Andrew Champagne previews the late pick four at Aqueduct on Sunday.
I'll head back up to New York for Sunday's late Pick Four at Aqueduct, which kicks off in the seventh of 10 races on the program. We've got some big fields signed on, and I'll have a $37.50 ticket starting with a bit of a “separator single.” Here's how I'll play it!
RACE #7: This two-turn route drew a field of seven, and a number of these runners seem to be in good form. However, I think my single is finally hitting his best stride doing what he wants to do, and I'll be delighted if we get the 4-1 morning line price.
#4 LIMONITE has won three in a row since going back to the dirt a few months ago. He was impressive enough as a 3-year-old to run in several graded stakes races, and while he hasn't run badly in four dirt starts this year, he was disappointing in three turf efforts. He may simply not be a grass horse, and now that he's back to the main track, I think he's in position to showcase his best form.
I respect the rest of this field, as some of these runners have recent stakes experience. However, Limonite is a play for me for a variety of reasons, and singling here allows me to spread later in the sequence.
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RACE #8: This maiden special weight event drew a bunch of horses that were supposed to run in a similar race Thursday before a blizzard barreled its way through the northeast and prompted the cancellation of that day's card. We've got a field of 11 signed on, and I'm going five-deep.
I liked #1 KING ANGELO a lot Thursday, and he's my top pick here. He's worked very well ahead of his unveiling, and it's not like he'd have to be a world-beater to best this group. The rail draw is a bit of a concern for a first-time starter, but between his work tab and his pedigree, I think he's well-meant and an overlay at or near his 8-1 morning line price.
I'll also use #2 RIFT VALLEY, #6 NEURO, #9 NOT PHAR NOW, and #11 ERNIE BANKER. This is a pretty evenly-matched group, so I felt the need to spread. It should be a fun betting race, for sure.
RACE #9: A group of 10 sprinters will go postward for this allowance event. I think the morning line man has this right, and I'm leaning on the top three betting choices.
My top pick is #8 JEMOGRAPHY, an honest gelding who rarely runs a bad race. He's finished worse than second just once in his last 10 starts dating back to September of last year, and he's run second twice in as many starts since being shipped to the barn of Mark Hennig. He's versatile, and his usual effort would give him a big shot.
#4 RAVEN ROCKS and #6 LUNA'S IN CHARGE are on my ticket as well. The former faces winners for the first time after graduating back in October at Belmont, while the latter comes back to New York after a few respectable tries at Churchill Downs.
RACE #10: Good luck with this finale, everyone. It's a claiming event with a 14-horse field (plus two also-eligibles), and while I respect likely favorite #5 LOOKING AT LIBERTY, he's strictly a defensive use for me and is one of five runners I'll use in hopes of finishing this off.
#12 MONEY IN THE BANK may have been a dirt horse all along. He's won two in a row since being switched to the main track in October, and while this is a bit of a step up in class, it's not like this is the toughest non-winners-of-three claiming event in the world. The outside draw should give his rider some options, and further improvement will put him right there.
In addition to the morning line favorite, I'll also use #2 TRUEBELIEVE, #10 CAUSE OF ACTION, and #14 LIGHT THE POSSE. Truebelieve has run for big money this year and was an also-ran in two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown. Those waters were simply too deep, and while his dirt form is a question mark, I love that he cuts back to a sprint. That seems like his best game, and perhaps the class drop will wake him up.
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