02/15/2012 12:08PM

How to bet Aqueduct's Friday Pick 4 - Feb. 17, 2012

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Here's my race-by-race rundown of Friday's pick four at Aqueduct on Feb. 17, 2012. I'm building my wager with TicketMaker, found exclusively on DRF.com.

Race 6 ($30,000 maiden claiming race) 

PEGASUS PAPOU (#7) has gone 0-for-23 to start his career, but has managed to put up a Beyer of 50 or higher in three of last five two-turn races, and that is rarefied air in this field. Biggest threat likely to come from WINLOC’S JOHN LEE (#5); second-best as the favorite last out when dropped into a claimer for the first time, he's been a better turf horse thus far. While one of the two above may not be able to help themselves but to get the maiden breaker here, I’ll backup with TRAININGFORSUCCESS (#6), who wheels back seven days after no impact sprint debut with a stretch out in distance, and he is a half-brother to Shuffling Maddnes, a multiple N.Y.-bred stakes winner going long on dirt.

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Race 7 ($30,000 claiming race)

CALL THE BALL (#2) enters here in solid form (something which cannot be said for the majority of his competition) and looms the clear horse to beat despite claim away from Rudy – new barn has gone 10-for-29 (34 percent) first off the claim over past five years. Biggest question is how much pressure he faces from likes of Power King (stretching out beyond 6.5f for first time), Troponin (caught up contesting fast paces going long prior to the turn-back and claim, and now stretches out again), and perhaps SASTRE (#8). The latter takes steep drop in class and has never won a race that was scheduled for dirt, but went 3-for-5 in 2011 when his intended turf starts were moved to the main track, and put up some figures that would make him a handful in here.

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Race 8 ($51,000 optional claiming race)

MCCARREN PARK disappointed in Xtra Heat Stakes last out, but overall that race keeps looking better in light of recent results. She is also the only entrant to have cleared 70 on the Beyer scale, and she’s done that twice. She may win, but still question how good she is and how much of an edge she holds on this field, especially at a short price. Since I’m against the favorite, each of the three horses I’m using against her will be “A’s” on the ticket. DOWNHILL JOEY (#1) has looked good winning both starts since the layoff, and has a chance to clear off once again and take this field all the way. Also using WORLD PREMIER (#3) and EXPRESSION (#4), as both finished gamely in Jan. 26 race wired by Union Victory and both have a right to improve further.

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Race 9 ($30,000 maiden claiming race)

SGT. SILKY (#8) was an announced gelding when returned from layoff in December, but couldn’t make the front in either sprint start. Should be on the lead here as he stretches out for the first time.  EMBUR’S MADURO (#9) is a new face, and is interesting for that reason alone, but he also ran well while fighting it out all the way two back at Mountaineer. They are the “A’s.” EL DREAMER (#1), SANDICAN (#3), and RAFFIE’S CHOICE (#5) would all be logical horses to use somewhere, though I wouldn’t be thrilled to have to play any of them straight-up.

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My wagers

With TicketMaker I'm able to put greater emphasis on my "A" selections while still having coverage with my "B" and "C" picks just in case. This allows me to maximize my budget for this pick four.

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