Playing Saturday's All-Stakes Pick 3 at Aqueduct

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

November 29th, 2019

The final day of November will see three competitive stakes races take place at Aqueduct in New York.

Fans of multi-race wagers will be happy to know the stakes races are arranged in consecutive fashion, setting up an appealing Pick 3 wager. Want to play along with the high-class racing action? Let’s tackle the sequence on a $30 budget:

Race 7: Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship Stakes

The consistent #5 Fully Vested hasn’t missed the trifecta in three starts on turf and wasn’t badly beaten when third in the Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational Stakes on October 5. Even in defeat he posted a solid 103 Brisnet Speed rating, and the top two finishers (Final Frontier and Shekky Shebaz) came back to compete in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), with Shekky Shebaz finishing third.

Fully Vested drew well in post 5 and should sit a perfect trip pressing #1 Gidu. A repeat of his effort at Belmont should be good enough to win this, so we’ll make Fully Vested a single.

Race 8: Discovery Stakes (G3)

The logical choice is #1 Tax, who has already won a pair of graded stakes over this 1 1/8-mile distance, including the Withers Stakes (G3) here at Aqueduct. He hasn’t run since finishing seventh in the Travers Stakes (G1), receiving a tricky wide trip while chasing a contested pace, and the three-month freshening since then should sharpen this son of Arch for a rebound.

But rather than single Tax, I suggest adding a couple of longer prices to the equation. #8 Grumps Little Tots beat older allowance rivals over this distance at Saratoga and was compromised by a slow pace when finishing second at Belmont on September 29. With a better setup on Saturday, this improving Jason Servis-trainee could fire off a career-best effort. #2 Mubarmaj has easily won two straight for leading trainer Chad Brown, and as a son of Curlin, the late-maturing colt should relish the chance to stretch out over 1 1/8 miles.

I’ll take a stand against morning line favorite #6 Performer, who benefited from the slow pace when turning back Grumps Little Tots at Belmont. This son of champion sprinter Speightstown will be tackling two turns for the first time and should face some pace pressure.

Race 9: Long Island Stakes (G3)

A full field has been entered in this 1 3/8-mile turf test for fillies and mares. Stakes winners #1 Si Que Es Buena, #10 Homeland Security and #11 Empressof the Nile have all been effective running long against classy company and warrant inclusion as the morning line favorites.

However, I am just as interested in #9 Lift Up. A well-bred daughter of Ghostzapper out of a Dynaformer mare, Lift Up has won three of her last four starts (all stakes) for trainer Michael Dickinson. Her lone defeat came by a half-length in the All Along Stakes at Laurel Park, where she gained 7 ¾ lengths in the final furlong, and she relished the opportunity to negotiate 1 ¼ miles in the Maple Leaf Stakes (G3) four weeks ago, unleashing a huge rally to win going away.

Lift Up is getting good at the right time and may prove more effective at 1 3/8 miles. At 10-1 on the morning line, she can spruce up the payoff if she lands in the winner’s circle.

The Ticket (races 7-9)

  • $2.50 Pick 3: 5 with 1,2,8 with 1,9,10,11 ($30)

Good luck!