The Thanksgiving Holiday is always a great time of the year for horse racing at some of the nation’s best tracks. This Saturday’s race card at Aqueduct Racetrack is a perfect example with the running of the $300,000 Remsen Stakes for up and coming two-year-olds looking to take their place on the 2017 Kentucky Derby Trail.
This Saturday's main event for juveniles on Aqueducts jam-pack race card that includes the Grade 1 Cigar Mile is shaping up to be a good one with a full field that includes a few strong contenders that are expected to make an impact next season as three-year-olds. After breaking down all of the entries, the following are my top three free picks to wheel together in a trifecta play.
2016 Remsen States- Aqueduct Racetrack
The Remsen is a Grade 2 major stakes race open to two-year-old thoroughbreds and the total prize purse for this year's event has been set at $300,000. It will be contested on the dirt track at Aqueduct over a distance of 1 1/8 miles.
This one of the better major stakes races for juveniles this time of the year given the strong field the Remsen usually attracts. That appears to once again be the case for this year's edition with 10 entries listed as probable or possible heading into Saturday's racing card at Aqueduct. My top pick to win this year's event would be trainer Anthony Dutrow's Mo Town. This two-year-old Kentucky-bred colt does not have the highest Horse Ration Nation rating in the field at 5.45, but he should still go off as the morning line favorite to win.
This will be his first run in a stakes race after placing second and first in a pair of Maiden Special Weight races at Saratoga and Belmont this past summer. I really liked the way he looked in his last run over a distance of 1 mile. A pedigree of Uncle Mo, this could turn into a very special colt next season fueled by a victory this Saturday.
My second pick for Saturday's main event for juveniles would be trainer Thomas Albertrani's top entry Hemsworth. This two-year-old Kentucky-bred colt should feel very comfortable on the dirt at Aqueduct after taking first place in the Grade 2 Nashua Stakes here on Nov. 4 over a distance of 1 mile. This was by far his most impressive run as a juvenile after slipping just out of the money to fourth place in a pair of Maiden Special Weight races in his first two competitive runs this year.
This pedigree of AP Indy with a progeny that goes all the way back to Seattle Slew comes into this race with a solid 6.09 rating by HRN, which is the third highest rating in Saturday's field.
If you are looking for a third entry to wheel with my first two picks in a trifecta play for this race, I would take a very close look at Lead Astray. Trained by Claude McGaughey, this two-year-old Kentucky-bred colt comes into this race with high expectations as the top-rated horse in the field with HRN at 6.91. His juvenile campaign got off to a less than stellar start with a disappointing seventh-place run in a Maiden Special Weight race at Belmont on Sept. 17, but McGaughey definitely has him headed in the right direction following an MSW victory at that same track on Oct. 29 over a distance of 6 ½ furlongs.
It will be interesting to see how this Malibu Moon pedigree responds to the added distance of this race, but more than one racing expert has tagged this colt as one to watch once he becomes a three-year-old in the New Year.