Count Felicia #8, who just seems out of her depth having never tried dirt in 3 starts. Of course, Todd Pletcher’s Nest #5 is a must to include, especially considering she hit-the-board last time out in the Tempted 150k back at Belmont in early November. Irad is aboard once again, and if she can stretch out (Curlin’s offspring do), then she could win the day. I also want to add in a few others … like Pletcher’s other half of the uncoupled entry Miss Interpret #1. This daughter of Street Sense has some budding talent, even though she shipped to Keeneland and turned in a “dud” of a race in the Alcibiades (G1). Maybe this is her cue to rebound, and make amends. How about adding Jorge Abreu’s Venti Valentine #3? She is by Firing Line, a sire that does not get much notoriety. I wouldn’t write this one off because she is 2/2 in her career. Both victories at Belmont were solid, and you know Johnny V is coming to play. Last but not least, HOF trainer Bill Mott is at the “Big A,” and his runner, Nostalgic #4 is extremely well-bred. A Godolphin homebred, she broke her maiden on debut at Belmont, and won convincingly at odds of 9/1. That was a 1 1/16th, which is not terribly easy to do. I would not count her out whatsoever … Those are my picks for inclusion, and I am hoping one of them gets home!
The anchor leg of this Late Pick 4 ticket has arrived, and I am pretty keen on Todd Pletcher’s Americanrevolution #3. This is a young 3-yr-old colt who has done little wrong since coming over to this HOF trainer’s outfit. I realize he is running against much tougher company than in the Empire Classic 300k, which was when we saw him last. There is no question that this son of Constitution has ability, and I would not be surprised if he wins nicely against this lot. If you can take on the likes of Hot Rod Charlie, then that speaks volumes … Let’s also include a few others that could easily bring their “A-Game.” Do not forget Brad Cox’s Plainsman #2, who looks the part. If he can class elevate, then he could be a formidable runner in here. Manny Franco gets the call, at quite a price … Besides this shot, do not overlook Following Sea #1 from the excellent folks at Spendthrift, or the member of Eclipse Thoroughbreds, Independence Hall #5. Last but not least, the venerable Code of Honor #4, for HOF trainer Shug McGaughey, looks the part as he spurns retirement. Lane’s End decided to send him back to the track for at least one more ride. Looking at this line-up, I think the choice to go 5-Deep makes a ton of sense. Let’s go get some money!