Key Races & Bets for Friday December 15th and Saturday December 16th, 2023

Friday December 15 – Remington Springboard Mile – Race 10 at Remington Park –
Post Time 10:28 PM Eastern

Otto the Conqueror stands out in this nine horse field but with Doug O’ Neill shipping in Raging Torrent from southern California and having won the Zia Park Derby a couple of weeks back with a shipper, and with Brad Cox saddling a pair in Fidget and Gettysburg Address, Otto the Conqueror may not be a prohibitive favorite. Even if he may be too low odds for a win bet there is value in the exacta using the two Cox trainees instead of the second and third morning line choices in Raging Torrent and Glengarry, who both have question marks about either their form or their ability to run well at this mile and one-sixteenth trip.

Otto the Conqueror finished second in his debut at seven furlongs in August to a VERY GOOD horse in Liberal Arts, who won the Grade 3 Street Sense Stakes at the end of October. Next, Otto the Conqueror won two in a row, not only improving from a debut 76 Equibase Speed Figure to 80, then to a big figure of 98 for a two year old at this time of year. He coasted home by four lengths in a nine horse allowance field on the same day and on the same card as the Street Sense, running FASTER than Liberal Arts did, as that one earned a 92 figure. NOT ONLY THAT, but Otto the Conqueror was flattered as the horse he beat on 10/29, Honor Marie, came back to win the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on 11/25, improving from a 90 figure to 101. Not that it makes his chances any stronger, but the third place finisher from the win on 10/29 (Just Steel) won the Ed Brown Stakes in his subsequent start.

As mentioned earlier, the second and third morning line favorites (Glengarry and Raging Torrent) aren’t as likely to finish second as either Fidget or Gettysburg Address. Glengarry’s three races to date have all been at six furlongs so it might be asking a lot to go two turns where others in the field have run farther. Raging Torrent finished fourth at 17 to 1 in the Grade 1 American Pharoah Stakes when last seen on 10/7, his first route. There was nothing special about that effort and he has only a five furlong win in his July debut to his name.

Fidget won a two-turn turf race and a two-turn dirt race so has the experience to run well, though his best figure of 81 pales in comparison to Otto the Conqueror. Gettysburg Address won very maturely in his debut in August from off the pace then set the pace for the first six furlongs in the Street Sense Stakes before tiring to fourth. He was well regarded at 3 to 1 odds and may be the one Otto the Conqueror will have to catch in the late stages, while holding on to complete the exacta.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Otto the Conqueror at 1 to 1 (even money) or more, a true low odds overlay win bet if above those odds.

Exacta: Otto the Conqueror over Fidget and Gettysburg Address

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Saturday December 16 – Race 7 at Aqueduct – Post Time 2:41 PM Eastern

Win contenders: Best Bet, Savings Rate, Disarmed
For exactas (second position): Ocean’s Reserve, Kunshan Bridge

Best Bet looks to be a lone front runner in the field as he led from start to finish when last seen in June and should be very fresh and fit off a six month layoff for top trainer Brad Cox. Cox wins with at a strong 26% clip off layoffs of this type and the horse has been working consistently for his return in Kentucky, choosing to run on the dirt here at Aqueduct over the all-weather at Turfway Park, where Cox has a lot of success. As such, it appears Best Bet can pick up where he left off in June with a wire-to-wire win.

If Best Bet can’t go all the way, the two horses capable of getting up in time to win are Savings Rate and Disarmed. Savings Rate showed a lot of maturity closing from off the pace to win in his career debut last month for Brown, who has a fine 25% back-to-back win rate. Franco gets on as the Ortiz brothers have shifted their tack to Florida and that makes perfect sense as he and Brown have teamed up to win nearly 30% of the time over the past year. Savings Rate ran faster than Best Bet in his maiden breaking score, earning a 99 Equibase figure as compared to 92, but on the other hand Best Bet has seven races under his belt to one for Savings Rate, so that’s where experience, as well as the potential early speed edge which it appears Best Bet has, comes into play.

Disarmed has finished first or second in nine of 16 career races, including a win at Aqueduct on 10/29 in his most recent race. He led from start to finish in that race but that was because no other horse wanted the lead. He came from off the pace in fourth to earn his last win before that and his two best winning figures this year, 99 and 98, are as fast as Savings Rate has run so this colt rounds out a trio to be taken very seriously as contenders.

Handicapper Picks

Win: We should consider Best Bet for a win bet at 2 to 1 or higher, Savings Rate at 5 to 2 or higher, and Disarmed at 3 to 1 or higher.

Provided two of the three are above those fair odds levels, we can bet more than one of them, using the free (and easy to use) Dutching Tool at Amwager, which allows us to set the total amount we want to bet, then prorates our wagers for the best mathematical edge. This is just one of many tools, and perks, available for racing fans at Amwager.

