The Breeders’ Cup has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean high-quality 2-year-old racing has ended for the year. Far from it, actually, as the Saturday feature at Aqueduct is as intriguing a 2-year-old race as we may see all year.
The ninth race on the program is the Atlantic Beach, which drew a full field of 12 juveniles going six furlongs on the turf course. If you like a particular runner, chances are you’ll get a square price, and I think there’s also money to be made in the exotics. Let’s take a look!
Pace Makes the Race
Many contenders in here seem to need the lead in order to run well. #5 FREEWHEELER doesn’t, and that’s a large reason why he’s my top pick. The son of City Zip was an impressive maiden winner at Saratoga and then ran second in the Grade 3 Futurity behind next-out Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint winner Four Wheel Drive. In that race, he outfinished several rivals that also show up here, and it’s logical to think he may still be improving heading into his third career start.
Freewheeler is the morning line favorite, but he’s a square 7/2 on the morning line. I think anything 5/2 and up is a fair price, and that the faster they go early, the better his chances will be. He’s my top selection, and everything I do will be built around him.
The Outside Closers
I’m rooting for a full-on pace meltdown, and if we get one, I could collect a nice chunk of change. I’ll be using the three outside horses in exotics for the same reason: While their post positions are less than ideal, I think these horses could get favorable setups and rally for a large piece of it.
#11 MYSTIC LANCELOT figures to be the most-bet horse of the trio. He won at first asking at Saratoga, but may have found a mile too long for his liking next time out at Woodbine. His fourth-place finish in the Indian Summer at Keeneland wasn’t bad, and this field seems a bit weaker than that one.
In addition, I’ll also throw in #10 FLY FLY AWAY and #12 PRINCE OF THIEVES. Both of these runners struggled going two turns but have won going shorter in turf sprints that have set up for closers. Such a scenario presents itself here, so at their likely prices (both are double-digits on the morning line), I need to use them.
How I’ll Play It
I’ll lean heavily on Freewheeler, but I’m also going to box all closers in separate exactas as well. If I’m right about the pace situation, I want to get paid, and I think I could make a nice profit with my strategy.
2 units: Exacta key box, 5 w/10,11,12
1 unit: Exacta box, 5,10,11,12
2 units: Win, 5 (if 5/2 or higher)