The last Monday of the year keeps us at Aqueduct in New York for an $82,000 allowance race for 3-years-old and up New York state-breds over six furlongs on the dirt.
Rain is in the forecast so handicap accordingly.
The field of 8 will go to gate for race 7 on the 8-race card with an approximate post time of 3:28 p.m. ET.
#4, Eye Luv Lulu, Jose Lezcano, 7-2
This crafty veteran will be making a remarkable 55th career start (11-13-8), but just his seventh this year (1-2-2). In his last, he finished second in the Hudson Handicap at Belmont Park on Oct. 19 and is looking for his first win since an allowance optional claiming race on Jan. 5 here. The 8-year-old gelding will have Jose Lezcano in the saddle for trainer Jason Servis. A key to the weather forecast today - he has posted eight of his 11 career wins over a wet track. Six of his wins have come at The Big A. The pick.
#1, Honor Up, Manuel Franco, 9-5
The morning-line favorite has finished in the money in six of his last seven starts (4-1-1) and won three straight at Aqueduct (12/15/18, 1/12 and 2/17). Two starts back, he finished third in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap here on April 6, only his second graded stakes start. Leaving from the rail, Manuel Franco is on the mount for trainer Michelle Nevin. He also likes a wet track, so again keep an eye on the forecast. Runner-up.
#5, Dugout, Eric Cancel, 5-1
Dugout has finished in the top two in all five of his starts this year (3-2-0) and today will be his 10th career start (6-2-0). His last eight races of come at eight different tracks (Mahoning Valley, Hawthorne, Churchill Downs, Monmouth Park, Arlington, Belmont Park, Finger Lakes and Saratoga), so adding the Big A to the list just adds to his versatility. He has won his last two starts in the Steel Valley Sprint Stakes at Mahoning Valley on Nov. 25 and an allowance optional claiming race at Hawthorne on Nov. 2. Willing to race anywhere and backs it up with results. Eric Cancel is in the saddle for trainer Larry Rivelli. Contender.
#3, Celtic Chaos, Dylan Davis, 5-1
He bounced back nicely after a disappointing eighth-place finish in the Hudson Handicap at Belmont Park on Oct. 19 to finish second in an allowance optional claiming race at Laurel Park on Nov. 23. Prior to those two races, he won the John Morrissey Stakes at Saratoga (8/4) and another allowance optional claiming race at Belmont Park (5/31). Dylan Davis has the ride today for trainer Brad Cox. Could cause chaos at a nice price. In the mix.
By Lou Monaco