Player Quick Pick: Aqueduct 11/27/2014

Profile Picture: D.S. Williamson

D.S. Williamson

November 26th, 2014

The feature on Thanksgiving Day at Aqueduct is the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap. What a fantastic race for horseplayers to dig into before they start digging into turkey and stuffing! The races at the Big A start early on Thanksgiving Day. Don’t forget so that you don’t get locked out.

Aqueduct Racetrack 8 | 2:42 pm ET

Grade 3 Fall Highweight HCP for 3&Up going 6f

8 – River Rocks – 4/1 – This John Terrnova trainee took a slight step back in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler after running exceptionally well in the Grade 2 Kelso to finish second in that event to Vyjack by 1 length. Since River Rocks had won 3 in a row before the second place finish in the Kelso, a slight bounce had to be expected in the Bold Ruler. The Western Pride sired four-year-old colt figures to come back with his usual speed in this and this race is a furlong less, meaning that jockey Irad Ortiz could let him stretch his legs if nobody else wants the lead. Ortiz is winning at 23% at the meet while the works on Nov. 9 and Nov. 20 show that River Rocks is back to his old self. Breaking from the outside should give Ortiz plenty of options. This 4 to 1 shot is formidable.

7 – La Verdad – 6/1 – The four-year-old filly trained by Linda Rice is going against the boys, but she has the credentials to pull off the upset. She’s 4 for 4 over Aqueduct’s main track and she’s won 10 out of 15 lifetime. She’s also the quickest horse in this race. If both Bakken and River Rocks allow La Verdad to skate to an easy lead, she’ll be extremely difficult to catch even if that lead requires jockey Manuel Franco to push her to a :43.2 half like she ran in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom before being caught and losing by a head to Artemis Agrotera. La Verdad is a serious gate-to-wire threat and should be used on all exotic tickets.

1-Salutos Amigos/1A-Strapping Groom – 2/1 – Trainer David Jacobsen has been on fire at this Aqueduct meet when winning racking up a 17-17-6 record from 56 starters. That’s a 30% win rate at the meet. He saddles two of his best horses for the Fall Highweight on Thanksgiving Day in Salutos Amigos and Strapping Groom. Salutos Amigos was brilliant when winning the Grade 3 Bold Ruler by 3.25 lengths. In the BC Sprint, he had no shot since the track was favoring speed that day, but he figures to bounce back big time in this since this group is more his level than the horses he faced at Santa Anita. Strapping Groom has won 10 out of 28 races lifetime. The seven-year-old sired by Johannesburg finished second in the Fall Highweight last year to Palace when running a lifetime best. Both are serious contenders, but the off odds should be shorter than the morning line and this field is deep.