Champagne Picks 12/15: Aqueduct
It’s not every day that you see a $500,000 race for state-breds, but that’s what we have in Sunday’s eighth race at Aqueduct. It’s a division of the New York Stallion Series for 2-year-old fillies going seven furlongs, and as you may expect, the gigantic purse for the level has attracted a big field.
11 juvenile fillies will line up for Sunday’s main event, and the field includes a runner that will likely be a pretty heavy favorite. However, I’m landing elsewhere and hoping that one misfires. Let’s get to it!
The Beatable Favorite
Let’s get one thing straight: If #1 BIG Q runs back to her effort in the Key Cents last month, the race is for second. She took a huge step forward in winning by five lengths, and the 85 Beyer Speed Figure she earned represents a 29-point jump over her previous career top.
If she repeats that performance, she wins…but what’s saying she will? That was a big race off of a freshening, and she’s drawn the rail in this spot. I think there’s a big chance she bounces in this race, and I can’t use her in any way except defensively.
The Top Pick
#11 HOLMDEL PARK is 20-1 on the morning line, and I think there’s plenty to like here. She rallied for fourth in her debut after breaking last, and she put it all together at second asking when edging a next-out winner (who in turn beat the third-place finisher by more than six lengths).
Going from the maiden ranks to this spot is a big step up, but she attracts Kendrick Carmouche and should benefit from the outside draw. She’s worked well since her last-out victory, and her versatility is a big plus. I’m hoping she runs a big race at a big price.
Ones to Use Underneath
#7 TIME LIMIT seems like the main speed in here. She’s a bit inconsistent, but when she’s on her game, she’s capable of running a race that could win this. Her races two and four back were both solid, while her last-out and three-back efforts were clunkers. The question is, which Time Limit shows up here?
Meanwhile, #8 OFFICER HUTCHY won on debut and is another taking a big step up in class. She ran for a tag in her unveiling but showed some talent when rallying from off the pace to get the job done. She may be a bit pace-dependent, but there is some speed signed on and the Linda Rice barn always merits respect.
How I’ll Play It
I’m going to key Holmdel Park in exactas with the other three horses I’ve mentioned, and I’ll also have win money on her as well. I think the 20-1 morning line price is way too big, and that there’s a legitimate chance Big Q comes back to Earth off of her big performance last time out.
2 units: Exacta key box, 11 w/1,7,8
2 units: Win, 11