All-Stakes Pick 4 Analysis for Gotham Day at Aqueduct Racetrack
Saturday offers horseplayers a strong ten-race card at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York headlined by the $300,000 Grade 3 Gotham.
The one-mile event for three-year-olds is carded as the final race and concludes an all-stakes Pick 4 sequence that commences with the $150,000 Stymie Stakes in Race 7.
Here are my thoughts on the four-races and how I will attack the sequence:
The first of three races in the late Pick 4 conducted over Aqueduct’s one-turn mile configuration gets things started.
I lack a strong opinion in the first stakes event of the afternoon, so I will include several to kick things off.
#6 Vulcan’s Forge is a deserving 5-2-morning line favorite off of a win and a second in his two most recent starts, but he is dependent on a hot pace to be at his best. He may not get that in the Stymie.
#2 Harlan’s Punch brings a two-race win streak into Saturday, but will need to avoid an obvious regression spot off a 6-day turn around.
The Stymie could be ripe for an upset.
The Heavenly Prize Invitational is up next.
The $150,000 event for fillies and mares is the second of three races run at eight furlongs and drew a field of eight led by 2-1-morning line choice #1 Divine Miss Grey.
The four-year-old filly has won 7 of 14 career starts, including two straight dating back to December 10th for trainer Danny Gargan, The daughter of Divine Park was overmatched last August in her lone try versus graded stakes company, but comes into the Heavenly Prize off of two triple-digit BRIS speed ratings.
Divine Miss Grey merits major respect in this spot, but she is likely going to have to work in the early stages making her more vulnerable than she has been of late. I will play against her in this one and hope that #2 Bishop’s Pond and #5 Frost Wise keep her busy early and set things up for either #3 Highway Star or #6 Boule.
Highway Star makes her first start of 2018 after winning 3 of 8 and earning $640K last year. If she is ready to fire fresh she should be very tough to beat on a surface she has thrived over in four lifetime tries.
Boule failed to mount a serious challenge last time out versus Divine Miss Grey, but the extra furlong and a more favorable race shape could work in the Juddmonte Farms’ filly’s favor in the Heavenly Prize.
The Grade 3 Tom Fool drew an extremely competitive group of veteran sprinters led by #3 Great Stuff.
The six-year-old cuts back a furlong after taking advantage of a contentious early pace in the Grade 3 Toboggan in late January. If jockey Dylan Davis is able to work out a similar voyage this son of Quality Road will be tough to beat, but that remains a big “if.”
I will use the David Jacobson trainee, but also include several others that provide greater value in hopes we can get a price home before the featured Gotham Stakes.
The Gotham concludes the challenging four-race sequence at “The Big A” and offers 50 qualifying points on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” to the victor.
#5 Firenze Fire is not a top contender for Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May due to probable distance limitations, but with a win in Saturday’s feature he will be atop the leaderboard with less than two months until the 2018 “Run for the Roses.”
The Mr Amore Stable colt enters Saturday having won 4 of 7 career races, including a perfect 2 for 3 record in stakes events conducted at eight furlongs. The son of Poseidon’s Warrior may not be built to get the mile and a quarter in Louisville, but he appears perfectly suited for Aqueduct’s one-turn mile.
The Gotham sets up well for since there appears to be plenty of early speed signed on with #2 Cove Blue, #7 Old Time Revivial, and #8 Nine Route. This should allow jockey Manuel Franco to angle in and save ground early and come with a strong late run when they turn for home.
He may not be in my Kentucky Derby Top 10, but I love Firenze Fire’s chances to get to the wire first in this year’s Gotham. I will single him to end the day.
($1 Pick 4)
Race 7: 2+3+5+6
Race 8: 3+6
Race 9: 3+4+5+6+10
Race 10: 5