How to bet the Gander Stakes

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

February 14th, 2021

A field of seven New York-bred three-year-olds will travel one mile on the Aqueduct dirt in Sunday’s $100,000 Gander S. The event attracted a trio of very impressive youngsters that the race will likely go through, and it is hard to look past each of the fine prospects. But I am including a value horse in my wagers that could boost the returns in my plays, making the race worth an investment.

The Jonathan Thomas-trained #5 Nicky the Vest (9-5) was ultra-impressive on debut when wiring a 12-horse field by 3 1/4 lengths on the surface. By Runhappy, the $110,000 yearling purchase took some money on debut and rewarded his backers with a daylight score under today’s pilot, Kendrick Carmouche. The bay has posted five solid morning drills in the interim, and he gets the slight nod in his second lifetime performance.

#6 Uno (3-1) is one of two prime contenders for Todd Pletcher and I prefer him to his stablemate by a slim margin. Laoban sophomore aired on debut prior to finishing a useful fourth in the recent Rego Park S. as the heavy favorite. The $255,000 juvenile purchase gives the impression of a horse who will thrive with the added distance on Sunday with Vargas picking up the mount.

Rego Park victor #4 Perfect Munnings (2-1) is unblemished from a pair of starts to date when pulling away inside the final furlong on each occasion. Dark bay colt has conquered both turf and dirt surfaces, and he would be of no surprise with Manny Franco returning in the silks. Purchased for $50,000 as a yearling, the colt will be forcing the action from the opening bell on the stretch-out in distance.

The value horse for the lower rungs of the gimmicks is #1 Horn of Plenty (15-1). Gelded son of Emcee was a sharp winner on debut, prior to putting in two unplaced efforts with black-type runners to cap his 2020 campaign. The late runner will be equipped with blinkers for the initial time on Sunday, and his bullet three-furlong gate drill on Thursday hints that he will be ready to roll in his seasonal debut. He could make a late run for a piece at a big price for Atras.

Gander Wagers

  • $6 Superfecta: 5 with 4,6 with 1,4,6 with 1,4,6 ($24)
  • $2 Superfecta: 4,5,6 with 4,5,6 with 1,4,5,6 with 1,4,5,6 ($24)