Champagne Picks 11/23: Aqueduct
I’m back with a look at Saturday’s sixth race at Aqueduct, which has a number of intriguing subplots. A full field of 2-year-olds will go two turns on the turf, and between the pedigrees, trip angles, and what I feel is a beatable favorite, I think it’s the best betting event on a strong 10-race program. Let’s get right to it!
A Weak Favorite?
#1 TELEPHONE TALKER did very little wrong in his debut. He was second after setting a solid pace going 6 1/2 furlongs at Keeneland, and that day’s third-place finisher has since come back to win. It doesn’t surprise me that he’s the likely chalk, but at his likely price, I think he’s an underlay.
Why? Well, he’s trying both turf and two turns for the first time here, and the field came up pretty salty for the level. Furthermore, if he was a turf horse from the start, wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume he’d have been on the grass from the get-go? Perhaps he’s good enough to win, but if he does, he’ll beat me doing it.
My Top Two
I’ll be focusing most of my action on two runners who ran second and fourth in a similar race on September 21st at Belmont. #9 EAGERLY comes back to the grass and is my top selection. His last race was rained off the turf, and he wanted no part of the slop that day. This is the trip he wants, and I think he breaks through after picking up two minor awards in his prior turf routes.
My other key horse figures to be a price. #4 PLAN OF ATTACK had a horrible trip in his debut, where he steadied twice and was never comfortable. This barn’s horses tend to improve with experience anyway, and considering that he was less than two lengths behind Eagerly (even with all the trouble he had), I need to use him. I think he’ll take a big step forward at a nice price in this spot.
Underneath: Bombs Away
I’m not just trying to beat Telephone Talker in the top spot. I’m hoping he finishes out of the money entirely. If he does, the exotics wagers could pay handsomely, especially if we capitalize on the right price.
I’m going to use #6 TAPALOOF, #7 KINENOS, and #11 ASSIDUOUSLY. Tapaloof is bred to be any kind and should improve with a start under his belt, while Kinenos rallied to be third in his debut (the same race my top two ran in this past September).
Assiduously is a first-time starter trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Joel Rosario. That alone makes me skeptical about the likely price, but he’s bred to be a very good turf horse and he’s worked steadily since shipping up from Monmouth Park. I’d have liked a more inside post, but he may very well be good enough to grab a check from out here.
How I’ll Play It
I’ll key my top two horses in exactas with the three underneath ones. Additionally, if Plan of Attack is double-digit odds, I need to have a win bet on him. There shouldn’t be a huge disparity in the betting, and if there is, I want to be in a position where I can capitalize on it.
2 units: Exacta, 4,9 with 4,6,7,9,11
2 units: Win, 4 (if 10-1 or higher)
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