Saginaw has won nine of 12 starts this year, and has won eight races since the barn claimed him for $30,000 from Rick Dutrow back in March. The gelding will be cutting back from a win in the one mile state bred Fourstars Allstar on Nov. 18.
He faces five foes including last year’s Gravesand winner Frazil (15-1) and multiple stakes winner Royal Currier (4-1).
Completing the field are recent third level optional claimer winner Hillswick (7-2) and longshot Broad Rule (20-1) who is winless in nine starts this year.
The co-feature on the card is the $80,000 Sarcastic Stakes, which drew a field of six three-year-old fillies that will go one mile and 70 yards on the inner track.
The Todd Pletcher trained Morrow Cove, who is coming off a win in the restricted Raging Fever Strakes, is the 2-1 morning line favorite.
Saturday’s Best Plays Report will include my strongest plays from Aqueduct and action from Betfair Hollywood Park.
Hollywood Park features a pair of stakes, the Grade 2 $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup, and the Grade 1 Cashcall Futurity.
In addition, Zenyatta’s little sister Eblouissante makes her first start since her brilliant debut when she takes on four foes in a first level optional claiming race, which is the fourth race on the card. The John Shirreffs trainee is the 6-5 morning line favorite.
Let’s head out to the Big A for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Aqueduct Race 8 The Gravesand Handicap Post time 3:48 ET
2 Royal Currier 4-1
4 Saginaw 4-5
3 Hillswick 7-2
6 Frazil 15-1
Royal Currier is making his first start here for the Linda Rice barn, who took over a string for these owners including this gelding, who has won a dozen of his 28 career starts. The gelding did not fire last out in the Frank DeFrancis Memorial Dash at Laurel Park, but has been working sharply since that start and the barn switch. This guy landed in the exacta in eight of his 13 starts last year including winning the Gallant Bob at Philly last September in track record time and earning a 109 Beyer. Rice is 17% winners (with a +ROI) with newcomers to the barn. The gelding figures to bounce back with a better effort and may end up getting overlooked here.
Saginaw steps outside of the New York bred ranks here after winning the Fourstars Allstar last out here on the main track going a mile. The gelding was claimed by the David Jacobson barn for $30,000 back in march and since that time he has won eight of 10 starts for the barn, five of those victories in stakes company. The gelding is no stranger to the inner track, having won three of seven trips over the surface. The barn is coming off a strong fall meeting, but the gelding is likely going to be around 3-5, so we will try to beat him for the top spot.
Hillswick was claimed for $50,000 by the Rudy Rodriguez barn back in September at Saratoga out of a win versus Alw-2 optional claimers. After getting beaten a neck against third level optional claimers at Laurel park h came back at that same level a month later and took the field gate to wire and earned a career top speed figure. The gelding has landed in the money in all eight starts this year and owns solid early and mid pace numbers. He is a danger if he can shake loose early.
WIN: Royal Currier to win at 3-1 or better.
EXACTA: 2,4 / 2,3,4
TRIFECTA: no play.
Michael Dempsey provides his full card handicapping report each racing day from New York. His Aqueduct Report is available every day Wednesday through Sunday. Michael has covered the New York circuit daily for more than two decades.