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Posted by on 12/8/2015 10:38:05 PM

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, and angry Aqueduct fans are thankful, to at least have racing at this time of the year despite the obstacles

With the holiday season already in full force, the innermost thoughts turn to the winterized racing strip at the Big A where only the brave and those hungry for the thrill of victory survive. Action started there on Wednesday and will continue through the long cold winter.

The stats are broken up in 2 categories for this meet. From now until the end of the year and from January 1 to March of 2016.

The big stables have the Christmas presents packed; the suntan lotion ready to be applied and have already hit the road on their way to Gulfstream so that leaves the salt of the earth left to breeze and freeze.

Like the name suggests, the inner strip is just what is says, on the inner part of the huge Aqueduct racetrack. It’s compact, the turns are tight and some horses like the strip and some hate it

Over the years, inside speed going short and long is the order of the day more often than not. Horses stretching out after showing affinity for getting at least 7 furlongs are destined for success.

With no main track racing and no turf racing, astute handicappers look for specialists on the inner strip and resist the temptation to bet on form other than this unique surface.

One angle to think about if the rain and snow comes, and it will, is that often times if a drying-out track comes into play, the tendency is for the speed to hold on much better.

Look for Isabelle to run big when she starts on the inner strip. She has won half of her 10 races and took a stakes on this surface last winter.


Salutos Amigos was a multiple Grade 3 winner during this meeting last winter and he has a ton of class.

As far as the pilots are concerned, the Ortiz brothers, Jose and Irad, will once again dominate. They finished one/two through the end of the year in this meet last year.

Manuel Franco, Cornelio Velasquez and Angel Arroyo rounded out the top 5.

Reggie Jackson was the straw that stirred the Yankees drinks back in the day and as far as the equine world is concerned, the same theory applies to the trainers.

David Jacobson dominated till the end of the year at this meet in 2014 and he will once again.

Some smaller barns to keep and eye on include the Michelle Nevin and Eddie Kenneally outfits. Both of those stables popped at a huge percentage in 2014.

Be on the lookout for any horse that Jason Servis starts. He knows what to do with a good horse and although Danny Gargan will not saddle many horses, his stock is always live.

Try to isolate and key on horses that have been pointed directly for this niche meeting.

Players really can’t get greedy during this meet because form is quickly established. The quickest learners in the crowd will pay attention to way a horse was hung wide in his prior start, but now gets a favorable pace and a much better post.

Key on speed and top connections and things will roll out just fine.



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