Exacta: Savings Rate, Best Bet and Disarmed over Savings Rate, Best Bet, Disarmed, Ocean’s Reserve and Kunshan Bridge

Race 7: Savings Rate, Best Bet and Disarmed
Race 8: Tour Jete, My Perfect Mistake, Soloshot

Pick 3:
Race 7: Savings Rate, Best Bet and Disarmed
Race 8: Tour Jete, My Perfect Mistake, Soloshot
Race 9: B D Saints, Brick Ambush

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New York Stallion Series Stakes (filly division) – Race 8 at Aqueduct – Post Time 3:10 PM Eastern

Top win contenders: Tour Jete, My Perfect Mistake, Soloshot
For second on exacta tickets: Book of Wisdom

My Perfect Mistake and Tour Jete finished first and second, respectively, in a maiden race run over the track on November 10. Two year olds late in the season have few allowance races to run in so moving into a stakes like this one, particularly one restricted to New York breds only, isn’t a significant step up in class.

The reason I think Tour Jete can turn the tables on My Perfect Mistake in this situation is she had lot of trouble right after the start in that race and otherwise I think she would have won. Tour Jete came out of the gate okay then took a mis-step and the jockey pulled her back sharply. Finding herself about five lengths behind the field shortly thereafter, she showed a lot of physical and mental ability as she rallied for second, not asked too hard as the jockey knew there was no way she was going to catch the leader. I think with a fair start, to go along with logical experience off a race, Tour Jete can win this race.

My Perfect Mistake also ran very well in that race, her career debut, and should improve. She relaxed in fourth early then opened up by three lengths early in the stretch before coasting home. Carmouche rides back and trainer Atras has a fine record of 26% back-to-back wins in the past couple of years which is way above average.

Soloshot is the one both of the other two contenders have to catch to win. She led from start to finish with ease in her debut in August then followed that up with an easy win in the similar Lady Finger Stakes in September. She never saw the early lead in the Key Cents Stakes last month but there is every reason to believe she should make the lead from the start today and if that is the case she might not be caught and rounds out a trio of win contenders.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Minimum odds on all three contenders – Tour Jete, My Perfect Mistake and Soloshot, are 5 to 2, and as with the previous race we should have no hesitation wagering on the two at the highest odds (above that threshold) near post time.

Exacta: Tour Jete, My Perfect Mistake, Soloshot over Tour Jete, My Perfect Mistake, Soloshot, Book of Wisdom

Race 8: Tour Jete, My Perfect Mistake, Soloshot
Race 9: B D Saints, Brick Ambush

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New York Stallion Series Stakes (colt and gelding division) – Race 9 at Aqueduct – Post Time 3:37 PM Eastern

Top win contenders: Brick Ambush, B D Saint
Contenders for second on exacta tickets: Antonio of Venice, King Freud, The Big Torpedo, Solo in Paris

Brick Ambush won more impressively last month in his second career start than it appears on paper, and he gets a great post to run as well or better in this situation. After a fourth of 10 debut at six furlongs on 10/5, he stretched out to a one-turn mile on 11/17 and after sitting in second for the opening half-mile, engaged the leader then quickly opened up a two length lead which he easily held for the last eighth of a mile. The 80 Equibase figure is just shy of the 83 figure B D Saints earned when second in the Sleepy Hollow Stakes, nearly identical to this race, and as Brick Ambush cuts back a furlong and makes his third career start it appears he has enough upside to win, particularly as he’s a FULL BROTHER to Yo Cuz, who has earned over $400K in her career and who win the filly division of this race last year.

B D Saints started his career on turf and finished fourth twice, then switched trainers and surface and finished third. Back on turf he won in September then was way over his head in the open (not restricted like this race) Pilgrim Stakes. Moving to this level for the Sleepy Hollow at the end of October, B D Saints had big problems at the start and found himself 10 lengths back after a quarter mile, but rallied strongly for second. He too cuts back a furlong, and with a better start and mid-pack early placement he has as much probability to win as Brick Ambush.

Handicapper Picks

Win: We should consider win bets on Brick Ambush and B D Saints at odds of 5 to 2 or more.

If both horses are at or above that threshold, this is yet another race where the free (and easy to use) Dutching Tool at Amwager really helps us get an edge when wagering.

Exacta: Brick Ambush and B D Saints over Brick Ambush, B D Saints, Antonio of Venice, King Freud, The Big Torpedo and Solo in Paris

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Ellis Starr

Ellis is a well respected handicapper and contributor of AmWager. He has been a public handicapper for more than twenty years, educating racing fans of all skill levels with detailed commentary few other handicappers provide.

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