Mr Speaker is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the 1 3/8 mile test on turf, which was labeled as yielding on Friday and likely will still have some give to it.
The Shug McGaughey trainee has won five of his 14 career starts on turf including taking last year’s Belmont Derby (G1). His last win came in the Commonwealth Cup at Laurel Park on Sept. 19.
The Mark Casse trained Kaigun ships in from Canada where he competed in two of the most prestigious turf races north of the border, checking in fourth in both the Woodbine Mile (G1) and Canadian International (G1). Joel Rosario will ride the gelding for the frit time.
The top three finishers form the Sycamore (G3) at Keeneland will face off again. The winner of the race was the Graham Motion trained Holiday Star with Hall of Fame rider Edgar Prado aboard.
The gelding is 8-1 on the morning line and will face off against Sycamore runner up and third place finishers Charming Kitten (10-1) and St. Albans Boy (12-1). The latter came back to win the Laurel Turf Cup in his last outing on Oct. 31.
War Dancer (5-1) comes into the race riding a 10-race losing streak but has put in several solid efforts including a neck loss in the Man O War (G1) in May and a runner up finish in the Bowling Green Handicap (G2) at Saratoga this summer.
Saturday’s Best Plays Report will include my strongest plays form Aqueduct and Laurel Park.
Let’s head out to the Big A for today’s featured race of the day:
Aqueduct Race 7 The Red Smith Handicap G3 (Post time 3:20 ET)
#6 Kaigun 3-1
#8 Holiday Star 8-1
#7 Mr Speaker 5-2
#3 War Dancer 5-1
Analysis: Kaigun ships in from Woodbine for the Mark Casse barn and the gelding earned back-to-back tripe digit Beyer Speed Figures in fourth place finishes in the Woodbine Mile (G1) and Canadian International (G1). The gelding has lost six in a row since winning the Seabiscuit at Del Mar last November but has been in the mix in each outing and this is not as tough a group as he has been facing. He has shown he candle ground with some give to it and while his last two wins have been at a mile and seven furlongs, he looks capable of handling this distance at this level.
Holiday Star stalked the early pace, took over the lead in the stretch and held on to win the Sycamore (G3) at Keeneland for the second year in a row. He beat a couple of foes he faces again today and has shown he is just as good over ground with some give to it, winning the Sycamore last year over soft ground. He is in good hands with the Graham Motion barn and the 8-1 morning line looks fair enough.
Mr Speaker stalked the early pace and came with a good late rally to finish third last out in the Knickerbocker (G3) at Belmont Park going nine furlongs. He won the Commonwealth Cup (G2) two back at Laurel Park. He won the Belmont Derby (G1) last year on turf at 1 1/4 miles and has enough pedigree to handle the extra ground here.
WIN: #6 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 6,8 / 3,6,7,8
TRI: 6,8 / 3,6,7,8 / 3,6,7,8,9
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