Easter, Claiming Championship, Wood & more!
By Shawn Rychling
It’s an early Easter this year as we celebrate on April Fools Day, but it isn’t the earliest date on which Easter has been celebrated. Since 2002, Easter has been celebrated in March on five occasions, the earliest being on March 23 in 2008. That by the way is one day later than the earliest day that Easter can be celebrated on, which is March 22. The last time that happened was in 1818 and the next time will be in the year 2285 – a gap of 467 years.
Easter is observed on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the first day of spring, which is why the date changes every year. It’s on April 1st this year, but the day is no joke as Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
NYRA is forced by state law to take Easter Sunday off and hold no racing. So it’s a short 2-day week of action this week with racing cards on just Friday and Saturday, the latter day featuring the Claiming Championship back at Aqueduct for a fourth year. There will be 10 starter stakes for a total of $695,000 in purses on the line.
Next week will be the final 3-day weekend featuring the Grade II Wood Memorial which is Aqueduct’s marquee prep race for the Kentucky Derby. Nominations have closed with 40 horses on the list, including BC Juvenile and 2-year-old champion Good Magic. After next weekend, it’s back to 5-day racing weeks for NYRA.
As for this week here’s a look at the late Pick 4 which includes the @NYHotList Pick 3 Special in races 8 through 10.
7th race – (5) Helooksthepart certainly does on the strength of recent form. (8) Rockford has changed hands at the claim box three straight times and in 5 of last 6 races and he has kicked things up a notch since summer. (1) Nobody Move runs his best coming back quickly second off a layoff as he does in this spot. (2) Harlan Punch has to be the one to beat coming off three straight wins.
8th race – (8) Madame Barbarian has hit the board in 7 of 9 starts and has two wins in 7 tries over the Big A main track. (3) Frostie Anne has hit the board in 6 of 7 starts over the Big A main track. (2) Spring for More enters off a career-best race. (7) Cotton Candy Cutie can win with repeat of two-back race.
9th race – (2) Borsa Vento can take this one with repeat of two-back race. (9) Shadow Rider wheels right back after taking a wide trip in his last attempt, during which he showed some energy in the stretch. (1) Marriage Fever is much better than what he has shown of late and the best-of-42 bullet on Monday gives us some optimism. (6) Pegasus Red pressed the pace last time and looked to be in good position until late runner came up and squeezed this one between horses. Ran well after that when getting clear so stamina not an issue. (5) War Eagle’s Return may be the one to beat. (12) Praetereo may be coming late if the early pace is a fast one.
10th race – (8) Very Very Stella (C) endured a rough trip last time, has hit the board in 5 of 6 starts and sports speed figures that are a cut about this crew. (11) Tipsy Moose has won three in a row and speed figs are close to those of our top selection. (1) Brother Chub has had some success at Parx and Laurel and mid-Atlantic shippers can run well at the Big A. (2) Fortuitous Path has been a different horse since shipping south.
A B C
Race 7 2 5, 8 1
Race 8 3 2, 7 8
Race 9 2, 5 9 1, 6, 12
Race 10 8 x 1, 2, 11
Best of luck. Find out how to get all our Hot List analysis at Interbets.com.