It was upset city in the second running of the $20,000,000 Saudi Cup on Saturday at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Saudi Arabia. Mishriff fended off Charlatan to win $10,000,000 and the upset. Bob Baffert had to be disappointed, as he is without a Saudi Cup in back-to-back years. In any event, Baffert and the Charlatan team still collect $3.5 million in prize money. He will likely be back next year, and it’s likely only a matter of time before he finds a trainee that Baffert gets into the winner’s circle in the Saudi Cup. With Saudi Cup season done, we focus our attention on the Road to the Kentucky Derby now.
The first 100-point race is about a month away on March 20 at Fair Grounds Race Course with the running of the Louisiana Derby. From there, seven more races with 100 points going to the winner will follow shortly after. We have a 50-point prep race next weekend at Gulfstream Park. The running of the Fountain of Youth Stakes is scheduled on February 27 in Hallandale Beach.
As far as Sunday is concerned, we are turning our attention to Aqueduct Racetrack in the early afternoon, or morning if you’re out west, and later in the day at Santa Anita Park. Aqueduct Racetrack has nine races on the card with a total of $504,000 in prize money available. Head below for our free Aqueduct Racetrack picks for February 21, 2021.
Post Time: 1:20 p.m. EST
Our first stop at Aqueduct Racetrack is Race 1, a 6-furlong event on the dirt for a $35,000 purse. Six horses are expected to run, with Mia Calia and Day’s Humor on my shortlist for this race. Don’t discount the No. 6 horse as a 4/1 runner on the morning-line.
Mia Calia is winless in ten races, but stands a good chance of striking on these terms on Sunday. She has finished 4th, 7th, 7th, 3rd in her previous four outings, and is currently in the process of showing improvement. In her most recent showing, Mia Calia showed 3rd in a $35,000 event on February 12.
This was a nice effort from Mia Calia after struggling to get into the top-3. It was the first outing that Mia Calia finished as a top-3 runner in her career. This was after Mia Calia was 4th in a $32,000 assignment in January. Expect Mia Calia to do well and potentially win in an upset.
Day’s Humor is a one-time starter that looked fine as a rookie on January 16. He finished 5th in a much tougher $70,000 event. It doesn’t sound great, but against that field, wasn’t a bad try at all. Day’s Humor most recently completed a 4-furlong workout with a time of 49.90 seconds on February 13. I am backing Day’s Humor in this race.
Post Time: 2:50 p.m. EST
Race 4 covers a mile on the dirt for a $28,000 purse at Aqueduct Racetrack. We should have a good battle between Icy Dude and No Lime in the stretch run in this race. Icy Dude is 2 for 9 in his career, with three straight performances in the top-2 going into Sunday. He has also finished top-2 in six of his previous seven entries.
Icy Dude won on August 18 in a $12,500 assignment by 6 ½ lengths. He came back to place 2nd in back-to-back races, most recently on September 30 in a $21,100 event. Icy Dude ran a solid race, but was 2 ½ lengths behind at that level. He is going to try a tougher outing on Sunday. However, No Lime is likely the only better horse than from that race.
No Lime is 2 for 7 in his career, going 2nd, 2nd, 1st in his career in his last three performances. He is coming off a win on December 10, 2020 at Aqueduct in a $28,000 assignment. No Lime beat Dangerous Edge by a neck in the $28,000 race.
Prior to that effort, No Lime placed 2nd behind Fevola by 2 ¼ lengths in a $33,000 event. No Lime is accustomed to racing in this class and shouldn’t be intimidated by the field. I am going to ride with No Lime to win Race 4.
Post Time: 3:20 p.m. EST
Distance:6 ½ Furlongs
A $82,000 event covering 6 ½ furlongs on the main track is the basis for our final selection at Aqueduct on Sunday. This race includes six horses, and wouldn’t be surprised to see a duel between Runningwscissors and Gozilla. Runningwscissors is 7 for 25 in his career, with four straight performances in the top-3.
He won back-to-back races on November 14 and December 12. Runningwscissors defeated Possetizzly by 5 ¾ lengths in a $72,000 race in November, and then followed up to beat South Africa by 2 ¼ lengths in a $74,000 race. He came back on January 9 to show 3rd in the $100,000 Say Florida Sandy Stakes (Black Type).
Following that performance, Runningwscissors drops back down in class to somewhere in the middle. He has been clocked at 48.55, 48.80, and 48.48 seconds at 4 furlongs. Gozilla should be able to counter Runningwscissors and present a big challenge. He is back down in class after some big appearances in the Hopeful Stakes (Gr. 1) and Champagne Stakes (Gr. 1).
Gozilla has finished 1st, 3rd, 4th, 8th, finishing 3rd in the $350,000 Hopeful Stakes (Gr. 1) in 2019. He came back to finish 4th in the $500,000 Champagne Stakes (Gr. 1), which put Tiz the Law on the map with an impressive win. In his most recent race, Gozilla was 8th in July in a $77,000 assignment.
He went on a layoff and returns on Sunday. It has been impressive workouts leading up for Gozilla. He has looked like a different horse in the morning recently. Gozilla completed 4 furlongs at 46.80 seconds, and 5 furlongs at 59 and 59.20 seconds at 5 furlongs. Look for Gozilla to get back to form on Sunday afternoon after sitting out since the summer.