By Sean Morris

Aqueduct Picks & Late Pick 4 Analysis for December 3

By Sean Morris
A nine-race card is on tap at Aqueduct on Thursday
A nine-race card is on tap at Aqueduct on Thursday

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Turf racing in New York has made it to December, at least as of this writing, with four of nine races at Aqueduct on Thursday scheduled for the grass. Our in-house handicapper has provided picks for every race, and has delivered in-depth analysis for the Late Pick 4 sequence. His thoughts and selections are below...

For my Aqueduct Picks for Friday 4 December 2020 then please follow the link...

  • Aqueduct Picks

Aqueduct Picks

  • Race 1: 10-8-3-6
  • Race 2: 5-2-9-1
  • Race 3: 4-7-1-2
  • Race 4: 5-4-3-2
  • Race 5: 2-4-12-7
  • Race 6: 12-4-7-9
  • Race 7: 10-8-9-3
  • Race 8: 3-1-6-9
  • Race 9: 9-8-2-6
  • Most Likely Winner: Princess Fawzia (Race 2)
  • Best Value: Jimmy Jazz (Race 8)

Race 6

Many of the usual suspects have shown up in this maiden race, with a number of the entrants having been stuck at this level for quite awhile. I prefer a more lightly raced horse, at least on turf, and that’s Dreams of Tomorrow (#12). He does have five starts under his belt already but only one on turf, which was a fine fourth-place finish two back at Keeneland in what has proven to be a live race. That race alone would make Dreams of Tomorrow a strong contender, and it’s possible he takes a step forward back at his home circuit.

High Tide (#4) is also lightly raced and makes plenty of sense in this spot. He came off a long layoff and ran OK at Saratoga over the summer, then improved markedly last out at Belmont going 1 ⅜ miles, a distance that proved just a tad far for him. He’s probably going to end up the favorite, but he’s making his third start of the year and will probably find this distance more to his liking.

I’m also going to include Bay Street Money (#7) as a ‘main’ play. He can’t yet be classified a career maiden, but he has had his chances and hasn’t really improved much through five starts. That said, I thought he may have taken a step in the right direction last time in his first start with Rob Atras as he tracked a soft pace while a bit wide on a day that the hedge was strong on the Aqueduct turf. If he can get back to the 86 Beyer he ran the only previous time he got to go 1 ⅛ miles, he’s going to be tough to beat.

Main:  4,7,12     Backup (priority):  9

Order of preference:  12-4-7-9


Race 7

This is the archetypal mid-level claimer at the Big A, which presents a fascinating handicapping puzzle as horses are coming in from a variety of different directions. I prefer the trio drawn furthest to the outside. Runabout (#8) is probably the most reliable of these runners, however he’s also going to be the shortest price. This horse has been having a terrific year and is coming off the best race of his career at Monmouth Park. Some may be deterred by him being trained by the lesser-known Wayne Potts, but Potts has been sending out a slew of live runners at the meet so if anything I think it’s a positive for this horse, who I believe is the one to beat.

Big Mountain (#9) may also get dismissed due to a low-profile trainer, however Ralph D’Alessandro clearly knows this horse better than anyone. D’Alessandro had him humming last year at this meet, when he paired up 88 Beyers before going off form, and he got back on the beam last time at Aqueduct with a wire-to-wire score at the 16k level. He may have to deal with some pace pressure, but I think this horse has a legitimate shot to lead from start to finish.

Finally, we arrive at my top pick, Skyler’s Scramjet (#10). No one’s going to be shying away from him on account of his trainer, perennial meet-leader Rudy Rodriguez, but he may end up a decent price nonetheless because of the form he’s been in. Admittedly, this once-talented sprinter has not been good in 2020, but that could change in a hurry as he gets over his favorite track for a trainer that dominates here. The mile is a bit of a question mark for him, but I’m expecting a complete reversal of form.

Main:  8,9,10     Backup (priority):  2,3

Order of preference:  10-8-9-3


Race 8

My primary goal in this race is to beat the likely favorite Wild William (#9), who I believe is due for serious regression. I actually liked him two back at Saratoga when he ambushed a field going 5 ½ furlongs, but part of the appeal was that his trainer Jimmy Bond points his horses to that meet. He did corroborate the effort with a wire-to-wire score at Belmont that netted him an 85 Beyer, but he was allowed to set a glacial pace in that spot. There’s no way he’s going to be able to get away with such leisurely splits in this race, and if he does take some pressure I think he’s going to cave.

Anticipating a fast pace, I went with a longshot closer as my top pick. Jimmy Jazz (#3) doesn’t look good on paper, especially after a nondescript effort over this course, however I think the cut back to six furlongs may unlock his true potential. This horse has had a history of making strong runs in his two-turn races that fizzle out in the stretch, so perhaps what he needs is less distance. He’s also bounced back from poor performances before, and maybe the up-and-coming trainer Ray Handal will move him up.

The other two I want to use as ‘main’ plays are two of the main speeds in this race, Danfusi (#1) and Our Destiny (#6). That may seem counterintuitive given the projected pace, however I just think these horses are two of the best in the race and it wouldn’t be a shock to see Danfusi rated early as he turns back in distance. Furthermore, both of these horses are going to be much better prices than Wild William, so if a speed duel fails to materialize perhaps one of them can wire the field at inflated odds.

Main:  1,3,6     Backup (priority):  7,9,10

Order of preference:  3-1-6-9


Race 9

I’m keeping it simple in this race as I’ve sided with the top two choices on the morning line, Love Me Tomorrow (#8) and Grape Therapy (#9). The former is one I’d normally shy away from considering she’s had ample opportunity to break her maiden to no avail, however I thought she ran quite well last time for the level and the Avila barn is starting to wake up.

Grape Therapy, meanwhile, will hopefully get her first crack on dry track after encountering two sloppy surfaces to begin her career. She ran reasonably well in her debut, earning a 55 Beyer that would make her tough in this spot, but she took a step back in her last start at Belmont. Not all wet tracks are created equal, so it’s possible she just didn’t care for the surface, and she’s adding blinkers as she drops in class for this race. Since I can’t resist a new face at this level, she’s my top pick.

Main:  8,9     Backup (priority):  1,2,6

Order of preference:  9-8-2-6


Most Likely Winner:  Princess Fawzia (Race 2)

Best Value:  Jimmy Jazz (Race 8)

 

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Up to $200 in Sign-up Bonuses
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Up to $200 in Sign-up Bonuses
New Customers Only,21 +