Trying to beat a big favorite as the inner track opens at Aqueduct

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Ed DeRosa

December 9th, 2015

It’s a big day for Aqueduct, as a $123,347 Pick 6 carryover welcomes the inner meeting at New York racing’s winter place to be.

At some point during the long slog until racing returns to the main track, much will be written—and most of it negative—about winter racing in New York and whether it’s necessary. It’s a vocal minority because the wagering public has very much voted with its wallets on this.

From December-March, only Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita Park will handle more than Aqueduct (both from total and average daily handle perspectives), and more of my money will be bet on Aqueduct than either of those “marquee” tracks.

The place of winter racing in American racing is a worthwhile discussion, but as long as winter racing has a place in America, Aqueduct should be a part of it.

And I’ll be a part of it today, both as captain of one of two Players Pools going after that aforementioned carryover and as a punter who loves the grand slam wager.

Today's card is an interesting one. At first glance there are some obvious favorites in short fields--normally not the recipe for big ballonons, BUT the carryover is sure to attract more money than usual AND some of the favorites look vulnerable.

In race 5 (last leg of the Pick 5 and early pick 4 and 2nd leg of the Pick 6), #3 Zen Papa attracts some big names off the claim, and no one will be surprised if this two-year-old son of Zensational improves in his second-career start and first for new connections, but he likely will have to improve off that 76 Speed Rating considering all five of his opponents today are capable of that number as well. At 4-to-5 on the morning line he's a bet against in the win pool and a tough horse to single in the multis.

He does make the aforementioned grand slam a tougher play, though, because even if he loses he can easily split this field to hit the board, which is all that's required in the first leg of this wager. Still, if we beat him out of the money the whole thing could blow up, so we'll try a 6 with 3, 7 with 6, 7 with 1, 4, 5 play for $12 and press on the five in the win round.

Full grid is below. Good luck everybody!