The Grade I Cigar Mile is just one of four stakes scheduled for Saturday at Aqueduct. We’ll take a look at the Go For Wand, Demoiselle and Remsen here. You can find my Cigar Mile selections here. Don’t forget to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
Aqueduct Race 6: The Grade III Go For Wand Handicap (Post time: 2:06 p.m. EST)
#2 HIGHWAY STAR (2-1) won this race last year and is 3-for-3 lifetime at Aqueduct. She has three graded stakes wins under her belt in 2017 and was only narrowly beaten in the Grade I Ballerina. HIGHWAY STAR enters this year’s Go For Wand off a bad effort in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, but this is a much easier spot and she worked a bullet in the interim. A mile may be just outside her preferred scope, but she has more than enough heart to take this. As usual, Angel Arroyo will have the assignment.
#1 JAMYSON ‘N GINGER (9-5, morning-line favorite) has quickly progressed through her allowance conditions since switching to the Chad Brown barn two starts ago. She likes this distance and has two ITM performances over this course to boast, including a blowout victory last month. However, she may be a bad bet stepping up in class against an opponent like HIGHWAY STAR. Javier Castellano will be in the irons looking for a third straight win atop this filly.
#5 VERVE’S TALE (5-1) was caught late in the Turnback The Alarm last time out going 1 1/16th-miles at Belmont. She stands to benefit cutting back to a one-turn mile while switching to John Velazquez. VERVE’S TALE has hit the exacta in all three career starts over this course.
The play: $4 exacta 2/1,5, $2 exacta 1/2,5 ($12)
Aqueduct Race 8: The Grade II Demoiselle Stakes (Post time: 3:12 p.m. EST)
#1 DAISY (5-2) showed her muddy maiden win was no fluke when she took the Tempted Stakes last time out. She picks up an extra furlong as she returns to Aqueduct, but that should be no problem based on pedigree. DAISY is the pick as the clear speed breaking from the rail; Kendrick Carmouche will ride.
#6 MAURER POWER (4-1) brings a 2-for-2 career record into her first stakes try. She too picks up added ground, which may prove to be her downfall, but she drew a post that’s conducive to her stalking tactics. Irad Ortiz Jr. represents an upgrade in the saddle on MAURER POWER.
#3 WONDER GADOT (2-1, morning-line favorite) is the class of the group dropping out of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies after running a troubled sixth. John Velazquez climbs aboard the only other graded stakes winner in the field (the other being DAISY).
The play: $4 exacta 1/3,6 ($8)
Aqueduct Race 9: The Grade II Remsen Stakes (Post time: 3:45 p.m. EST)
#3 AVERY ISLAND (3-1, morning-line favorite) has won his last two with authority, including the Grade II Nashua at Aqueduct. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee fired a bullet in preparation for this and retains Joe Bravo. AVERY ISLAND should prove difficult to beat.
#8 VOUCH (6-1) was an effortless debut winner at Laurel in late October. His pedigree doesn’t scream out “route runner,” but he won with such aplomb going 1 1/16th-miles in his first ever try that he must be considered here. Joel Rosario climbs aboard.
#10 TAP RAP STRIKE (8-1) lures Irad Ortiz Jr. off a decently-rated maiden win at Parx. Like VOUCH, he’s already proven he can handle a route, which gives him a leg up.
The play: $2 exacta box 3/8, $1 exacta box 3/10, $4 win 8 ($10)
DFJ analysis: Javier Castellano looks like wise investment this Saturday. He rides in eight races and has three program favorites. Two of those are in stakes; namely JAMYSON ‘N GINGER (Go For Wand) and Sharp Azteca (Cigar). He also rides the day’s most likely winner, Black Sea, who is the 8-5 favorite in Race 1.
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