Sunday's Racing Picks 12/22: Aqueduct

Racing expert Sweet Lou Monaco's picks for race 9 at Aqueduct
Lou Monaco
Sun, December 22, 9:07 AM EST

The start of Christmas week brings us to the cold weather of New York where today we head to the $100,000 Gravesend Stakes at Aqueduct for 3-year-olds and up over six furlongs on the dirt.
The field of 6 will go to gate for race 9 on the 10-race card with an approximate post time of 3:46 p.m. ET.

#2, Firenze Fire, Jose Lezcano, 2-5

The morning-line favorite, who has had 17 graded stakes starts, has finished in the money in three of his last four, including a first-place finish in his last by 4 ¼ lengths in the Fabulous Strike Stakes at Penn National on Nov. 27. This will be his ninth start this year (2-2-1) and his 23rd career start (8-3-2). Jose Lezcano is in the saddle for trainer Jason Servis, who also has No. 6 Happy Farm in today’s race. His experience and versatility is unmatched in this race. A clear winner. The pick.

#4, Wonderful Light, Jose Vargas, Jr., 5-1

He has finished in the money in all five of his starts this year (2-2-1) and today marks his 14th career start (5-4-3). In his last start, finished runner-up by ¾ of a length to today’s entrant Happy Farm in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap at Aqueduct on Dec. 8. He had back-to-back allowance optional claiming wins in August: Laurel Park (8/2) and Saratoga (8/30). His past performances are nothing to laugh at and I like how he performed in his last. Worth taking a shot at 5-1, but I like the favorite. Runner-up.

#6, Happy Farm, Reylu Gutierrez, 7-2

He certainly has been happy of late as he has finished in the top two spots in five straight, including four straight wins, highlighted by the ¾ of a length win over today’s entrant Wonderful Light in the G3 Fall Highweight Handicap at the Big A on Dec. 8. He actually has finished in the money in nine of his last 10 starts, dating back to a claiming race at Belmont Park on Oct. 13, 2018. Reylu Gutierrez has the mount for trainer Jason Servis, who also enters the heavy favorite No. 2 Firenze Fire. Contender.

#1, T Loves a Fight, Dylan Davis, 12-1

The veteran will be making his 36th career start today (11-5-3) and his 16th this year (5-2-2). He has finished in the money in four of his last five starts including a runner-up finish by 1 ¾ lengths in the New York Stallion Stakes at the Big A on Nov. 24. He has posted five career wins at Aqueduct. In the mix.

PICKS: 2-4-6-1

By Lou Monaco

Lou Monaco
loumonaco
Sweet Lou is a sportswriter with a passion and skill for picking winners on the track. Lou always knows when there's a horse you should be backing, whether it's the favorite or a longshot.
Mar 2020
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