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Saturday's free horse racing picks from handicapper Andrew Champagne comes to us from the late Pick Four sequence at Aqueduct.

Saturday Free Horse Racing Picks: Late Pick Four Sequence at Aqueduct

Saturday’s card at Aqueduct is a fun one, and the late Pick Four sequence has four races with large fields and very few heavy favorites. I’ll be attacking it with a $40 ticket, and here’s how I’ve put it together.


We’ll start things off with a real handicapping puzzle, as a full field of 2-year-old maidens will go seven furlongs. I’m going four-deep, and while I probably have the favorite on my ticket, I’d be hard-pressed to tell you which runner will earn that designation.

#3 MATT DOYLE is my tepid top pick. He adds blinkers after a good second last month at Belmont, a race where he showed an improved amount of early zip. That was a shock considering his first start at Saratoga, where he broke last and had to rally. A further improvement would give this one a big shot.

I’ll also use #1 NEVER CHANGE/#1A OUTPERFORM, #2 ICONIC ADVENTURE, and #10 SKY AND SAND. Outperform is an also-eligible, but if he draws in, I think there’s reason to believe he’ll run a big race. He’s been working very well for Todd Pletcher and is bred to be a good one.


We’ll head to the turf for this sprint, and it’s another race where I need to go deep. A horse I’m not using, however, is morning line favorite #10 COLTON’S COMMAND. He’s winless in his last six starts, and it’s not like he hasn’t had plenty of chances. At or near his 3-1 price, I’ll try to beat him.

I much prefer second choice #2 KAWHI ME A RIVER, who rallied to finish a close-up fourth in a stakes race last month after breaking his maiden two back. He’s shown an explosive turn of foot in his turf outings, and while this is a solid group for the level, there certainly seems to be enough pace signed on to set up for his preferred running style.

#6 CALL ME HARRY, #7 SCUTTLEBUZZ, #8 RING OF FIRE, and #9 BUSTIN SHOUT are all on my ticket as well. I’m trying to beat the likely favorite, and if I can do that, the payoff potential of this sequence goes up considerably.


I start narrowing things down a bit in the Saturday feature. This is the Grade 2 Red Smith for older turf marathoners, and it’s one of my favorite races of the annual Aqueduct stakes schedule. The morning line favorite makes some sense, but there’s one other runner that hits me as a must-use at his likely price.

#4 SERVE THE KING woke up when shipped to New York this summer. He won the John’s Call at Saratoga before running a good second in the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Belmont. He certainly seems to be coming to hand for trainer Chad Brown, and a repeat of either of those aforementioned efforts would make him a top contender.

#1 TIDE OF THE SEA, though, merits consideration at a very nice price. He wants to go early, and he’s shown he’s dangerous when he gets that kind of trip. This isn’t a bad field, but there isn’t much other early zip in here, and Luis Saez gets the call for Mike Maker. I think he’ll lead them as far as he can, and if he gets comfortable, he could get brave at big odds.

RACE #10

The Saturday finale is for state-bred 2-year-old maidens, and it’s drawn 10 of them. We’ll likely see the shortest-priced favorite of the sequence here, and once again, the chalk makes sense, but doesn’t necessarily hit me as a no-brainer single.

#1 CATCHING CUPID ran well when seconds in his debut for a barn that doesn’t often have first-time starters fully cranked. He rated a bit and passed several horses at the top of the stretch, which was good to see, and his 70 Beyer Speed Figure makes for a good starting point. The rail draw isn’t ideal, but there’s every chance the 8/5 morning line favorite is just plain better than this bunch.

I’ll also, however, use the runner on the far outside. That’s #10 THRILL OF IT, whose debut at this level two back wasn’t bad. He then got caught in a speed duel last time out and may have bounced a bit, but he adds blinkers here for a barn that excels with that move. The outside post is a real plus in a field of less-experienced runners, and at a minimum, I think he’ll have a clean trip with every reason to take a step forward.


R7: 1,2,3,10

R8: 2,6,7,8,9

R9: 1,4

R10: 1,10

Article Author

Horse Racing

Andrew Champagne is a horse racing handicapper with a specialism in juveniles. One thing is for certain, Champagne gets the party started.


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