NY HOT LIST METHODOLOGY EXPLAINED HERE IN THE ORIGINAL BLOG POST 6/30/11 & SCROLL DOWN FOR THE REST OF THE POSTS BEGINNING WITH THE MOST RECENT:
Welcome to the dawn of a new era here at InterBets.com and Catskill Off-Track Betting.
I’m Bob Ehalt and for more than 40 years I’ve been involved with New York racing as a turf writer, handicapper, owner and avid fan. You might know me from my recent work for ntra.com, Thoroughbred Times or ESPN New York.com. But today I’m delighted to introduce a new and innovative daily handicapping feature that will be available free of charge to InterBets and Catskill OTB customers beginning on Saturday.
It’s called the New York Hot List and it’s your ticket to a wealth of valuable handicapping information – including a novel monitoring of late betting swings – as well as a daily supply of selections and horses to watch at New York Racing Association tracks.
My goal in creating the New York Hot List was to provide a multi-faceted handicapping tool and I’m confident both novice and experienced players will find much to like about it.
The NY Hot List starts with a daily review of NYRA races in which we pick out the runners most likely to turn in a strong effort in their next start and categorize them into four different lists of horses to watch. Then on each day of racing at either Belmont, Saratoga or Aqueduct we’ll provide a listing of our horses running that day as well as some insights on how to play them and who to use them with in the exotics.
The lists are lettered A, B, C and D and it’s as simple as a-b-c to follow them.
The A List is our preferred list of horses to watch based on trips, pace, track bias and final time. The B List is our secondary group of horses culled from the same criteria.
The C and D Lists make the NY Hot List unique as they provide a first-of-its-kind breakdown of late betting swings. Horses whose odds drop by two or more notches in the final 5 minutes of wagering (i.e. 5-2 to 9-5) and finish first through third are placed on the C List. The D list is for horses whose odds drop and finish fourth or worse.
Aside from just listing the horses, the daily reviews feature a brief write-up on each horse so that you can make your own judgments and build a stable of horses watch based on what you read in our analysis.
Best of all, as an InterBets/Catskill OTB customer you will have free and exclusive access to all of this content – which is quite a deal at a time when fast food joints charge you $1.29 for items on the dollar menu. The daily reviews, which generally take a couple of days to prepare, will be sent via email if you send us an e-mail request to “> . As for the selections and list of horses running back, they will be available each NYRA racing day at interbets.com – just click the handicappers banner.
Once you check out the daily reviews and selections, you’ll see how beneficial they can be. If you’re simply looking for a few live horses to bet on, the NY Hot List will give you plenty of options. If you’re a savvy pro looking for some extra tidbits of information to help find one more horse for your triple box or Pick Six ticket, the NY Hot List could be your answer.
So make sure you visit again Saturday for the first set of selections and horses to watch and then return Sunday and each racing day after that for the extra edge you’ll get on a daily basis from the NY Hot List.
Looking ahead, in the coming weeks we’ll add features like cumulative lettered lists for the past three months and late wagering statistics for each trainer so that you’ll know what to do when you notice that a horse’s odds are starting to sink.
One quick hint: when a horse trained by Richard Violette, Carlos Martin or Kiaran McLaughlin take a late plunge on the tote board, pay attention – pay close attention.
In addition, each Friday in this spot, either yours truly or my partner in this venture, Shawn Rychling, an experienced NYRA observer and handicapper for more than 20 years, will post a blog on the key weekend races and offer our early thoughts on some of the NY Hot List horses running that weekend.
If I’ve done my job and piqued your interest in the NY Hot List, you can contact “> to make sure you get the NY Hot List daily reviews emailed to you on a regular basis.
You can also contact me at email@example.com with any questions you might have about the NY Hot List.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you and enjoying a great ride with you, thanks to InterBets.com and Catskill OTB.
Bob Ehalt, an award-winning turf writer and handicapper based in Connecticut, is the co-founder of the New York Hot List. His blog at ntra.com received the 2009 Breeders’ Cup award for Outstanding Social Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BELOW ARE THE BLOG POSTS BEGINNING WITH THE MOST RECENT:
By Shawn Rychling
Two weeks after the Kentucky Derby the horse racing world turns its collective attention to Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore and the 138th running of the Preakness Stakes.
