by Brian Nadeau
November 16, 2017
With the Breeders’ Cup behind us and a big Thanksgiving Weekend looming on the horizon, let’s try to build the handicapping bankroll by taking a look at Aqueduct’s Friday Pk5.
Race 1: 3up 35k N3L going 1-mile
With just five signed on, going deep isn’t really a prudent approach with several tough races later in the sequence, so let’s try to keep things narrow and use just #2 SPARTY BOY, who should like getting back to the dirt, where he was very solid in Kentucky, and also #4 DEVINE DENTAL, who drew well to be outside the inside speed of #1 Two Down One to Go. The obvious wildcard is #3 Sallisaw, who will like the return to the dirt as well, but he’s been awful of late and could simply be damaged goods.
Pk5 horses (listed in order of preference): 2-4
Race 2: 2yo MSW going 1 1/8 miles
It’s always tricky with 2yos who are trying 1 1/8 miles and two turns at this time of the year, especially when the likely favorite, #4 MARCONI, is a first-time starter (albeit for Todd Pletcher). And while his $2 million purchase price says he’s a looker, whether he’s a runner or not remains to be seen, so yes, he’s a must-use, as this is a bad race, but he’s not a single. I’m using more than a few, as stablemate #1 BIBLICAL has been progressing and is screaming for two turns, as has #5 ST. AUGUSTINE, who is bred to be a runner and finally stretches out. I’ll also use the two Parx invaders, #7 TATTERED and #2b INCUBATOR, who ran 2-3 last time, in fast time (for this field), and also got to test two turns as well.
Pk5 horses: 1-5-4-7-2b
Race 3: 3up AOC going 1 3/8 miles on the turf
While there may be only six horses signed on, the pace looks hot and contested, as both #6 Smooth Daddy and #1a Roman Approval want to be involved early, and #1 Scholar Athlete and #3 St. Louie aren’t letting anyone get too far away up front either. So while it’s never a good idea to trust that New York jockeys will actually go early when they are expected to, it seems destined to happen here, which is why #4 GOLD SHIELD is the single, as he’s the one proven stalker who has shown the ability to consistently pass horses in the lane. He’s hard as all heck to trust, and just lost comfortably to Roman Approval, but the race flow really points to him.
Pk5 horses: 4
Race 4: 2yo 50k maiden-claimer going 1-mile
Another deep spread kind of a race, with lots of different angles going on. That’s especially true with #5 HOARD, who will run for a tag on the dirt for the first time, adds blinkers and Lasix, and races as a first-time gelding. Experience worked for #2 OUTVOTED last time, as he was much-improved in his second start, while #6 HIGH RISK STRATEGY will like the MSW drop after trying two turns at Parx, while MSW dropper #4 SIDEWINDER didn’t run a lick in two turf starts but is bred for the dirt, adds blinkers and is a first-time gelding. Lastly, #8 REGALIAN adds blinkers off the Chris Englehart claim, and has the speed to make use of a nice attack post.
Pk5 horses: 5-2-6-4-8
Race 5: NYB MSW for 3up going 1 1/16 miles on the turf
A tricky race, in that the top pair, #7 GOSILENTLY and #6 APPEALING BRIEFS, are starting to get the “refuser” label, as they are 0-for-9 and 0-for-10 respectively, but I’m giving them both one last chance, as they simply seem better than a modest bunch. You can make a case for literally every other horse in the field, but as meek as the top-2 are, the rest are still looking up and will have to improve and really don’t give a lot of reason to think they will.
Pk5 horses: 7-6
Race 1: 2, 4
Race 2: 1, 2B, 4, 5, 7
Race 3: 4
Race 4: 2, 4, 5, 6, 8
Race 5: 6, 7
My Ticket: $50.00