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Racing expert Sweet Lou Monaco's picks the Central Park Stakes at Aqueduct

We go back to the Big A again in Ozone Park, New York for the $100,000 Central Park Stakes for 2-year-olds over 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Maybe. The race might be switched to the dirt due to the snowfall, ice and rain that fell earlier in the week in the metropolitan area.

The field of 10 will go to gate for race 9 on the 10-race card with an approximate post time of 3:45 p.m. ET.

#2, City Man, Joel Rosario, 9-2

This will be City Man’s fifth career start (2-0-1), all coming on the dirt, so we hope the surface switch is made. He enters this race off a disappointing fourth-place finish as the favorite in the Sleepy Hollow Stakes at Belmont Park on October 19. He won the first two races of his career, breaking his maiden in an off-the-turf maiden special weight race at on July 18 at Saratoga Race Course and followed that up with a 4 ¾ length win over Clean Jones in the $200,000 Funny Cide Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 23, followed by a close third-place finish in the Bertram Bongard Stakes at Belmont Park on September 20. Let’s hope the switch is made to dirt. The pick.

#4, Old Chestnut, John Velazquez, 6-1

Looking to regain her form from the late summer where she won two straight at Woodbine, highlighted by a 3 ¾ length win in the Ontario racing Stakes at Woodbine on Sept. 15. He finished fifth in the Atlantic Beach Stakes at Aqueduct on Nov. 9 in his last and prior to that a disappointing sixth in the Indian Summer Stakes at Keeneland at Oct. 6. I think he bounces back with John Velazquez aboard for trainer Mark Casse. Worth a shot at a price. Runner-up.

#10, Pixelate, Jose Lezcano, 8-5

Pixelate has done nothing wrong this year, finishing in the money in all four starts (1-2-1), including a runner-up finish in the Awad Stakes at Belmont Park on Oct. 26 in his last start. First three races where at Arlington Park, prior to Belmont. I think he needed that one in New York, before today’s race at the Big A. He will be ready with Jose Lezcano in the saddle for trainer Michael Stidham. Runner-up.

#3, Homeland, Junior Alvarado, 5-2

A good debut for Homeland, taking home a maiden special weight race by ¾ of a length at Belmont Park on Oct. 26. Junior Alvarado returns to the mount for the second straight start for trainer Bill Mott. Let’s see if he can do it again and not bounce. In the mix.

PICKS: 2-4-10-3

By Lou Monaco


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