Since 1978 – when Affirmed was the last horse to win the Triple Crown – 12 horses have won both the Derby and the Preakness. Eleven of them came up short in the Belmont Stakes, and I’ll Have Another was scratched last year before getting the chance to run.
Orb will try to become the lucky 13th horse to win the first two legs and then go on to Belmont Park in three weeks to try and snap the 35-year drought of Triple Crown winners.
In recent years the Preakness has served to validate suspect Derby winners (Charismatic, Funny Cide, Smarty Jones) or vindicate Derby favorites that faltered in Louisville (Point Given, Curlin).
This year’s race is shaping up as a coronation of Orb’s Triple Crown chops as the 2-3-4 finishers from the Derby have decided to skip the Preakness and wait for the Belmont or beyond.
That leaves Orb as the even-money favorite on the morning line and with the way trainer Shug McGaughey has raved about him this week, Orb is likely to be an even shorter price by the time the gate opens Saturday evening.
Bob Ehalt and I hashed out the official Hot List forecast for the Preakness and there was absolutely no way we could pick against the Derby winner. Here is our selection for the superfecta:
Will Take Charge
Bob and I disagreed slightly as I was willing to bump Itsmyluckyday up to second after he just didn’t handle the slop Churchill Downs. And he is going out third off the layoff and ran a strong second to Orb in the Florida Derby in his first start back off the bench.
I also had Mylute rated a bit lower and was a bit more impressed with the race Oxbow ran in the Derby. He is one of three D. Wayne Lukas trainees in here and is ridden by the comeback kid, Gary Stevens. Oxbow was the only horse near the suicidal Derby pace that was still running at the ¼ pole. He wound up a relatively close 6th and could move up on a dry track.
One other horse to watch is Departing as his trainer, the patient Al Stall, is high on him for this race and beyond. So regardless of what he does Saturday keep an eye on this one for the summer and fall campaigns.
We really believe, however, that this race comes down to Orb and eight others running for second money. Of course, anything can happen in horse racing, but as a fan we are hoping for a comfortable win for Orb and then onward to Belmont for connections that are easy to root for.
Enjoy Preakness Day 2013 and remember Belmont Park has a full card on Saturday and you can get all the New York Hot List picks right here.
By Bob Ehalt
The Great American horse race has come and gone and soon we’ll know if a 35-year wait is at an end.
Orb was a convincing winner of the Kentucky Derby last weekend as a 5-1 favorite and figures to be a dramatically bigger favorite next Saturday in the Preakness when he attempts to move a step closer to the first Triple Crown sweep since 1978.
Given all of the near-misses since Affirmed became the last Triple Crown champion, it’s logical to be skeptical. Yet there are a few things about Orb that separates him from the run-of-the-mill Derby winner.
For starters, Orb’s win generated no shock waves. He’s no Mine That Bird. He entered the starting gate for the Run for the Roses as the best horse in the field, his wins in the Florida Derby and Fountain of Youth convincing the wagering public to send him off as the favorite.
All of which means the Derby was no fluke and that Orb has a license to remain on top of the division through the final two legs of the Triple Crown.
Orb also overcame a wet track and a wide trip to win the Derby, two factors that could have undermined him.
Put it all together and you have a quality horse with a better than average shot at sweeping the Triple Crown.
That’s not to say something can’t go wrong in the next five weeks. Yet at this point it’s clear that Orb is the best 3-year-old and someone will have to do something special to beat him in the Preakness or Belmont.
Turning to this weekend’s races, the Peter Pan at Belmont Park could produce a candidate for the Belmont Stakes. The field of 11 features nine Triple Crown nominees and excellent wagering value.
The ones to watch are Declan’s Warrior, Fear the Kitten and Incognito, a C List choice on the New York Hot List.
Don’t expect to see payoffs to mirror the ones from the 19-horse field in the Kentucky Derby, but the exotics involving those three in the Peter Pan could help inflate your bankroll for the Preakness – when Orb will have yet another date with destiny.
By Shawn Rychling
Well…here we are. We have arrived at the First Saturday in May. And allow me to point out a pet peeve of mine: People who schedule weddings, birthday parties, dance recitals or other events on this day and then claim they forgot to check to see if the Kentucky Derby was being held. Uh…it’s ALWAYS the first Saturday in May so please keep your social calendar empty so I can enjoy the Run for the Roses.
