Today’s 8th race at Aqueduct is the GR 3 Discovery Stakes for 3YO’s going 1 1/8 Mile. This is a very fast and contentious group for the level, with several in here appearing to be competitive. In post position order:
- 7-2 Adulator :1 Best. Even Pattern. Nice even pattern; albeit a bit slow for these. Connections are excellent, and I give a plus mark as Velazquez ends up here. Needs a step forward.
- 30-1 Hunter O’Riley:2 Best. Marching Pattern. He smashed an Allowance field by 8 lengths in his latest in posting his 10.2 Best; however it was only a 4 horse field. Connections have decent stats, although Velazquez stays on Adulator. Numbers are very slow for this group. Needs huge improvement.
- 3-1 Gift Box: 3 Best. Paired Best. He posted his 4.3 Best while running 4th in the Travers in late August, far behind BC Classic champ Arrogate. Since then he has been given a 2 ½ month vacation. Connections Chad Brown and Castellano are as good as it gets. He is the lukewarm morning line favorite, and is Very Dangerous!
- 6-1 Sticksstatelydude: 3 Best. Circle Back Paired Best. Nearly got back to his Best, posting a 3.6, while running a gutsy second in the GR 3 Oklahoma Derby. He made the lead in the lane, before getting tagged late; I call this The Move, and I consider it to be a very strong positive indicator. Excellent connections and I do note that Rosario ends up here. Fastest Number in the race, Circle Back pattern, The Move, top jockey choice, and 7 weeks to freshen. My top choice!
- 4-1 Governor Malibu:4 Best. Marching Pattern. He sports an excellent Marching pattern as he has steadily improved over his last several starts. Excellent connections although Rosario ends up on Sticksstatelydude. He does come back in only 3 weeks for the second time in a row. Worth a long look!
- 10-1 Hot Seat: 4.2 Best. Only 2 Lifetime starts. Here is the X factor. He won his Maiden race by 13 lengths in posting a blistering fast 4.2. He then followed that up in his first start around two turns, winning by 7 lengths after pushing a rapid pace before drawing away by 7 lengths posting a very nice 6.2 in Big Win style. Connections have incredible stats. There is no telling how good Hot Seat is, but my take is that he is likely REALLY good. Longshot special!
- 8-1 My Man Sam:1 Best. Marching Pattern. Here is the second Chad Brown entry, and with Irad Ortiz aboard, connections are stellar. He is a bit slow for these, but his pattern is excellent, and I do note the uncharacteristic recent bullet work. Leave him out at your own risk.
- 15-1 Neolithic:4 Best. Marching Pattern. Improved nicely in his first Route of the year. Trainer Pletcher is as good as it gets and jockey Lezcano is solid. Needs huge improvement.
- 15-1 Wild About Deb:0 Best. Marching Pattern. Here is yet another with a very nice Marching pattern, and at least competitive figs, as he ran a solid 3rd in the GR 2 Pennsylvania Derby in his most recent. Connections have very good stats. Needs another step forward.
- 20-1 Vulcan’s Force:4 Best. Marching pattern. He scored nicely in his last to post that 9.4 Best. Here is the second Pletcher horse and Jockey Saez has solid stats. He will need huge improvement.
- 20-1 Sunny Ridge:8 Best. One race regression. His 4.8 Best, when his finished a solid third in the Haskell, fits nicely in here. At issue is that he was thumped badly in his next after 8 weeks off, and he is now returning after another 7 weeks. These gaps are concerning. Connections have very good stats. Needs big turnaround!
This looks to be a very contentious race. I expect Sticksstatelydude to run well, and I think Hot Seat could run a hot race. A couple others would be no surprise.