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Oaklawn: Advent Stakes
Top Pick: #10 Higher Standard
It’s opening day at Oaklawn Park! It’s pretty incredible to see 2-year-olds racing at this track, considering they hadn’t even been allowed on the grounds before this season. The Advent kicks off the stakes action at Oaklawn this year and attracted a solid field of 10 runners. Look for Higher Standard to build on his good-looking debut victory.
Aqueduct: Cigar Mile Handicap (G1)
Top Pick: #3 Americanrevolution
The last Grade 1 race of the year in New York drew a field of 8 evenly-matched runners in what should be a pretty solid betting event. Four of the runners are 3-year-olds, including a Todd Pletcher duo who have been solid during the second half of the season. They’ll have to tackle some tough older runners, though, including Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) runner-up Ginobili. We like the improving Pletcher sophomore Americanrevolution to pull the mild upset after his impressive win against New York-breds at Belmont Park.
Aqueduct: Demoiselle Stakes (G2)
Top Pick: #5 Nest
A field of 8 will take their shot at this year’s Demoiselle Stakes (G2), which is a Kentucky Oaks (G1) points race. The field looks fairly wide open on paper for a distance that’s longer than what any of these horses have tried so far. We’ll see how they emerge from this race with their eyes on Kentucky. Nest is a full sister to Santa Anita Handicap (G1) winner Idol and should have no problem with this distance.
Aqueduct: Remsen Stakes (G2)
Top Pick: #7 Zandon
It’s crazy to think the Remsen Stakes (G2) has been poor when producing quality Kentucky Derby (G1) runners; however, the winner of this race usually turns out to be a solid horse later down the road. Is that a trend that will continue this season? A field of 8 runners will take their shot at earning Kentucky Derby points here, and the good news is that all of them will actually earn points, since Bob Baffert has no entries in this race. Zandon, a Chad Brown trainee, looked solid winning his debut.
Aqueduct: Go for Wand Handicap (G3)
Top Pick: #2 Lady Rocket
This is kind of the forgetten stakes race on the card, even though it usually attracts a solid field. This year, it drew 7 runners, but this could be a 1-horse race with Lady Rocket looking formidable. It also looks as though she might control the early pace with this inside draw.
Oaklawn: Mistletoe Stakes
Top Pick: #9 Amendment Nineteen
It’s hard to believe the first Oaklawn Saturday of the season is happening in December. Yet, here we are, talking about the track best known for opening in late January. The first Saturday stakes event is the Mistletoe, which drew a solid field of 10 runners. Look for the typical Oaklawn trainers Brad Cox and Steve Asmussen to be tough in this spot.
Get the MONSTER wagering guide to the 2021 Cigar Mile featuring in-depth analysis of all 4 stakes running at Aqueduct, including the $750,000 Cigar Mile Handicap (G1)!
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