Avery Island Seeks Aqueduct Double in Remsen Stakes

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

December 1st, 2017

Question: What do Read the Footnotes, Rockport Harbor, Bluegrass Cat, Buddy’s Saint, To Honor and Serve, and Mohaymen all have in common?

Answer: They all scored back-to-back wins in the Nashua Stakes (gr. II) and Remsen Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct during their juvenile seasons.

To put it another way, winning the Nashua Stakes has been a pretty good indicator that a horse will be competitive in the $250,000 Remsen Stakes, a nine-furlong Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race that has produced such accomplished runners in recent years as Honor Code, To Honor and Serve, Mucho Macho Man, and Frosted.

Since 2003, Nashua Stakes winners have compiled an extraordinary 6-for-7 record in the Remsen, and 2017 Nashua winner Avery Island will attempt to extend that record to 7-for-8 when he faces nine rivals in the Remsen this Saturday.
...winning the Nashua Stakes has been a pretty good indicator that a horse will be competitive in the $250,000 Remsen Stakes...
Certainly on paper Avery Island looks like the horse to beat. His Nashua Stakes effort was eye-catching; despite breaking a step slowly, he raced up to battle for the lead through quick fractions of :23.66 and :47 flat, then still had enough in the tank to turn back a challenge from 9-10 favorite Aveenu Malcainu and draw off to win decisively by 4 ¾ lengths, earning a respectable 87 BRIS speed figure.

A repeat of his Nashua effort will likely be good enough for Avery Island to win the Remsen, and considering his pedigree (he’s by 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense out of 1992 Belmont Stakes winner A. P. Indy), he might relish the extra furlong that the Remsen offers.
...he might relish the extra furlong that the Remsen offers...
The only concern is that Avery Island has drawn post position three, which could lead to a tricky inside trip over a track that has been favoring outside runners throughout the meet. In the event that a slow rail compromises Avery Island’s chances, the most likely beneficiary could be Alkhaatam, who hails from the barn of Chad Brown.

How to Play the race:

If you want to play a horse that figures to work out a late-running, wide trip, Alkhaatam looks like the ideal candidate. Owned by Shadwell Stables, Alkhaatam has only run once and didn’t even win, but that lone run was a close third-place finish in a one-mile maiden race at Belmont, for which he earned a strong 91 BRIS speed figure. Did he benefit from rallying into a fast pace? Yes, but given how Aqueduct has been playing he could very well get a perfect setup again.

In playing the race, my advice is to keep things simple and play Avery Island and Alkhaatam in an exacta box. The payoff should be respectable if it hits, yet the small size of the ticket (a $5 exacta box of 3,7 with 3,7 costs just $10) keeps the risk minimal in a race where it’s difficult to separate many of the lightly-raced contenders. Good luck!