Remsen Stakes – Race 8 at Aqueduct – Post Time 3:14 PM Eastern

The two horses with the highest probability to win are likely to be the two favorites near post time – Zandon and Mo Donegal. That doesn’t mean the race isn’t playable and certainly since it kicks off a late pick 3, with some nice profit opportunities in the next two races this race takes on added significance.

Zandon won his only start, on 10/9 at Belmont, showing a lot of maturity when rallying from fourth to win going away after hitting the gate. Rosario rides back and there is little doubt the colt can stretch out to nine furlongs as a son of relatively new sire Upstart, who is responsible for three year old stakes winner Masqueparade, who took the Ohio Derby this summer at this distance. Rosario also rode Fromanothamutha to a pair of runner-up efforts at Belmont and chooses this colt. Zandon is Chad Brown’s only starter in the race and as we know Brown often has multiple runners and that is another sign in favor of Zandon stepping up and stretching out to win this year’s Remsen. The 86 Equibase figure earned first out already the third best last race figure in the field and with very logical improvement physically and mentally off his debut, Zandon gets top billing.

Mo Donegal also broke his maiden in October, in his second career start, and like Zandon, Mo Donegal showed a lot of maturity doing so when rallying from sixth of nine after breaking a step slowly. Irad Ortiz, Jr. rides back and the win came at a mile and one-sixteenth so the extra sixteenth should be of no concern for this son of Uncle Mo. The 97 Equibase figure is stakes quality already so just repeating the effort from the ground saving rail may be good enough to earn this colt a grade 2 stakes victory.

Handicapper Picks

Win bets:

If Zandon is 2 to 1 or more near post time he should be bet to win.

Exactas:

Zandon and Mo Donegal over Judge Davis, Fromanothamutha and Eloquist

(We are avoiding the exacta combinations where Zandon and Mo Donegal finish first and second as those are the least profitable. We will play those as a trifecta as below).

Trifectas:

Zandon and Mo Donegal over Zandon and Mo Donegal over Judge Davis, Fromanothamutha and Eloquist

Pick 3’s (multiple tickets):

Race 8: Zandon, Mo Donegal

Race 9: ALL (8 horses)

Race 10: Following Sea, Ginobili, Olympiad

Race 8: Zandon, Mo Donegal

Race 9: Nostalgic

Race 10: ALL (8 horses)

Race 8: Zandon, Mo Donegal

Race 9: ALL (8 horses)

Race 10: Olympiad

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Demoiselle Stakes – Race 9 at Aqueduct – Post Time 3:43 PM Eastern

As noted from the pick 3 plays at the end of race eight, this race is wide open. The 2 to 1 morning line favorite is Nest based on a maiden win and third place finish in the Tempted Stakes, where she was moderately regarded at 7 to 2. Magic Circle, who beat Nest by a neck for second, was 11 to 1 in that race and opens at 7 to 2, with the likely reason Nest opens at lower odds being the Pletcher/Irad Ortiz, Jr. combination. I’m not sold on either as having much of a higher probability to win as nearly every other horse in the field. I think six of the eight can win but for pick 3 purposes on tickets 1 and 3 above am using all eight because of the minimal difference in cost.

I like Nostalgic slightly over other horses with about the same probability to win such as Magic Circle, Nest, Tap the Faith and Venti Valentine. I also can’t ignore Full Count Felicia because her 30/1 starting odds are out of line if she repeats her last effort, which was run on turf, on dirt. Nostalgic dominated by almost eight lengths in her debut in October at Belmont, at a mile and one-sixteenth, run around one turn. She is the ONLY horse to have won at the distance and most of the others are stretching out from a mile. Her breeding is impeccable as she’s by Medaglia d’Oro out of a Tapit mare. The debut was slow based on figures but I will ignore that because Bill Mott is the trainer and historically when Mott thinks a last out maiden winner is ready for stakes, he’s right. Mott has won with 10 of 26 starters going maiden to stakes over the last five years, including four for eight at Aqueduct. One of those was in the 2019 Demoiselle with Lake Avenue, and Mott’s Millefeuille finished second last year in this race off a maiden win. With so many lightly raced fillies I’ll rely on the Hall of Fame trainer here.

As previous mentioned, I don’t understand why Magic Circle opens at higher odds (7/2) as compared to Nest, who she beat for second by a neck in the Tempted Stakes. Both fillies ran well and can run well here too. Tap the Faith won a one turn mile race in her only start under Rosario, who rides back. The 79 Equibase figure was lower than the 86 Magic Circle and Nest earned but they were making their third and second starts, respectively, so Tap the Faith could improve significantly in her second start. Venti Valentine won the Maid of the Mist Stakes at the end of October, in her second career start and also at the distance of a mile around one turn.

Then there’s Full Count Felicia, who is still a maiden, having run three times, all on turf. She finished last of 10 in her debut then improved BIG TIME to be third, beaten a nose for second, in her second start. Then last out at a mile, on turf she led from the start on solid fractions and battled head-and-head the entire length of the stretch before eventually beaten a head on the wire. The Equibase figure came up very strong, 98, and if you recall from the Remsen Mo Donegal earned a 97 figure breaking his maiden around the same time. I get why she’s 30 to 1 to start as a maiden and trying dirt but War Front is a fine dirt sire (for example War of Will in the 2019 Preakness at 1 3/16 miles), and the distance is no problem.

