Friday Free Horse Racing Picks: Late Pick Four at Aqueduct

Friday is New Year’s Eve, and at Aqueduct, this means mandatory payouts in all multi-race exotic wagers. This may be most attractive to Pick Six players, but days like this benefit other sequences by osmosis, and I think the late Pick Four is a lot of fun.
Andrew Champagne |
Fri, December 31, 9:10 AM EST | 5 min read
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Friday Free Horse Racing Picks: Late Pick Four at Aqueduct

Friday is New Year’s Eve, and at Aqueduct, this means mandatory payouts in all multi-race exotic wagers. This may be most attractive to Pick Six players, but days like this benefit other sequences by osmosis, and I think the late Pick Four is a lot of fun.

I’ll look to take it down with a $30 play. Here’s a glance at how I’ve assembled my ticket!

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RACE #5

I’ll take my biggest stand right away. The opening leg is a $25,000 claimer for older horses going two turns, and I think the likely favorite will be very difficult to beat.

When #3 BLEWITT gets the lead, he usually doesn’t give it up. That was the case last time out, when the 7-year-old stalwart crushed an overmatched field at this route of ground. Much like his most recent effort, this race doesn’t seem to have much early zip signed on. He loves Aqueduct (four wins and three seconds in eight local starts), and he does his best work going long. I think he’ll get bet down off of his 8/5 morning line price, but I also don’t think he’s worth going against.

RACE #6

The second leg is an optional claimer, and it also features a runner that will likely be a pretty heavy favorite. I’m using that one, but there’s another that I feel merits inclusion at a much bigger price.

#6 UNTREATED’s record looks far better if you draw a line through the Grade 2 Blue Grass. It’s safe to assume something went wrong that day, because we didn’t see this regally-bred son of Nyquist again until November. He cruised home against first-level allowance competition in that spot, and this event represents a logical step up the class ladder. He’ll be the one to beat, and I can’t leave him out.

However, #7 TWO THIRTY FIVE intrigues me at a price. He was claimed three starts ago by Jeffrey Englehart, and he’s responded with a win and a second-place finish in his two subsequent outings. He didn’t beat much last time out at Mahoning Valley, but the Beyer Speed Figure of 85 is a sharp one, and it’s entirely possible he needed that confidence boost after a bit of a drought. His best effort could absolutely win this race, and the 10-1 morning line price hits me as an overlay.

RACE #7

Here’s where I take a stand against a likely favorite. This is the Alex M. Robb for older New York-breds, and while I respect #4 SEA FOAM, I’ll try to beat him. The presence of #7 CHOWDA throws a monkey wrench into the chalk’s game plan, as both runners will likely go early.

I’ll gamble that this scenario sets things up for a closer, and my top pick is #9 TIERGAN. He came into his own in the summer and fall, when he won three in a row (including an off-the-turf stakes race at Belmont). He was thrashed in the Empire Classic, but that race was such a departure from his usual form that I have no problem throwing it out. He was a very good third against open company here last month, and he’s hit the board in eight of 10 local starts. I think there’s plenty to like, and that he’ll be moving in the right direction late.

I’ll also use #3 BROOKLYN STRONG and #6 WILD BANKER. Both runners are closers, and I think Wild Banker’s last race is a throw-out. Seven furlongs just seems too short, and I think he’ll move forward significantly with the added distance and the likely race shape.

RACE #8

Going fairly skinny in the first three legs allows me to spread here. This is a good thing, as I don’t have a clue what to expect in the Friday nightcap. It’s a maiden race for 2-year-old New York-breds, and many of these runners either haven’t shown much or are going from the turf to the dirt.

I’ll use the handicapper’s best friend here and hit the “ALL” button. I wish I could narrow this down, but with all of the variables in play and the room I have in my budget, I’ll just sit back, relax, and hope we get a price home.

THE TICKET

  • R5: 3
  • R6: 6,7
  • R7: 3,6,9
  • R8: ALL
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Andrew Champagne
@AndrewChampagne

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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