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Tuesday, December 31: Wet, Chalky 147,315 Mandatory Payout Empire 6 at Aqueduct?

by Dustin Fabian

December 31, 2019

Tuesday is Mandatory Payout Day at Aqueduct, where ‘everything must go’ in their 20-cent Jackpot Empire 6 where the carryover is $147,315. The sequence covers Races 3 – 8 and gets underway at approximately 1:28PM ET.

At first glance – and then at second and third – betting this Pick 6 is going to come down to which short-priced favorites are single sand which, if any, are worth playing against.  Across the six races, there are six horses on the ML at odds of 8/5 or lower and four of the six races include a ML favorite at even-money or shorter.

Simply put, if most of those favorites come in this Pick 6 isn’t going to be a life-changing score.

There’s good news, though.  That $147,315 carryover is going to ensure an inflated payout.  And furthermore, you don’t have to play this bet solely at its 20-cent minimum.  If you’ve got a relatively cheap ticket you like, don’t hesitate to punch it five or ten times for a $1 or $2 base.  For example, a ticket with 48 combinations (say 2x4x1x1x2x3) costs $9.60.  Punch it ten times and you can hit the 20-cent Pick 6 ten times for $96.

Here’s my recommendation on tackling the sequence. A sloppy track is expected, so handicap accordingly. 

Race 3 (1:28PM ET) – Maiden Special Weight

With the scratch of #5 MODERNIST (1/1), Todd Pletcher’s #6 PORTOS (7/5) stands out as a heavy favorite. If he takes to the muddy track, he could be long gone. If he doesn’t, any of the three inside horses could factor. #1 CALL ME LATER (12/1) ran a closing 6th in his debut in the slop at Churchill. #2 COWTOWN (6/1) is the ‘other’ Pletcher horse but he hasn’t done nearly as much as his stablemate. #3 FIAT LUX (8/1) could get an interesting look as a firster for Rudy Rodriguez but it’s really hard to win first out going 1 1/8 miles.  If he takes money, he’s worth considering. 

Race 4 (1:58PM ET) – Claiming

The only race in the sequence without a low-priced favorite, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to rush to the ALL button. #6 WIN WITH PRIDE (3/1) goes out for a high-percentage trainer (Jeremiah Englehart) and despite his ten-month layoff, he’s back with his regular jockey and drew nicely in this 6 1/2-furlong dash.  #2 COLTANDMISSISSIPPI (7/2) is back at an appropriate level (and surface) and goes second off the claim for Jason Servis, so I’ll use him.  #5 WEGOTOLDYOUGOTSOLD (5/2) has been off since April and takes a class drop for Rudy Rod, but his pre-layoff form would win this.   #7 DEEP SEA (12/1) is a big price but his best races have come in the slop.

Race 5 (2:28PM ET) – Claiming

You always have to question big class droppers off mediocre efforts, but #10 OTHER THINGS EQUAL (1/1) feels like a horse Klaravich Stables is simply looking to move on from as the gelding’s form isn’t quite up to par of their lofty ownership goals. They paid $335K for him as a yearling but the son of Hard Spun is just 1-for-5 and his best races are simply better than these. I’m skeptical of the class drop, but ultimately I don’t see many good alternatives.

Race 6 (2:58PM ET) – Allowance

#8 OPERATION ROSES (1/1) won like a heavy favorite should in his debut for Todd Pletcher at Aqueduct on November 24, drawing off by 7-lengths in a gate-to-wire score. And that race just happened to come on a wet track, so we know he's fine with this footing. He’s drawn better this time (he was on the rail for his debut) and should make it 2-for-2 here.

Race 7 (3:28PM ET) – Allowance

#4 COMMUNICATOR (2/5) blitzed a maiden field here on November 10, going gate-to-wire to score by 6 1/4-lengths while earning a 95 Beyer Speed Figure. Being a son of Bernardini, out of an Awesome Again mare, and a $300K auction purchase as a yearling, you know this one looks the part. Plus with that pedigree, added distance won’t be a hurdle. #2 PATAGONIA (3/1) is also worth considering. 

Race 8 (3:58PM ET) – Maiden Claiming

The finale is a maiden claimer and eyes will be on #11 HUDSON OVERPASS (8/5).  He’s 7-0-3-1 in his career and has just one fewer runner-up performance on his resume than the ten horses drawn inside of him combined. #1 EL SANGRU (6/1) makes his first start in the Big Apple after starting his career at Finger Lakes and he’s done OK on a wet track before. #8 RIGHTDOWNGENTLEMEN (12/1) is a firster in a mediocre field.

My Ticket

Race 3: #6 Portos
Race 4: #2 Coltandmississippi, #5 Wegotoldyougotsold, #6 Win With Pride, #7 Deep Sea
Race 5: #10 Other Things Equal
Race 6: #8 Operation Roses
Race 7: #2 Patagonia, #4 Communicator
Race 8: #1 El Sangru, #8 Rightdowngentlemen, #11 Hudson Overpass

Ticket: $4.80 for 20-cents; Press it ten times to pay $48 and have it for $2