We have a lot of racing to handicap on Friday, with a lot of racecourses operating to get the weekend started. BetOnline has a sizable sample size of ponies to handicap. There are 14 that are currently scheduled to run today. You can pick your favorite racetrack or tail what we’re playing at TheSportsGeek on Friday. There is a solid mix of the bigger and smaller tracks on the card today, so something for everybody.
Some people like playing certain tracks over others, especially based on where they live. There is likely a favorite of yours racing on Friday. I have a couple of cards that I’m putting under a microscope today. First up is Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens on the east coast. For the west coast players, we’ll have something for you, too, so keep checking out the horse racing blog for more info.
Aqueduct Racetrack has eight races, all on the dirt track, worth a total of $376,000 in prize money. Aqueduct has one stakes race on Saturday, the running of the $100,000 Correction Stakes, but the real big event is at Oaklawn with the running of the $1,000,000 Rebel Stakes (Gr. 2). Head below for our free Aqueduct Racetrack picks for March 12, 2021.
Post Time: 1:50 p.m. EST
Distance:6 ½ Furlongs
The second race at Aqueduct Racetrack is a $36,000 event across 6 ½ furlongs. Eight horses are scheduled to participate, with a coupled pair featuring Nicky Scissors and Happycrest as No. 1 and No. 1A. I’m looking at Stonezapper and Madera as strong contenders for the top prize in Race 2. Stonezapper is looking to stay in nice form after going 2nd and 1st to open her career.
She placed 2nd behind Nicky Scissors by 10 ½ lengths on January 17 in a $60,000 event. Since that performance, Stonezapper has shown improvement, while Nicky Scissors hasn’t looked as hot. Stonezapper defeated Sharp Starr by 2 ¼ lengths in a $60,000 event on February 15. Conversely, Nicky Scissors was 5th in his most recent trip. Stonezapper should be tested by Madera in the stretch in this event.
Madera is a one-time winner through three races, and has shown nice consistency in all outings. She was a 1 length winner over Wishes and Dreams on October 29 at Belmont Park, and then 3rd in her Aqueduct debut on December 20 in her most recent showing. Madera showed 3rd in the $45,000 event for an acceptable effort. Look for Madera from the outside, but I think the better value falls with Stonezapper, who has been coming along nicely early in her career.
Post Time: 2:50 p.m. EST
In Race 4 we have a mile of racing on the main track for a $35,000 purse. I’m looking at Tremayne and Maria’s Gift to ride up well and threaten for the top prize in this event. Tremayne hasn’t been on a nice trajectory, but is in a much easier race today. She is winless in three outings, finishing 8th, 3rd, 7th in her career.
In her best performance, Tremayne showed 3rd on January 23 in a $35,000 assignment. It was when Tremayne tried a tricker race on February 14 that didn’t go so well. Same class at $35,000, but there were some better runners in that race. I’m not going to confidently say that Tremayne is going to have an easier time on Friday afternoon in this $35,000 race.
Maria’s Gift has finished 6th, 5th, 3rd, 2nd in four races. After a slow start, Maria’s Gift was in fine form in her last two performances. She showed 3rd on January 3 in a $35,000 assignment, and then showed improvement in her next outing to place 2nd behind Rosies Surprise by 4 ¼ lengths. Maria’s Gift was the betting favorite in that one and failed to deliver. However, against this field on Friday, a win looks probable.
Post Time: 3:52 p.m. EST
Distance:1 ⅛ Miles
Race 6 is a $50,000 event on the dirt covering 1 ⅛ miles. Eight horses are slated to run in this race, with Kumar and Control Group likely going to be involved in the stretch. Kumar is receiving a class drop on Friday after struggling recently. He is 5 for 17 in his career, with his most recent win on October 31.
Following that $82,000 win by a length, Kumar finished 5th, 5th, 7th in his next three performances. He lost his form, but should be able to run a competitive race on Friday afternoon. In his most recent outing, Kumar was 7th in a $60,000 race.
Kumar finished a spot ahead of Roaming Union, but that was it for him. He continues to step down in class, but is still going to have to be better than that to win on Friday. In any case, I’m going to give Kumar a decent chance of striking at the wire.
Control Group should be a tough opponent in this one. He is 15 for 42 in his career, and is coming off a solid performance on February 15. Control Group finished a nose ahead of Flowers for Lisa in a $44,000 performance. This was after finishing 8th in a $74,000 event on January 3, so the class drop helped. If his form holds on Friday, then a win should be within his sights.