This year marks the 139th renewal of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs and this one feels very different from recent years as it seems to me there is a small group of logical horses and one of them will emerge the winner. I have to say that my view of this race has been murky at best since at least 2008 when Big Brown was a big favorite.
But this year I believe the winner is going to come from a core of four favorites and I’ll list them here in no particular order
Orb: The Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby winner has done everything right winning four straight and is a mid-pack closer which is a style that is perfect for this race and the likely pace scenario.
Normandy Invasion: Another mid-pack closer that by all accounts is peaking this week for Chad Brown as he readies to race third off the layoff. He has had some traffic issues in his last two starts, but showed a good burst of energy to run a strong second in the Wood Memorial. The mile-and-a-quarter shouldn’t be an issue.
Verrazano: Undefeated and seemingly unchallenged as even in a tight Wood he seemed to repel challengers without breaking a sweat. Likes to run on the front end and may find things moving a little faster near the lead in the Derby than in his prep races.
Revolutionary: Found himself far back in his last two races, but showed tremendous turn of foot to rally for the victories. He was also very game in the Louisiana Derby digging in late after he took the lead to hold off any other late runners.
Here at the Hot List, Bob Ehalt and I pretty much agreed on these four as having the best chances to prevail, although Bob was a little less high on Orb while thinking Overanalyze could improve and surprise.
One thing we did agree on was that Verrazano will be harder pressed early on than he is accustomed to and that should soften him up a bit. We also think offspring of More Than Ready are loathe to run 1 ¼ miles.
So we put it all together and came up with the Hot List top four:
Look for Verrazano to be on the lead or stalking with others who like the front end such as Goldencents — a talented horse in his own right.
Orb is likely to move first on the turn as he has in the past, but Normandy Invasion and Revolutionary will wait just a bit longer and have enough energy left to run down Orb in the stretch as Verrazano fades to fourth.
And…the race probably won’t be run anywhere CLOSE to that scenario. But that’s what we’ll go with looking for some value on Normandy Invasion.
Now, eyes can wander in a 20-horse field so we want to point out a few plausible long shots if you are so inclined.
We’ve already mentioned Goldencents and Overanalyze who have picked up some support this week. The key for the former is relaxing on the front. Meanwhile, Overanalyze is one of Pletcher’s Gang of Five and has run faster than his Arkansas Derby so he could surprise.
Vyjack may be the most underrated horse in Louisville. He had won all four of his starts until running third to Verrazano in the Wood. He is versatile and has won on the front end, while stalking and closing from the back of the pack.
Java’s War is maligned for getting off to slow starts and while the Derby traffic trouble is legendary, he has the late speed to at least round out your exotics.
Palace Malice was blocked in the Louisiana Derby and then looked like a winner in the Blue Grass until Java’s War ran him down. If that race had been on dirt he might have won for fun so he could be a sneaky contender here.
Itsmyluckyday is the last horse I will mention and only because rain is in the forecast and he has a 4-length win over as sloppy race track.
So there you have it. Enjoy Derby Day 2013 and remember Belmont Park has a full card on Saturday and you can get all the New York Hot List picks right here.
By Shawn Rychling
Welcome to the sure sign of spring as Belmont Park opens for business with the Spring/Summer meet highlighted of course by the Belmont Stakes on June 8. All of NYRA is hoping for a Triple Crown to be on the line for the first time since 2008 when Big Brown was eased in the stretch to become the 11th horse since Affirmed to win the first Derby and Preakness only to falter in the Belmont.
But before we look ahead, let’s take a look back at a profitable Spring Main Track meet for The New York Hot List at Aqueduct.
We gave out 26 winners from 133 starters during the main track meet for a win percentage of .195 or just under 20 percent.
While we’d like that win percentage to be a little higher, we gave out a number of live longshots as nine of our winners paid double-digits, five paid north of $20, including one at $48, which was Carameaway in the 7th race on April 4 – and another – Call for the Clock – which paid $50.50 to win on April 13.
All together Hot List horses returned $314.80 on 133 $2 win bets for a straight profit of $48.80.
