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Pete???s Picks: The Real Verrazano Ready to Smoke Cigar Mile Foes

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 12/1/2013 10:16:41 AM

Who: Thoroughbreds ??? Forty Tales, Clearly Now, Groupie Doll, Capo Bastone, Saratoga Snacks, Goldencents, Flat Out, Verrazano, Private Zone

What: Horse Racing Betting Tips ??? The Cigar Mile Handicap

Where: Aqueduct

When: Saturday, November 30th

The Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Saturday shapes up as one of the best races of the year. Look for the mercurial Verrazano to reestablish himself as one of the best horses in training. Best of all???he???ll be a price! Let???s take a closer look at this outstanding betting race below.

Before zeroing in on Verrazano???s chances, we???ll examine the prospects of several other contenders. #2-Forty Tales (10-1) is 1-for-1 on the Aqueduct main track and 1-for-1 going a one-turn mile. He???s got a nice kick, but is on a three-race losing streak and was off the board in a pair of Grade 1???s recently. #3-Clearly Now (5-1) defeated Forty Tales last out and Jose Lezcano returns to ride. Clearly Now???s only got a pair of Grade 3 wins to his credit, though, and is a bounce candidate off that career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 109. The mare #4-Groupie Doll (3-1) may be the sentimental choice, having missed by a nose in this race last year and tackling the boys once again, but sentiment rarely puts money in your pocket in this game. She???s not quite as dominant as she was last year, and is facing a much larger and tougher field this time around. #6-Capo Bastone (20-1) woke up at 28-1 to capture the Grade 1 King???s Bishop two back, but the Breeders??? Cup Turf Sprint experiment was a bust. His top Beyer of 102 won???t get it done here. #7-Saratoga Snacks (12-1) always fires, but the hard-hitting New York-bred dives into much deeper water in this spot. #8-Goldencents (7-2) is a very nice horse coming off a dominant score in the Breeders??? Cup Dirt Mile. He should be in the mix, but it???s hard to get excited about his price, and he hasn???t fared that well in several forays into the Eastern Time Zone. #9-Flat Out (6-1) earned his career-best Beyer (116) when capturing the Grade 3 Westchester at Belmont Park (his favorite track), defeating the talented Cross Traffic in the process. This will be his Aqueduct debut, and his dull effort in the Breeders??? Cup Classic is cause for concern. The speedy #11-Private Zone (15-1) is coming off a fade in the Breeders??? Cup Sprint, and the mile distance appears to be beyond his scope.

#10-Verrazano (8-1) is a bit of an enigma. When he???s good, he???s very, very good???but he???s also thrown in the towel on a few occasions when things didn???t go his way. This multiple Grade 1 winner may be best suited to this one-turn mile distance. You???ll note that both of his one-turn efforts to kick off his career were breathtaking. His Haskell triumph garnered a lofty Beyer of 116, clearly good enough to take this. The trainer/jockey tandem of Pletcher/Castellano is winning at a 40% clip at the meet, with a positive ROI of $2.15. Verrazano has tactical speed, and may sit a nice stalking trip toward the outside. I???ll bet on Verrazano across the board at odds of 5-1 or better.

Those are my horse racing betting tips for this weekend. Best of luck and happy gambling!

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