Four New York Stallion Series races highlight Saturday’s betting card at Aqueduct, with a field of 13 going to the post in the feature, the $125,000 Thunder Rumble.
The Chris Englehart trained Chapman is the lukewarm 7-2 morning line favorite and is coming off a gate to wire score in his last outing, although he was aided by a speed friendly racing strip.
The John Terranova trained West Hills Giant has faced the toughest competition, three times taking on graded stakes foes including a runner up finish in the Gotham (G3) back in March on the inner track.
The stakes action kicks off with the second race, which is the $150,000 Great White Way for juvenile colts and geldings. Six will line up, with the Tom Albertrani trained Empire Dreams the 6-5 morning line favorite.
The colt is coming off a solid effort in his first start against winners, landing in the runner up spot in the state bred Bertram Bongard at seven furlongs on the main track at Belmont Park.
The fifth race is the $150,000 Fifth Avenue for juvenile fillies that drew a field of eight that will go six furlongs.
Miss Narcissist is a the 2-1 morning line favorite off a sharp gate to wire win in the state bred Joe A. Gimma in her last outing.
Only one of her foes has beaten winners, the 12-1 Champagne Ruby, who won the Shesastonecoldfox at Finger Lakes on Sept. 28.
The sixth race is the $125,000 Staten Island, which features a field of 10 fillies and mares that will go seven furlongs on the main track in the first leg of the $250,000 Guaranteed Pick 4.
The red hot Rudy Rodrigues barn sends out the 3-1 morning line favorite Kelli Got Frosti, who finished behind a couple of her foes when third against state bred Alw-2 optional claimers in her last outing.
Keep Bustin (7-2) was the winner of that race and has landed in the exacta in nine of her 11 career starts.
Saturday’s Best Plays Report will include all of the stakes action from Aqueduct as well as the graded stakes action from Delta Downs including the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot (G3).
Let’s head out to Aqueduct for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Aqueduct Race 8 The New York Stallion Series Thunder Rumble (Post time 3:43 ET)
3 West Hills Giant 6-1
1 Sportswriter / 1a Uncle Smokey 10-1
2 Chapman 7-2
7 Smooth Bert 4-1
West Hills Giant makes his second start off a 2 ½-month break and exits a decent effort in a fifth place finish in the Basket Weave on turf at Belmont Park. The colt stalked the early pace, came with a four wide bid and made a mild late bid, finishing two lengths behind the winner. Two back at the Spa the colt was second and placed first via a disqualification in a New York Stallion Series race.
Three of his four wins have come on turf but he has run well on the main track including running second in the Gotham (G3) back in march on the inner track and a win in the state bred New York Breeders’ Futurity at Finger Lakes as a juvenile. Joel Rosario takes the call for the John Terranova barn that is 27% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from turf to dirt.
Sportswriter is coming off a good effort in a runner up finish last out against state bred Alw-2 optional claimers in his first start off the claim by the David Jacobson barn. The gelding saved ground in the early going but was caught behind a wall of horses nearing the half-mile pole and finished up well when angled out wide for the stretch drive.
The gelding is 0 for 7 this year after a productive three-year-old campaign where he landed in the exacta in seven of 11 starts. Among his wins last year was a New York Stallion Series race here at today’s seven-furlong distance. The gelding has landed in the exacta in three of four trips over the Big A main track and looks capable of moving forward off his last effort.
Chapman took the field gate to wire to beat state bred Alw-2 optional claimers. The gelding took advantage of a racing strip that was slightly favoring inside speed that day. Two back he caught slop in a third place finish against $50,000 starter optional claimers behind repeat winner Confrontation, who beat Alw-1 optional; claimers in his next start on Oct. 12 at Belmont Park.
The gelding owns solid early and mid pace numbers and drew the rail. He owns the top last out speed fig although perhaps bias aided. If he regresses to his previous two figs, he can still be in the mix if he can avoid getting hooked early.
WIN: West Hills Giant to win at 7-2 or better.
EXACTA: 1,3 / 1,2,3,7
TRIFECTA: 1,3 / 1,2,3,7 / 1,2,3,7,8