In addition, the Hot List had 70 of 133 horses finish in the money for a percentage of .526 which is important when you consider there are many live horse in that group filling out your exactas and trifectas.
Looking ahead to the Belmont meet that gets underway today, the fields are already fuller and the racing much more diverse than you see at Aqueduct.
A big feature will be the one-turn – or sometimes half-a-turn – turf route races which always seem more competitive than the two turn variety when horses are forced wide early.
And staying on the turf we look forward to the return of the grass sprints which are always exciting cavalry charges where longshots can prevail.
Naturally the talent level of the horses will be higher and continue on an upward trend as the meet continues.
And keep an eye out soon for the first two-year-old action of 2013.
And remember you can get all the New York Hot List picks right here so happy wagering on the Belmont Spring/Summer meet.
By Shawn Rychling
While the thermometer is still struggling to cooperate we have a true sign of Spring upon us, and that’s closing weekend at Aqueduct.
Even though the entire Aqueduct season – two short main-track meets sandwiching the long, inner-track slog – is the longest stretch New York racing spends at one facility, the end of the season almost snuck up on us thanks to a pair of March snowstorms and the stubborn chilly temperatures.
After Sunday, we can close the book on the Big A until about Halloween and enjoy a few days of rest before Belmont Park opens on Friday, April 26.
Looking back we probably saw more legitimate Kentucky Derby hopefuls compete at Aqueduct in many years, including two of the very elite contenders to take the roses on May 4.
Unbeaten Verrazano came to town on April 6 for Todd Pletcher to win the Wood Memorial, which is the featured race of the season and a prime Derby prep. The More Than Ready colt won in a calm, professional manner stalking a slow pace and repelling two late challenges. It was a performance that ran his lifetime record to 4-4-0-0 and put him at the top of many Derby watch lists.
The two horses he defeated also head to Kentucky with at least a chance of finishing well. Normandy Invasion closed strongly into a slow pace and was gaining a bit on Verrazano under the wire in the Wood. The extra distance and likely faster pace of the Derby could work in this colt’s favor.
Finishing third in the Wood was Vyjack, suffering his first defeat in that race after four straight wins. This colt re-invented himself as a deep closer his last two races and he has at least an outside shot to contend at Churchill Downs.
The other top Derby hopeful we saw at Aqueduct was another Pletcher colt – Revolutionary. He electrified the fans in the Feb. 2 Withers rallying from dead last at the top of the stretch to win. He followed that up with a game stretch drive to win the Louisiana Derby and heads to Kentucky as a legitimate contender.
Aside from the Derby stars we saw the usually gritty winter competition at Aqueduct with the inner track aiding the frontrunners more times than not.
The Ortiz brothers – Irad and Jose – topped the inner track jockey standings with 79 and 76 wins apiece.
Sadly, perennial leading rider Ramon Dominguez took a bad spill in January and suffered a head injury that has kept him sidelined ever since.
We’ll also remember the winter for a smart thing NYRA did in cutting the schedule down to four days a week in the dead of winter to help increase field size. It could be a harbinger of changes to come as NYRA re-works itself under a tighter control by the state of New York.
So with a goodbye to Aqueduct we say hello to Belmont on Friday with the start of a 44-day meet which features 26 graded stakes, including eight Grade I races highlighted, of course, by the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 8.
Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another scratched the day before the Belmont last year, so we’ll be hoping to have the first Triple Crown on the line since Big Brown was badly beaten in the 2008 Belmont.
Two races to look forward to before the Belmont are the Peter Pan on May 11, which is the local prep for the Belmont and usually produces a late-blooming 3-year-old or two for the big race. The other big event is the Metropolitan Mile on Memorial Day, and is a race that rarely disappoints.
So enjoy the opening of ‘Big Sandy’ and the entire meet and do allow your thoughts to wander to July 19th which is Opening Day at Saratoga!
By Bob Ehalt
Now that the race at Aqueduct that everyone was looking forward to has come and gone, it’s time to look forward to something considerably different.
In the aftermath of Verrazano’s stirring victory in last Saturday’s Wood Memorial, the end of New York racing’s marathon stay at the Big A is rapidly approaching on the horizon. Only two more weekends remain before the scene makes its eagerly awaited shift to Beautiful Belmont Park and Saturday’s featured Distaff Handicap serves as the final stakes at the meet.
