Nice day for Kiaran McLaughlin at the Big A on Friday: he had three winners and swept the early double with Labadeel and Cadet Blue. He also took the finale with Hatta Diamond. Three owners, three jocks (Garcia, Maragh, Dominguez).
Anyone paying attention to racing knows that today’s feature at Aqueduct is the eponymously named Handicap. First run in 1902 at the old Aqueduct racetrack, which sat on the site of the current one (opened in 19529), the race has had several faces: a stakes, a handicap; held at Belmont, held at Aqueduct; run at a mile and five-sixteenths, run at a mile, run at a mile and an eighth; limited to two-year-olds (for one year). Esteemed past winners of this race include Kelso and Stymie, who each won it twice; last year’s winner was Shug McGaughey’s Happy Hunting. And of course, Evening Attire won it in 2002. Thanks to the NYRA website for this info.
[Side note: I love the NYRA website. I find it packed with information, and I love that it provides a detailed history of all of its stakes races, including past winners. I’ve looked on other track websites for similar information and been unable to find it; doesn’t mean it’s not there, just that it’s not as easy to find.]
This year’s Aqueduct Handicap will be run at a mile and a sixteenth and has attracted a field of seven, with Evening Attire pulling the trifecta of high-age, high-weight, and low odds: he’s the morning line favorite at 2 – 1. Let me say that again: he’s ten years old; he’s carrying the high weight of 116 pounds, and he’s the favorite. Power Cap’s analysis of the race suggests that it doesn’t set up for Evening Attire; sorry, Power Cap, but I hope you’re wrong.
Anyone remember Lieutenant Danz? He fell over Massoud when that horse broke down in the first race of Saratoga’s opening day; he won wire to wire at Aqueduct on Friday, in his first win since that accident. In fact, according to Thoroughbred Action and Eric Donovan, Lieutenant Danz went 0 – 15 in 2007. Ah, winter racing.
Heading out to the Big A in a couple of hours; here’s hoping for an Evening Attire win, perhaps in direction violation of resolution #3. But hey, at least I’m not alone; check out Paul Moran’s picks for today.