A big day of racing awaits on Saturday, with non-stop stakes action throughout the country. Santa Anita Park has the biggest action, with two Grade 1 stakes races worth $400,000 each. In total, there are three stakes races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby tomorrow, including the $300,000 Gotham Stakes (Gr. 3), $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (Gr. 2), and $300,000 San Felipe (Gr. 2). So along with the two $400,000 races at Santa Anita Park, there is also the $300,000 San Felipe with 50 points going to the winner to put towards an entry into the Kentucky Derby.
This is not the only opportunity to get into the Kentucky Derby, with the 170-point races yet to come. There are eight races on the schedule left to be run with 100 points going to the winner of the event. The first is on March 20 with the running of the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds. Aqueduct Racetrack has four stakes events Saturday, including the Gotham Stakes prep race for $300,000.
We are at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans on Friday afternoon. Fair Grounds has nine races on the card worth $280,000 in prize money today. Fair Grounds has a couple of small $70,000 and $60,000 stakes races on Saturday, but nothing noteworthy. We are also covering Laurel Park on Friday, so check that out on our Laurel Park page if you want more horse racing picks. Head below for our free Aqueduct Racetrack picks for March 5, 2021.
Post Time: 1:50 p.m. EST
Race 2 is a $28,000 event across a mile on the dirt. Eight horses are expected to run, with a coupled pair Lightning Rob and Curlin’s Knight No. 1 and No. 1A. I’m looking at Bulwark and Mental Model to score the win in this assignment. Bulwark is a winner in one of nine entries. He needs to settle in and find a class that he’s comfortable with.
After winning on January 9, Bulwark went 5th, 10th, 8th, 4th, 6th in five races. In Bulwark’s most recent performance, he finished 6th in a $28,000 event. That was a disappointment for Bulwark, who was expected to run much better in that assignment. He was a favorite, but weakened and wasn’t a factor after the ½ pole. If Bulwark runs like that again, expect more of the same. However, he should be able to come back in better form. Mental Model is back after a few months off, and should test Bulwark.
This is a $130,000 horse that hasn’t been able to get on the right page yet, though returns to a much easier event. Mental Model didn’t finish his last race after getting eased up around the mid-way point of the race. In his race prior to that effort, Mental Model was 5th after brushing the gate on June 25 and getting off to a bad start. He’s looked good in the morning in preparation for Friday. The layoff probably did him well. There should be some value on Mental Model.
Post Time: 3:20 p.m. EST
Race 5 is a $36,000 event on the dirt covering a mile. Unrelenting Force and Indian Counselor likely make their presence felt in this assignment. Unrelenting Force is 1 for 12 in his career, finishing 2nd, DNF, 9th, 2nd in his last four attempts. He placed 2nd and that’s a good sign, especially in his most recent performance on February 5.
That was a solid go of it for Unrelenting Force, as he placed 2nd behind Liam’s Fire by a half length in a $36,000 event. Unrelenting Force was a heavy favorite in that race, with Liam’s Fire an afterthought at the betting window. Nevertheless, Unrelenting Force was repelled at the wire and failed to get the win and had to settle for 2nd place.
Indian Counselor has a win in 13 performances, with a victory on February 20, 2020. Since that win, Indian Counselor has gone winless in eight straight outings. In his most recent showing, Indian Counselor finished 5th in a $31,000 assignment. You’d think going to a $36,000 race would be foolish, but this is not a tough field at all. In fact, it looks easier than the $31,000 event. I would side with Indian Counselor to hit the wire 1st.
Post Time: 3:52 p.m. EST
Our final selection at Aqueduct is a $35,000 event covering 7 furlongs on the dirt. There are two horses to note in this event, with Flat Awesome Jenny and Maliby Jenny likely presenting bold bids in Race 6. Flat Awesome Jenny is 8 for 24 in her career, with fine results of 1st, 7th, 1st in her last three performances.
She won on December 5 over Rude Awaking by 3 ½ lengths in a $35,000 event. Not bad form, and now Rude Awaking will team up coupled. If you can’t beat them, join them? In Flat Awesome Jenny’s next appearance, she finished 7th in a less than desirable performance on December 31 in a $44,000 outing. That is one race to throw in the garbage, and that’s what Flat Awesome Jenny managed to do.
Flat Awesome Jenny beat Cover Photo by 1 ¾ lengths in a $39,000 event in her most recent showing on January 31. That was impressive from her, as she edged clear in the stretch over Cover Photo. Expect another productive run from Flat Awesome Jenny, with Malibu Mischief a threat from the outside. Malibu Mischief is 10 for 24 in her career, with a nice stretch recently of six straight wins from the summer to the winter.
Malibu Mischief moved up to stakes racing following a 5 length win in a $48,081 assignment. That didn’t go well, with Malibu Mischief most recently finishing 5th in the $100,000 What A Summer Stakes on January 16. However, she is way down in class on Friday, with a $35,000 race on the agenda. That should get her back into the winner’s circle.