The Grade 2 $200,000 sprint stakes for fillies and mares attracted a field of seven headed by the unbeaten New York State-bred Cluster of Stars.
Though she will be making her first start in graded stakes company, the speedy daughter of Greeley’s Galaxy with a perfect 4-for-4 record is coming off a gate-to-wire allowance win in which set the early pace and then exploded in the stretch to win by a little more than 9 lengths.
Her main competition, especially in the early stages of the race, should come from Florida shipper Spectacular Sky. A runner-up last time out in the Grade 2 Inside Information, Spectacular Sky captured the Manatee at Tampa Bay Downs prior to that.
Beyond them, the Hot List features an interesting longshot in Villanesca. An A Hot List choice off an impressive allowance win last month, the 4-year-old filly is coming off a career-best performance and could benefit from a lively pace duel.
And while we’re on the subject of looking forward, if you’re counting down the days until the May 4 Kentucky Derby, you should check out the weekly Hot List Triple Crown analysis at ESPN.com, sponsored by Interbets.com. It offers selections for this week’s Triple Crown preps and a review of the previous week’s action.
You can visit the page at: http://espn.go.com/horse-racing/blog/_/name/ehalt_bob/id/9160101/hot-list-triple-crown-analysis-blue-grass-arkansas-derby
And on that note, so long for now and looking forward to seeing you at the cashier’s window.
By Shawn Rychling
Welcome to April at Aqueduct and it feels like February this first week of the month, though we may get a break in the weather this weekend with temperatures expected to top the 50-degree mark. It just doesn’t seem to want to warm up, but the opening of the main track has warmed our hearts as we see a much more fair race track on most days compared to the inner strip where running anywhere wide of the 2-path is doom.
Also giving us the Spring Fever is Saturday’s Wood Memorial at Aqueduct as all eyes will be on New York with top Derby contender Verrazano going out for Todd Pletcher in one of the key prep races for the First Saturday in May. Verrazano is a perfect 3-for-3 in his career coming off the business-like, 3-length win in the Tampa Bay Derby at a mile-and-a-sixteenth.
The recent work on Easter Sunday was solid also, but if you want to knock this colt you can say he didn’t beat anybody in Tampa and as he stretches out to 1 1/8 miles that can be a real test for a son of More Than Ready. Verrazano is a chalky 4-5 on the morning line and he may win and go off odds-on in Louisville, but that won’t stop us from looking elsewhere to beat him in the Wood.
Vyjack is also undefeated with all 4 wins coming right here at Aqueduct, the last 2 in graded stakes and the Hot List has him rated an ‘A’ off that closing rally in the Grade III Gotham on March 2. He has won from off the pace and on the front end. In the Gotham, he was still 8th coming off the turn and moved 5-wide on the inner track to win going away. That is not an easy feat and 4-1 is a nice value on this horse.
Another Hot List horse coming out of the Gotham is Elnaawi which we have rated a ‘B’ after running third to Vyjack that day despite a brutal trip when he was wide and rank early and then squeezed late. This one is a son of Derby winner Street Sense and has improved every race which makes it hard to ignore the 12-1 morning line.
We’re going to play a Vyjack-Elnaawi exacta just for fun and see if we can’t cash by throwing out the favorite. We’ll play plenty of trifectas with Verrazano-Vyjack-Elnaawi and may throw Normandy Invasion into the mix as well as his recent works signal a big effort.
So enjoy the Wood Memorial and remember there are three other graded stakes on the Saturday card with Princess of Sylmar highlighting the Gazelle, Maleeh in the Bay Shore and Fort Loudon in the Carter.
Remember you can get all the New York Hot List picks right here so happy wagering.
Just 104 days to go until Opening Day at Saratoga!
By Bob Ehalt
Two o’clock on Saturday afternoon may be a time commonly associated with a claiming or allowance race at Aqueduct, but this weekend it will serve as the time when the racing world’s attention will turn to Dubai.
The $10 million Dubai World Cup is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. Saturday and it will feature three top American hopefuls who will try to bring home the first win for Team USA since Meydan Racecourse switched to a synthetic surface in 2010.
