HALLANDALE BEACH, FL. December 2, 2022 – Last weekend it was Churchill Downs in the spotlight as they lowered the curtain on their fall meet. This Saturday, it’s the bright lights of Ozone Park that will command national attention.
And, turf fans, the new lawn at Gulfstream will be showcased in a big way with six grass races scheduled. The weather forecast thus far indicates that those races will go as carded. It’s South Florida, so we shall see.
The Cigar Mile, the final Grade 1 of the New York season, is the day’s highlight.
But, first, this aside on the lack of imagination displayed by the NYRA racing office.
We understand that the Pick 5 has supplanted the Pick 4 in popularity, for obvious reasons, but why not give fans an opportunity to wager on an all-takes Pick 4, as the featured Cigar is preceded by the Demoiselle, Remsen and Go for Wand.
Completing Saturday’s Pick 5 is a starter allowances. Could that race not have been scheduled as the day’s sixth, so that both Pick 5 and All-Stakes Pick 4 bettors could be accommodated? Rocket science this is not. Mini-rant over.
All four stakes does not offer the strongest editions ever carded–their place on the racing calendar being responsible for some of that–but two of the races will serve their intended purpose: Seeing how far these babies can run.
The 1-1/8 mile Demoiselle attracted seven fillies and four are interesting. 1-Foggy Night (5-1) was a game pace-setting runnerup following prolonged pace battle in the one-turn Tempted mile last out. Given today’s dynamics, consider that Paco might shake loose from the pole position. Best upset chance.
6-Gambling Girl (8-1) has the most experience, has won a state-bred stakes, and gets Irad in the boot. 5-Affirmative Lady (10-1) is a maiden but comes into this off graduating sprint distances at which she’s run well for Graham Motion, who knows how to do this.
Of course, late-season juvenile events are usually Todd Shows. Pletcher will saddle deserving favorite Julia Shining (3-5) a most impressive winner on 7-furlong debut at Keeneland.
This baby is a typical, regally bred Stonestreet production, being by Curlin, from A.P. Indy’s daughter Dreaming of Julia, herself a Frizette winner.* An individual with plenty of scope, she is a very exciting prospect. 6-Gambling Girl (8-1), “the other Todd,” has a useful prep for this in state-bred Maid of the Mist.
The Remsen, which last year foreshadowed major three-year-old players Mo Donegal and Zandon (today’s Cigar Mile favorite) attracted seven, but this appears a two-horse affair between 2-Tuskeegee Airmen (8-5) and 4-Arctic Arrogance (2-1). Note that 6-Quick to Accuse (6-1) was a game runnerup to ‘Arrogance’ in a strongly run final quarter-mile
John Servis’ high-flying colt is 2-for-2, including the two-turn Rocky Run mile at Delaware Park. He broke maiden on debut at Parx, and has all the pedigree needed for today’s extended trip. Paco Lopez had to do an awful lot of motivating to find ‘Tuskegee’s’ best stride. Distance helps; blinkers needed?
Arctic Arrogance is a Chet & Mary Broman homebred sporting a (3) 2-1-0 slate, including a comprehensive win in the state-bred Sleepy Hollow. From an Uncle Mo mare and coming up to his two-turn debut the right way, he will take some beating. 6-Quick to Accuse (6-1), runnerup to ‘Arctic, is forward-looking and pedigree says probably to added distance, but bottom side would love it wet.
This could get interesting as the crowd might make the wrong favorite here. Just loved the way he handled pressure and drew off in midstretch following a late lead change.
On paper, the Go for Wand for fillies and mares 3 & up going a flat mile, is the best betting race of the four. It has drawn a field of 11 and is a wide open affair.
On first pass, we left six of the 11 open, but early favorites, 3-Battle Bling (3-1) and 10-Bank Sting (4-1) loom the most-probable ticket toppers. Battle Bling has really come to hand in the fall of her four-year-old season, riding a three-race win streak into this. And she likes Queens, too: (5) 2-3-0.
Five-year-old Bank Sting, meanwhile, is the most prolific, given a lifetime slate of (13) 8-2-0 and is 6-for-8, including a placing, on this oval. An outside post augurs well, as does the presence of regular pilot Joel Rosario.
1-Love in the Air (10-1) has improved dramatically this fall, is 1-for-1 at the trip and in the wet; pole and Paco. 7-Dr. B (4-1) is unknown at the trip but Reid is 27% first-time long and gets Irad’s timing and strength. 8-Betsy Blue (6-1) has been nurtured as Linda Rice outstanding 31% routing off two straight sprints. After replays, race didn’t get any easier.
The Cigar Mile features seven runners of which three; the forementioned favorite, 2-Zandon (1-1), 7-Mind Control (5-2), and 3-White Abarrio (9-2), are the major players.
The favorite, runnerup to three-year-old Eclipse finalist Taiba in the PA Derby last time out, shows eight regularly-scheduled works since that SEP 24 outing. He will be making a strong late bid beneath Rosario.
Older Mind Control will spot him a couple of pounds, but loves it here, (7) 4-2-1 at the Big A and also is a top miler, as his (5) 4-1-0 confirms. The outside going a flat mile here with Johnny is never a bad thing, especially now with speedy O Besos sitting this out. Odds of 5-2 would be more than fair but is highly unlikely ante post.
While White Abarrio, switching to Irad, has underachieved since the G1 Florida Derby, his best go in our view came at Gulfstream in an optional-allowances under today’s conditions at 2. Since his wrong-tactics front-run in the PA Derby, it’s been nothing but bullet drills since.
AQUEDUCT RACE TRACK
G2 DEMOISELLE Race 6
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Julia Shining
EARLY LINE VALUE: Affirmative Lady
EXOTICA and STRAIGHT WAGERS: Exacta Wheel 3 // 1.5.6. Exacta Wheel: 3 // 1.5. Trifecta Key 3 // 1.5.6. Straight: Julia Shining will be a single on most horizontal wagers, but win highly likely too prohibitive.
G2 REMSEN STAKES Race 7
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Arctic Arrogance
EARLY LINE VALUE: Quick to Accuse
EXOTICA and STRAIGHT WAGERS: Exacta Box: 2-4-6. Trifecta Key-Box 4 first and second with 2.6. Arctic Arrogance to win at 2-1 or greater.
G3 GO FOR WAND Race 8
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Bank Sting
EARLY LINE VALUE: Love in the Air
EXOTICA and STRAIGHT WAGERS: Trifecta key-box 10 // 184.108.40.206 // 220.127.116.11. Bank Sting to win at 3-1 or greater. Saver Wager: Love in the Air to win at 8-1 or greater.
G1 CIGAR MILE Race 9
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Zandon
EARLY LINE VALUE: Mind Control
EXOTICA and STRAIGHT WAGERS: Exacta Box 2-7. Exacta Wheel 2.7 // 1 [Double Crown 15-1].2.7. Trifecta Key 7 // 1.2.3. Mind Control to win at 2-1 or greater.
As always, exotic wagers are at minimums available, straight wagers are in $2 units or greater
this live column will be updated throughout the weekend
* correction made 1202, 7:05 am