By Joe Quillen
Thursday 1/18/24 – Aqueduct Race 7
There are days where I don’t know what to expect. Today is one of those days. The cold has finally set in at the Bleacher Brothers satellite office in Philadelphia, and the snow that fell the other day is encased in ice from some freezing rain that occurred before the storm ended in my area. Parx cancelled all three days this week, and from what I can see from this capture from Jessica Paquette’s Instagram, there is a lot of work to get the track up and running, though another storm is set to hit the east coast tonight and Friday morning.
I am imagining that in New York, specifically in Ozone Park where the Aqueduct Race Track is, has the same conditions as it is here in Philly, though they are closer to the ocean than the city of Philadelphia is. However, I would think Aqueduct is doing all they can to race today. Other tracks in the eastern half of the country have already been cancelled through Sunday because of the cold, ice and snow that is gripping this half of the country. But it will near 30 degrees when the horses head to the gate on Thursday.
So, I am handicapping this race as a race that will be a fast track, but your guess is as good as mine, especially since most of the east coast did not have a measurable snowfall of an inch or more in nearly two years. In other words, I can’t remember what it takes for NYRA to cancel racing at Aqueduct, or how the track will react first day of racing after a snowstorm. But we are going to get through this.
Today’s QPW race is the seventh of eight on the card and is an optional claiming $45,000 race for New York-bred horses going 7 furlongs. For those that are going to tune in online, the approximate post time on Thursday is 3:47 pm Eastern Time, but don’t be surprised if they speed up the post times with the cold weather.
It looks here that the 5 Amundson (4/1 ML) and the 8 D’ont Lose Cruz (10/1 ML) will be on the lead. How fast they go on the front end will determine how the stalkers and the closers will run.
The 3 Rocket and Roll (6/1 ML) will be stalking behind the leaders here if a duel develops and should be first to pounce when these New York breds turn for home. He’s going to be challenged in the stretch by the favorite Radio Red (#4, 2/1 ML) who closed in this same exact race last month.
A sneaky pick, and my choice here in the seventh is the 7 General Banker (7/2 ML). He’s had trouble the last two times out, first brushing the gate at the start last time going a one-turn mile on December 29, and being steadied at the start at this distance in the beginning of the month. He does have a slight drop in class dropping from state bred stakes company to allowance optional claiming horses here today. He won at 6 furlongs back in October against state breds on a muddy track. He may finally get a dry track, but I would not toss this horse if the track is wet from potentially the ground thawing out a little bit with a slight warm up before the next winter storm hitting the east coast.
My play is $20 to win on the 7 General Banker, and I am calling this race 7-3-4 in the penultimate race of the day at Aqueduct. Stay warm, and hopefully we’ll pick a winner again on Friday’s Quills Pick Winners. Stay warm and good luck!
QPW Update Desk
- Valiant West was wide most of the way around at Tampa Bay Downs in Wednesday’s QPW race, but he was able to outfinish the 7 Secret Treasure to win the ninth race, giving QPW readers and followers a $17.80 winner!
- Friday’s race is TBA as Oaklawn has cancelled live racing for the entire weekend because of Ol’ Man Winter. Oaklawn was my original plan for Friday’s QPW, but don’t worry, there will be a race that we will look at for Friday.
- Saturday’s card at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans will be featured by the Lecomte Stakes, which will be the final of a 13-race card. Eight three-year olds are entered for the mile and a sixteenth race. Track Phantom is the 9/5 morning line favorite.
- The Silverbulletday Stakes is the Kentucky Oaks prep race, and eight fillies are entered as well. West Omahais the 2/1 morning line favorite for the mile and 70-yard stakes race.
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