Animal Kingdom, the 2011 Kentucky Derby, heads the red, white and blue runners and should be right at home in a race half-a-world away from the place in Bluegrass Country that made him famous. The Team Valor color bearer won the Spiral Stakes on Polytrack prior to his Derby victory and some strong showings on turf increase the probability of his handling Meydan’s Tapeta main track.
Dullahan has thrived on synthetic surfaces, taking both the Grade 1 Pacific Classic and Blue Grass last year.
The other American is the two-time champion filly Royal Delta, who returns to give Meydan another whirl. A year ago, Royal Delta was no factor in the World Cup, finishing ninth. That doesn’t build much confidence about her chances, but the fact that Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott was willing to give her a second chance indicates there’s at least some reason for hope that she’ll handle the surface in her return trip.
As good as they have been at home, the trio will face a tough task against international competition on the road. Monterosso won last year’s World Cup, but is 20-1 in a star-studded field of 13 topped by 7-2 morning line favorite Hunter’s Light.
The timing may be a little odd, but with a Kentucky Derby winner, a two-time Breeders’ Cup winner and a Dubai World Cup victor in the same starting gate there’s more than 10 million reasons to divert your attention from Saturday’s standard early afternoon array of claimers.
By Shawn Rychling
Well we thought we had turned the corner with the weather in late February and even parts of March as a warming trend melted all the snow. But then we went right back to a cold snap with the white stuff early this week and it has put the opening of the Aqueduct main track on hold.
NYRA originally thought they could get things rolling on March 13, but here we are 10 days later and we’re still on the inner dirt. Seems the entries have been a little light as many outfits await the change of surface.
There is still some decent racing so lets take a look at some highlights from Saturday’s card and remember this is the end of the week for NYRA as state law forbids racing on both Palm Sunday and Easter.
The Hot List has some chalky favorites and a few value plays for Saturday. Let’s start in the 2nd race where Risk Management (rated an A), looks to tower over this field of maidens off his sharp debut. He draws the rail and has been working awfully well for Rick Violette.
In the 3rd Dads Caps (C) and Tenango (B) are both coming off impressive efforts and it could wind up a match race between these two in a 5-horse field.
Now for the value plays, headed by Rein King (B) in the 8th race. This horse loves the inner and is dangerous if he gets the lead. Could be somewhat overlooked in this field so use him top-to-bottom in your exotics.
Meanwhile, Colizeo (C) goes out in the featured Exclesior and his last race on the front end was awfully impressive considering he was forced very wide on the first turn. The race is also interesting by the presence of 2011 Belmont winner Ruler On Ice, while Last Gunfighter looks like the horse to beat off a string of four-straight victories.
One other potential value play is maiden Dizzy Disco Diva (B) in the 5th race. She makes her third career start and we liked her last time off the debut, but she lost all chance when losing the irons. She may be in over her head, but she could surprise and is 12-1 on the morning line.
That’s all for this week and hopefully for the inner track as well. Check out all the New York Hot List picks right here. And we’ll see you Wednesday ‘On the Main!’
Just 118 days to go until Saratoga opens the turnstiles!
By Bob Ehalt
It’s been already been an interesting week for Mike Repole and there’s still a few days left in it.
On Thursday, the featured race at Aqueduct was the $75,000 Uncle Mo Stakes, named in honor of the 2010 2-year-old champion owned by Repole and trained by Todd Pletcher. The all together fitting winner of the newly minted overnight stakes was Caixa Eletronica, an 8-year-old horse that is, yes, owned by Repole and trained by Pletcher.
On Saturday, Repole and Pletcher will try for another stakes win when they send out Highestmaintenance in the Cicada Stakes over Aqueduct’s inner-track.
Highestmaintenance comes into the $100,000 stakes for 3-year-old fillies off two speedy efforts at Gulfstream Park. She won her career debut by 6 ¾ lengths but then tired in the final furlong of a mile allowance race and settled for second as a 2-5 favorite.
On Saturday, she cuts back to six furlongs and should be difficult to catch over the speed-favoring inner track as a 7-5 morning-line favorite.
The main competition should come from Elghayoor (3-1), who won the $75,000 Dearly Precious Stakes in her last start. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Elghayoor made an impressive three-wide winning move in the Dearly Precious, something which doesn’t happen all that often on the Big A’s inner track.
