looking wonderful in the J. Barnes photograph is none other then Gone Astray, The Pennsylvania and Ohio Derby Grade II winner and the Turk's heavy duty chalk in today's Discovery Handicap at Aqueduct.
So here we have it, a six horse field with a chalk that on the paper of the PPs looks like an iron pipe lock. So what do we do with this? Well, start the same way every time no matter what: Gather the information to make an informed decision and for that you'll need the course information, weather, scratches and equipment and then the base handicap. With those you can figure out if the risk/reward of betting on a race is worth it. Let's get it on!
The track at Aqueduct is currently listed as FAST. The weather at Ozone Park looks to be a non factor with only a 10% chance of rain. There are currently no scratches or equipment changes listed but you'll have to check much closer to the 3:44 ET post time to be sure.
Race 8 Aqueduct; Post Time 3:44 ET; The Discovery Handicap Grade III; 1 1/8 miles on dirt for 3 YOs.
Gone Astray shows no signs of weakness heading into this race and Trainer McGaughey has done a good job of guiding this horse through the conditions book in the back half of the racing season making this Dixie Union son relevant as a 3 YO in a way that didn't involve the Triple Crown. Gone Astray enters the race with the last race best BSF and owns the only 100+ BSFs in the gate. 7 of 8 in the money in 2009, 3 of 3 in the money at the distance and 6 of 8 in the money on fast dirt. A 4f :47 work on November 15th shows current form still sharp.
Birdrun and Haynesfield are the next best runners in the field with Bad Action just a step back.
Birdrun comes in off an N1X win by 8 lengths and a 99 BSF on fast dirt at 1 1/16. 4 of 5 on fast dirt but only one win, 5 of 7 in the money in 2009. The son of Birdstone should be the early speed and most likely will be at the front by the quarter pole. He'll either drop like a stone or carry on to Place or Show.
Haynesfield, the Speightstown son, was and is a favorite of the Turk on the inner track, and was cruising through the early season until asked to be something he isn't at the Grade III Gotham. After a nice long break, he's back in his third race since early October and enters off a 1 1/8 win in slop at Belmont. Will need a better BSF then the 90 level he seems to have topped out at.
Bad Action, a nifty claimer turned Grade III winner, comes in off a stakes win in early November at 1 1/8 . Making his 17th start of the year with 8 wins, the Contessa trained gelding has Cohen up.
So again, what do we make of it? The risk/reward doesn't seem that compelling as you'd be hard pressed to make a strong arguement against Gone Astray. With that in mind, we'll watch the tote closely and see where the bettors place thier money. If we can get Birdrun as the 3rd or 4th bettors favorite and I value him at Place then I like my base handicap and I will engage at the window. Regardless, I think my play will be no more then three trifecta bets, all straight, with Gone Astray on top. Let's see if we can turn $6 bucks into something bigger then $0 bucks.
The Turk will be back latter to handicap the more interesting Kennedy Road six furlong sprint at Woodbine, post time 4:23 ET.
Have Fun, Turk Out!