The Gary Sciacca trained Saratoga Snacks looks for a repeat in the $100,000 Alex M. Robb at Aqueduct on Saturday, and horseplayers are looking at a similar payoff, as the ridgling paid $3.70 in gate to wire score last year and is 4-5 on the morning line this time around.
The four-year-old is owned by NFL Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells’ August Dawn Farm and has won seven of his 11 career starts. He is back with state breds after stumbling badly coming out of the gate last out in the Cigar Mile (G1) where he checked in eighth.
Sciacca again will give a leg up to Jose Ortiz, who rode him for the first time last out in the Cigar Mile. Ortiz is currently third in the jockey standings through Thursday with 11 wins, trailing just his brother Irad (14) and Cornelio Velasquez (13).
The ridgling will face seven seemingly overmatched foes, with his biggest threat likely to come from Awesome Vision (4-1) who is coming off a victory in the state bred Move it Now on the main track at Aqueduct going a mile. The colt has shown a fondness for the inner track as well, winning four of his six starts.
Through Thursday, two barns continue to light it up. David Jacobson leads all trainers with 18 winners from 57 starters (32%) and 43 of his starters (75%) have landed in the money.
Rudy Rodriguez, who caught fire when racing shifted to the main track at Aqueduct, is continuing his hot hand at the inner meeting, winning with 10 of 32 starters (32%).
Todd Pletcher has won with six of his 15 starters (40%) and Linda Rice has been sending out live runners, winning with four of 14 (29%).
The cold barns include Dominic Schettino (0 for 15), Chris Englehart (2 for 22) and David Cannizzo (0 for 11).
Let’s head out to the Big A for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Aqueduct Race 8 The Alex M. Robb (Post time 3:43 ET)
8 Saratoga Snacks 4-5
1 Awesome Vision 4-1
6 Comandante 6-1
4 Zetterholm 15-1
Analysis: Saratoga Snacks lost all chance last out in the Cigar Mile (G1) when he stumbled coming out of the gate. He was outrun early and not a threat late in an eighth place finish. The four-year-old won seven of his first 10 starts including this race last year. Two back he came off a 2 1/2 month break to take the state bred Empire Classic at Belmont Park going nine furlongs. He came back with a bullet drill on Dec. 22 and is going to be really tough here as the chalk.
Awesome Vision came with a wide bid to run them down late and win the state bred Move It Now last out going a mile here on the main track. Three runners have exited that race to win next out including the runner up Zivo, who beat Alw-1 optional claimers in his next outing on Dec. 14. The colt was sixth two back in the Empire Classic, no match for our top pick, but the Tom Albertrani trainee has done some of his best running on the inner track, winning four of six starts here.
Comandante is coming off a career top winning a New York Stallion Series race for the Pletcher barn going seven furlongs. This guy has shown a steady improvement in each outing since landing with Pletcher back in September. The gelding broke his maiden on the inner track and looks capable of handling the two turns. The barn is 29% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from sprint to route.
WIN: #8 to win at 1-1 or better.
EX: 1,8 / 1,4,6,8
TRI: 1,8 / 1,4,6,8 / 1,2,4,6,8
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