Railtown Girl (8-1) and Kiss the Lady (10-1), who were second and third, respectively, in the Dearly Precious also return in Saturday’s sprint stakes.
The field of seven also includes I’m Mom’s Favorite (7-2), who broke her maiden in a quick 1:11 2/5 for six furlongs at Aqueduct last month and will be tested for class while taking a big jump into stakes competition.
And remember, if you’re in the market for Saturday selections, the New York Hot List picks are available by visiting interbets.com’s handicappers’ page at: http://www.interbets.com/racing/otb/news/ny-hot-list/
By Shawn Rychling
Tick, tick, tick goes the clock running out on Derby contenders as they vie for points to qualify for the May 4 Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs.
This week features the Tampa Bay Derby with Verrazano putting his 2-for-2 record on the line for Todd Pletcher. Those two wins came by a combined 23-plus lengths, but Saturday will be his first major test in his stakes debut.
Meanwhile, in California, Derby contenders Goldencents and Flashback hook up in the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita. Both won early Derby preps with Goldencents taking the Sham and Flashback the Robert B. Lewis.
Goldencents is trained by Doug O’Neil, while Bob Baffert conditions Flashback with both knowing what it takes to win the Derby.
The race should be an interesting game of cat-and-mouse as each will likely rate behind early speedster Salutos Amigos. The question will be who gets the jump and wouldn’t it be something to see them move together on the far turn.
New York has its fair share of Derby contenders as well and last week we saw Vyjack make it 4-for-4 in his career with an off the pace win in the Gotham. That was a change of tactics for the Rudy Rodriguez-trained colt. Speed figure wasn’t as impressive as it looked visually, but he is likely to go in the Wood Memorial on April 6 – the biggest New York Derby prep of all.
Main Track is Back (Soon)
The Aqueduct main track is set to reopen this Thursday, March 20 and promises to be friendlier to closers and it will be nice to have those 7-furlong and one-turn mile races back on a regular basis.
We’ll be looking for horses that like those styles and you can check out ALL of our New York Hot List picks right here.
Just 132 days to go until the start of Saratoga Summer.
By Bob Ehalt
The Road to the Kentucky Derby passes through Aqueduct once again on Saturday when the $400,000 Gotham Stakes will mark the 3-year-old debut of a leading Triple Crown prospect.
Overanalyze, trained by Todd Pletcher and owned by Mike Repole, heads a field of 12 in the Gotham as he makes his first start since posting a gallant victory last November in the Remsen Stakes. The post position draw wasn’t much of a welcome back present, though, for the 10th-ranked horse in the latest ESPN.com 3-year-old poll as he landed the far outside post in the jumbo-sized field.
Hansen, the 2011 juvenile champ, won last year’s Gotham from post 12, so the task facing Overanalyze is hardly insurmountable. Yet post 12 places a premium on Overanalyze breaking quickly and smoothly from the gate, otherwise he could lose a considerable amount of ground on the first turn.
That task underscores the overall challenge for a Kentucky Derby hopeful. Overanalyze is scheduled to start only twice before the Run for the Roses and if he stubs his toe Saturday it would make that final prep an all-or-nothing situation in terms of securing the Road to the Kentucky Derby points necessary to secure a spot in the starting gate for the Derby.
Overanalyze was pegged as a 5-2 favorite over his 11 rivals and surely rates as the one to beat on class alone.
His main competition promises to come from a trio of New York Hot List horses.
Vyjack, the 3-1 second choice, returns from a two-month break after taking the Jerome Stakes on Jan. 5 and figures to once again be on or near the lead.
Escapefromreality was a tough luck runner-up in last month’s Withers as he forged to the front in deep stretch only to be caught in the final stride by the much ballyhooed Derby candidate Revolutionary.
Transparency will undergo a class test Gotham, but could register a surprise off a highly impressive 5 3/4-length maiden victory as a 2-5 favorite.
The running of the Gotham also coincides with this weekend’s second round of Kentucky Derby future wagering, giving Triple Crown fans another chance to search for wagering value well in advance of the first Saturday in May.
And if you miss the Gotham, don’t fret. The Triple Crown express will return to the Big A on April 6 for the Wood, New York’s definitive Derby prep.
