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Juvenile expert Andrew Champagne picks the eighth race at Aqueduct

Monday is Veterans Day, and with it comes an ample amount of racing to a weekday that doesn’t usually see much of it. Aqueduct boasts a 10-race holiday program, and the eighth is a rarity: A two-turn maiden race on dirt that has drawn a large field.

A group of 10 juveniles will go nine furlongs here, and I think this is an excellent betting race. This is due in large part to the fact that my top selection is a juicy 12-1 on the morning line. Let’s dive in!

The Live Longshot

The first thing that jumps out at me in this race is the lack of early speed signed on. Many of these runners seem to be closers, which could set things up for a front-running type to lead them a long way.

It’s in that spirit that I’ve made #8 MO AND GO my top pick. He went a similar route of ground two back at Saratoga, where he pressed the pace and was beaten less than a length. His last-out effort at Belmont wasn’t great, but they went pretty quickly up front and he likely ran out of gas.

Mo and Go should be able to get comfortable on the lead, and I think he’ll be tough to run down. A repeat of that two-back effort could absolutely be good enough to win this, and for that reason, I think 12-1 is a colossal overlay. I’ll have a win bet on him at 8-1 or higher, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he drifts a few points lower than that.

 The “Other” Chad Brown

One angle I always find interesting is when a trainer enters one of the favorites but also has another horse in the same spot. I’ve found that’s often a negative sign for the horse that figures to take more money, and the reasoning is logical enough: If this horse is so good, why is its stablemate running against it?

#3 VINTAGE PRINT is the 7/2 second choice on the morning line, and I’m betting against him. He didn’t show much in his debut, and despite his flashy pedigree, I think he’ll be an underlay in this spot.

The Chad Brown trainee I prefer is #7 COUNTRY GRAMMER, who was a close-up fourth in his debut on turf. He’s by Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist, so this distance shouldn’t be a problem, and he’s more than double the price of his stablemate despite a steady work tab that seems solid enough. Of the two Brown runners, this is the one I want on my tickets.

The Two Tapits

Two horses I’ll use underneath are by the same world-class sire. #4 PORTOS debuted by running third in the same Saratoga race where my top pick ran second, and he may very well be the most talented runner in the field. However, he’s a deep closer, and I just don’t think there’s enough early speed signed on. Meanwhile, #5 TAPAGE tries two turns for the first time and is bred to love it. He made a big middle move last time and gets Joel Rosario, but further improvement may be required in order to win this.

How I’ll Play It:

I’ll keep this simple and use my two biggest prices on top in exactas. Additionally, I’ll have win money in on Mo and Go if he’s 8-1 or higher.

2 units: Exacta, 7,8 w/4,5,7,8

2 units: Win, 8 (if 8-1 or higher)

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By Andrew Champagne

Article Author

Horse Racing

Andrew Champagne is a horse racing handicapper with a specialism in juveniles. One thing is for certain, Champagne gets the party started.


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