We land at Aqueduct Racetrack on Saturday afternoon in Queens. I was going to publish a Pick 5 and Rainbow Pick 6 ticket at Gulfstream Park for a guaranteed payout, but best of luck with those races. Throw some darts and hope for the best at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. That’s not to say I’m not going to throw a few bucks on it and hope for the best, though.
It’s always fun to have a multi-race ticket for a big payout. We are at Oaklawn Park, where the $1,000,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (Gr. 1) is taking place. There are two $1,000,000 races at Oaklawn and we have both covered. The Apple Blossom has an epic showdown featuring fillies Monomoy Girl and Swiss Skydiver
In our second card of the day at TheSportsGeek, we are handicapping Aqueduct Racetrack. Aqueduct has turned into a regular track for me. The Queens based racecourse has nine races for a total of $632,000 in prize money. There are two stakes races here this afternoon, with the running of the $100,000 Woodhaven Stakes and $200,000 New York Stallion Stakes. Head below for our free Aqueduct Racetrack picks for April 17, 2021.
Post Time: 3:00 p.m. EST
Distance:6 ½ Furlongs
Race 4 is a $22,000 event covering 6 ½ furlongs on the dirt. The Great Dansky and Honorable Service should have a chance to win this race. The Great Dansky is 3 for 12 in his career, but hasn’t been in the winner’s circle since July 26.
He’s gone winless in seven straight performances. Since winning that race in the summer, The Great Dansky has failed to finish in the top-3 as well. In his most recent appearance, he finished 7th in the $70,000 Peeping Tom Stakes. Prior to that race, The Great Dansky went 4th in a $39,000 event.
The Great Dansky is dropping down to a $22,000 race on Saturday afternoon. This should be much more manageable, and puts The Great Dansky in much better standing to win. He’s certainly going in the wrong direction, but a slide down in class should help nicely.
Honorable Service is 12 for 69 in his career and should have a good go at the top prize. He’s finished 1st, 4th, 4th, 2nd, 6th, 6th in his previous six entries. In his last win, Honorable Service beat Desert Lights by a half length in a $22,000 event.
He most recently finished 6th in the $45,000 Dads Caps Stakes. That was an okay performance, but could have been better. In any case, Honorable Service drops in class, and looked strong in recent workouts. Honorable Service completed 4 furlongs in 48.48 seconds on April 8. He looks like the winner.
Post Time: 5:29 p.m. CST
For a $72,000 purse, ten horses will travel a mile on the turf. Race 5 should be a good race, with Straw Into Gold and Austrian on my shortlist to win. Straw Into Gold appears to have a bright future, and has to be considered in this event.
The young colt is coming off a big race in his debut as a first-time runner on November 21. Straw Into Gold beat Ruse by a neck for a $70,000 purse. It couldn’t have gone much better than that as a mid-tier horse in that race. He hasn’t been too quick in recent workouts leading up to his return, though, so we’ll see if it means anything on Saturday.
Straw Into Gold completed 5 furlongs in 1:05.00 on April 4 and April 10. He was also clocked at 50.40 at 4 furlongs on March 28. However, I don’t think it’s an issue, and Straw Into Gold was breezing in those workouts without pressing hard.
Austrian is 3 for 15 in his career, going 2nd, 2nd, 1st in his last three outings. He placed 2nd in a $27,000 and $31,000 event, then showed up to win a $31,000 race by 2 lengths. Austrian jumps to a $72,000 event on Saturday afternoon. He should be close against this field, but there is much more value on Straw Into Gold. I like how he looked in his $70,000 debut.
Race 8 – Woodhaven Stakes
Post Time: 5:19 p.m. EST
Distance:1 1/16 Miles
Race 8 is the Woodhaven Stakes, a $100,000 event covering 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Sifting Sands and Hard Love should have a strong say in this event. Sifting Sands has finished 6th and 1st in two races in his career.
As a first-time runner, the $645,273 Sifting Sands disappointed to go 6th in a $72,000 event on September 5. Sifting Sands got on track in his next assignment, as he beat Dance Some Mo by ¾ lengths. However, that was well down in class to a $26,000 event.
He’s going all the way back up to a stakes race after that performance. Certainly the potential is there for Sifting Sands, though. This horse wasn’t cheap, and is expected to breakout at some point in his career. His biggest foe is likely Hard Love on the inside.
Hard Love has gone 1st and 2nd in two races to open his career. He beat Big Everest by 2 lengths with Manny Franco aboard in a $63,000 assignment. Hard Love placed 2nd in the $100,000 Central Park Stakes by 1 ¾ lengths. Not a bad attempt at all in his first stakes race. Purchased for $200,000, he is expected to win stakes races in his career. I think he can get the job done Saturday afternoon.