Handicapper Picks

Win bets:

Nostalgic at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

Full Count Felicia at odds of 6 to 1 or more.

When we consider wagers on two or more overlays from fair (minimum odds), we can and should adjust our bets accordingly in order to maximize our profit both in the short term and in the long term. That can be best accomplished by using a “Dutching Tool” like the one which is free and easy to use at Amwager.com. A Dutching tool lets you set the amount you want to bet or the amount you want to win, then based on the odds your bets are proportioned accordingly. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exactas:

Nostalgic and Full Count Felicia over ALL

ALL over Nostalgic and Full Count Felicia

Optional Doubles (depending if the pick 3s played in race 8 are still live):

Race 9: ALL (8 horses)

Race 10: Following Sea, Ginobili, Olympiad

Race 9: Nostalgic

Race 10: ALL (8 horses)

Race 9: ALL (8 horses)

Race 10: Olympiad

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Cigar Mile Handicap – Race 10 at Aqueduct – Post Time 4:13 PM Eastern

Before I talk about the three horses I feel are the top contenders, let me mention some of the others and why they are not win contenders in my opinion . I’ll start with Code of Honor, who has run just four times this year and his only win came in the Grade 3 Philip H. Iselin Stakes in August. He’s not really that good at this one turn mile trip either as he finished second in the Kelso and third in the Met Mile in 2020. Independence Hall enters the race off a win in the Grade 2 Fayette Stakes at the end of October, but similar to Code of Honor has just that one win to his credit in 2021 (from six races). Americanrevolution just won the Empire Classic Stakes by 11 and three-quarter lengths and I think his third place effort in the Pennsylvania Derby, his only race this year outside of facing NY Breds only, was not that great. Plainsman won the one turn mile Grade 3 Ack Ack Stakes in October but as you will see with Rosario jumping off I have concerns. Pipeline appears overmatched.

Olympiad is the most lightly raced horse in the field, having run just four races to date. Two were in 2020 as a two year old where he finished third before winning by nearly three lengths last summer at Saratoga. For whatever reason Olympiad was given a year off by Hall-of-Fame trainer Bill Mott, and similar to his career debut 13 months earlier the colt was a bit short of 100% as he finished second this September. His next race and his most recent on October 14 was telling, as Olympiad controlled the pace in front from start to finish but even more notably held off a dogged rival throughout the stretch to win. Improving to a career best 106 Equibase speed Figure from 103 one month earlier, Olympiad appears to be on a pattern to take a big step forward. Jockey Joel Rosario, who rode Following Sea to victory in the Vosburgh Stakes in October as well as rode Plainsman to win the Ack Ack Stakes that same month, has never ridden Olympiad but gets aboard for the first time. This is significant in my opinion because Rosario, whose 2021 earnings stand at $32.9 million, is on a path to break the all-time yearly record for a jockey which stands at $34.1 million. As such, every mount through the end of the year takes on added significance and so Rosario’s choice of riding Olympiad in a race where the winner’s share of the purse is $450,000 is yet another reason I think this colt can post the upset and win the Cigar Mile Handicap.

Ginobili enters the Cigar Mile out of the toughest last race of any in the field where he was not disgraced when second of eight in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile behind Life is Good. In that race, Life is Good was sent to the front on fractions which would be impossible for most horses to maintain but won by almost six lengths. Ginobili raced in fifth and fourth in the early stages before showing a burst of speed to get to second, and was even lapped on the winner before Life is Good drew off in the stretch. That effort earned a 111 figure which was rock solid. Previous to that, Ginobili earned a 110 figure effort winning the Pat O’Brien Stakes in August and shows this horse has what it takes physically and mentally to win this race.

Following Sea is another coming out of a big race, the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, where he finished third of nine. Although passed in the stretch by winner Aloha West, Following Sea had some traffic issues in the race as he was on the rail on the far turn and early in the stretch but lost his path. Jockey John Velazquez, who rides again in the Cigar Mile, had to angle the horse off the rail to find a path and although the momentum Following Sea had lost earlier could not be totally regained, he did surge late to get third and earn a 107 figure. One race earlier in the Vosburgh Stakes, Following Sea earned a career-best 117 figure which is one of the best in the field. One slight question is whether he will like this one mile trip he is running for the first time as much as those two six furlongs sprints. Other than that, Following Sea appears to have what it takes to contend for top honors in the Cigar Mile.

Handicapper Picks

Win bets:

Olympiad at 2 to 1 or more.

Ginobili at 5 to 2 or more.

Following Sea at 7 to 2 or more.

I will consider win bets starting with the top choice at or above the odds noted but at most I will only bet two of the three horses to win, using the excellent DUTCHING TOOL at Amwager to proportion my bets accordingly for the best edge.

Exactas:

Box Olympiad with ALL

Box Olympiad and Following Sea

Box Olympiad and Ginobili

Trifectas:

Olympiad over Following Sea and Ginobili over ALL

Following Sea and Ginobili over Olympiad over ALL