February 22, 2013
By Shawn Rychling
The inner track season is winding down at Aqueduct as NYRA is talking of opening the main track sometime around or after March 10. At least that is the goal as of now and hopefully the weather will cooperate.
It may not this weekend as the entry for Ozone Park, NY on weather.com is calling for an 80 percent chance of rain or snow on Saturday.
Hopefully that will not ruin what looks like an excellent 10-race card with a whopping 9.2 entries per race.
In total, the Hot List has 14 horses to watch on Saturday’s card with a number of betting opportunities, and you can check out all of our selections right here.
In the 1st race we have Buckeye Heart listed as a ‘B’ and this horse has been running OK while suffering some wide trips against tougher. He drops down to 15k from 20k for this race. We think he can work out a trip in this field. Another potential price horse on the hot list in the opener is Why Argue rated a ‘C.’ This one has run well in 3 of 4 starts since returning off a layoff and seems to like the inner track. Both of these horses can be used a little on top and deeper in the exotics with favorites like Classic R and B and Taproot.
Saturday’s 7th race is an interesting maiden special weight for 3-year-olds with some late bloomers who didn’t do much at 2 or even start last year. Erik the Red is rated a ‘B’ after an excellent debut when he ran on late for Linda Rice. He was 18-1 that day and now 3-1 on Saturday’s morning line after that debut performance. A couple others to note in here are Bluegrass Springs making his second career start for Kiaran McLaughlin which is always dangerous, and the Unbridled Song colt Risk Management which was purchased for $180,000 last May and debuts at 3 here for Rick Violette.
The 9th is another race to watch with some talented entries for the class level. Keep an eye on Rein King rated a ‘B’ which has gone out very fast going long his last two and now turns back to 6 furlongs.
That gives you a little insight into the Saturday racing at Aqueduct and you can check out ALL of our New York Hot List picks right here.
Just 146 days to go until Opening Day at…..The Spaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!!
February 15, 2013
By Shawn Rychling
Hello again everybody and I hope that all of you had a nice Valentine’s Day and took some of your wagering winnings to remember your respective sweethearts on Thursday. Now it’s on to this week’s blog.
First, we should just welcome everybody back to racing at Aqueduct as we have endured an historic blizzard and scheduled reduction in racing dates which resulted in only two racing cards between Feb. 4 and Feb. 14.
That lack of activity has actually resulted in good news for racing fans going forward as NYRA has added more races per day and the number of entries per race has increased sharply.
The entries for this weekend – Friday thru Sunday – are averaging 8.4 betting interests per race and all three cards have 10 races. This is a big improvement over the average field size of 6.9 prior to the date reduction and blizzard. This is the silver lining in the planned cut to 4 days and in the weather-imposed cancellations. So while you have fewer days the races may be more bettable. And don’t forget there is racing on Monday due to the Presidents’ Day holiday.
Saturday’s card offers some interesting betting opportunities, and you can check out all of our selections right here.
In the 4th race, Burned Bridges will be a big price, but deserves a glance in this heavily restricted overnight stakes.
Coalition goes out for David Jacobson in the 6th race and has been decent in his last three starts. He is likely to be overlooked by the betting public.
Another horse we are hoping is ignored at the windows is Coast of Sangria which runs in the 9th. She had a strong win two back when we picked her on top. She stepped up significantly last time and ran much better than it looks on paper. She now drops to a spot between her last 2 races and that should keep her a solid value. We will be playing her heavily.
Now to something that will warm your heart on these cold and snowy winter days.
The Saratoga schedule is out and it’s never too early to think about Summer at the Spa.
The meet opens Friday, July 19 and features 34 graded stakes scheduled across the 40-day meet, including 16 Grade-I events. The highlight of course is Travers Day on Saturday, Aug 24 which features three Grade Is including the Travers, Test and King’s Bishop. And don’t forget the Grade II Ballston Spa on the turf.
That July 19 opening has to be the earliest ever and look, it’s only 15 days farther back to July 4 and you have to think NYRA’s ultimate goal is a two-month Saratoga meet in some capacity even if they don’t run six days every week.
Wow…just mentioning Saratoga made me forget about the 3-foot snow banks that are surrounding my house right now.
Just 153 days to go…
Good luck this weekend at the Big A as the racing looks much more playable than we have seen during the entire inner track meet.