Mott filly can beat Busanda’s favorite

For bettors looking for a decent Sunday betting race, Aqueduct hosts the $100,000 Busanda Bets for aspiring Kentucky Oaks contenders. Six 3-year-old fillies are scheduled to run nine furlongs around the main track, with 10 Oaks points awarded to the winner.

Click here for Aqueduct entries, results.

This post also discusses the $25k claim race after the Busanda to cover the late double. Here are the rosters for each race.

Aqueduct Race 8: Busanda Stakes

Even magic circle is the logical morning line favorite, she was shaky in her route performance, at least in the stretch run.

In the one-mile Frizette Stakes (G1) at Belmont, Magic Circle faded to fourth and 10 ½ length behind the winner after tracking the pace within a length of the lead through the early stages. Perhaps the wide movement she made on the long Belmont turn influenced her punch in the track.

A month later, Magic Circle had every chance of passing Gerrymander in the one-mile Tempted Stakes, also in Belmont, and was unable to pass. In fact Magic Circle went from a head behind to half behind by the time Gerrymander crossed the wire first.

The connections decided to try nine furlongs in the local Demoiselle Stakes (G2) anyway. Magic Circle turned on the early pace and opened up one length at one point in the stretch. But she started weaving in and out a bit, and eventually both Nest and Venti Valentine passed her by late.

Given the mediocre fractions of 25.05, 50.72 and 1:15.80, Magic Circle had no reason to give up the lead. Still, she couldn’t put down the field.

although rosebug is not a huge bargain on 5/2, she is the right choice.

In her fourth career start and second dirt race, Rosebug broke her virginity over the doldrums in a local seven-furlong maiden race on Dec. 30. She won easily by 3 lengths and gave the impression of a filly that is capable of more.

Rosebug also ran on fast dirt on her career debut at Saratoga last August in a six furlong sprint. She made a mild closing move and finished fourth by three lengths, which is respectable for a starter in Saratoga. Winner Gerrymander then captured the Tempted in November, while runner-up Distinctlypossible was again second in the Alcibiades Stakes (G1). Given the company, Rosebug ended well.

The question is whether Rosebug can handle the extension to nine furlongs. She is a daughter of Triple Crown Champion American Pharoah of Taittinger Rose, a two-time winner at nine furlongs in her 23 race career.

From a pedigree point of view, there’s no reason Rosebug can’t handle the long stretch.

As for the other four fillies in this race, they don’t seem to be in the right class to compete for the win. On paper, this is a match race between Magic Circle and Rosebug.

At 5/2 or higher, Rosebug is a good bet to survive the Magic Circle and win. If her odds drop well below 5/2, consider not betting on the Busanda. Since Magic Circle offers no value underneath, the better strategy is to look for a correct horizontal bet rather than vertical.

Top selection: No. 6 Rose Bug (5/2)

Competitor: No. 1 Magic Circle (6/5)


Win: 6 (on 5/2 or higher)

Double: 6 / 3

Aqueduct Race 9: $25k. claim

Most claiming races are difficult to handicap due to the lack of consistent form. In most cases, trainer stats play a bigger role in these races.

Red Pepper Grill makes her first start for trainer Rudy Rodriguez, who scores TimeformUS a high 96/100 with horses coming off the claim.

Under her previous trainer Carlos F. Martin, Red Pepper Grill’s form was decent. She came in second in a $25k race at Belmont on October 15 and a $30k race on October 30, beating some of the same names here.

Red Pepper Grill delivered a clunker in a $25k local race on Dec. 5, but the puzzling effort is forgivable. Sometimes horses claim to run in bad races for no rhyme or reason, especially among trainers who don’t stand out in statistics.

Rodriguez chooses to run Red Pepper Grill at the same $25k level, which is also a good sign. Switching to jockey Manny Franco may also help.

Red Pepper Grill is the choice to use with Rosebug in a cold double.

Top selection: No. 3 Red Pepper Grill (4-1)

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