11/17/2007 1:51PM

Saturday Stakes

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Utopia
--I'm leaning against jumping into Saturday's Aqueduct pick-six pool. Three of the six races in the sequence are loaded with firsters, and the one-day carryover of $25k is not exactly a siren song. If I did get involved, though, I'd end up leaning pretty heavily on Utopia in the featured Stuyvesant Handicap.
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3:44 pm EST: Aqueduct race 8, G3 $100k Stuyvesant Handicap, 3+, 1 1/8m
Whether it's a G3 stakes or a claiming race, New York handicappers have learned to be very skeptical of horses whose major credentials are big-figure wins against small fields at Delaware Park. For whatever reason, these horses rarely replicate those performances elsewhere. Barcola(5-2 ML favorite) and Pretty Smart (4-1) fit that bill, making Utopia an attractive play. Delaware aside, Utopia has a huge class edge on those two, having won graded stakes in Japan and Dubai as well as beating Political Force and Sun King over this track in the Westchester. The negatives on Utopia are that he hasn't won at over a mile in more than four years and that he comes off a poor effort after a bad start in the Meadowlands Cup, but at 2-1 or better he's worth the risk. Barcola obviously poses a threat to wire the field if he gets loose early but the pricier horse I'll try to get into the number is Who What Win(12-1), who fires an occasional big one.

--The afternoon's two other graded stakes are G3's at Churchill Downs and Golden Gate.

4:37 pm EST: Churchill race 9, G3 $150k Cardinal H., 3+F, 1 1/8m-Turf
It's tough to look beyond the two heavy favorites in this field of 10. Argentina(ML 2-1) is dropping out of five straight G1 appearances against world-class competition, but is tough to back at any price given her 0-for-9 American record. Criminologist (8-5) has never faced a filly of Argentina's caliber, but is in career form and comes off two good-figure victories in New York. Jade Queen (3-1) looks like the lone speed and would be dangerous if she ever ran back to her '06 Flower Bowl, but has been getting caught late against lesser. You could make some kind of a case for the 12-1 shots Nottawasaga (second off a layoff) and Bicoastal (back class in Europe) for minor awards, but a chalky outcome seems likely.

7:22 pm EST: Golden Gate race 8, G3 $150k All America H., 3+, 1 1/8m-Tapeta
The new Tapeta surface is the wild card in this competitive field of nine that includes millionaires Buzzards Bay (9-5) and McCann's Mojave(4-1). At those prices I'd take my chances with the latter, who has been training up a storm at Golden Gate and makes his second start off a summer freshening and a good tightener in the Morvich.

Clinton More than 1 year ago
Congrats Diceman on your score. I made a better case for Prince of Peace who I've caught a few times in the past before I'd find PC. His form was just so dismal and yes he'd run against better but I still shake my head. Guess that's why the game so great. One man's throwout is another man's salvation.
Lane Eustace More than 1 year ago
If only I could read your blog eevry time before I go out on a notion and blow funds "better used". Great call on McCann's Mojave and thanks for "Exotic Betting". It has changed my life and given me the opportunity to go to the track twice a week rather than the once a week that my wife was previously "suggesting" after moving out here two years and falling in love with the sport. As well, I have hit several pick fours two times and three times on tickets amounting to less than $7o which have more than covered a few days of my wagering being in So. Cal. I also had the derby trifect 3X this year because of your book. Just read "May The Horse be With You" and "Best and Worst.." It seems you have a fan at every turn. Great blog on Bloomberg. Sorry for the lack of brevity, but you made it possible for me with my funds to play the game I love so much.
Diceman More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve and Clinton, Admitedly, the 7th at Aqu for NY Breds was tough to handle. However, did you notice that Platinum Couple (Storm Cat) ran in the Wood, Preakness and the Belmont (Grade Ones) in 2006. Obviously, he was a huge drop down and caught my eye and the 6 to 1 odds were appealing. I made what I like to call an "action bet." I needed some action, liked my figures, and got lucky. I made a $2 Exacta bet on 2-6-9, cost $12, and got back $363. The smile on my face, as I walked to my car in the parking lot, expressed my true feelings. I love this game! Steve, thanks again for your excellent blog! You, and your racing fans, make my day!
flair114 More than 1 year ago
Steve---nice call on McCann's Mojave!
Clinton More than 1 year ago
Was absolutely dumbfounded by one result today at the Big A. Where did that race come from Platinum Couple? And how does he go off at only 6-1? The grand slam payoff though an aberration was quite the play today.Now with the 2 day carryover, which races do you find to be the most challenging on Sunday's Card?