2023 Carter Handicap Odds & More Aqueduct Races

A fantastic Easter card awaits us at Aqueduct this Saturday with a string of graded races taking place on both the turf and dirt tracks. the highlight of Saturday’s card is the G1 2023 Carter Handicap. One of the world’s oldest horse races, the Carter was first run back in 1895 and has been won by the great and good of American horse racing.

This year’s renewal has seen eight horses declared for the race, White Abarrio can boast winning form at this level following his success in the 2022 Florida Derby and will be looking to bounce back from a poor run in this year’s Pegasus World Cup.

The Carter Handicap will be supported a strong undercard which contains three Grade 3 contests, the Distaff Handicap, Bay Shore Stakes and Gazelle Stakes.

The Distaff Handicap is a race exclusively for the girls and its former Stakes winner Gerrymander who will be looking to bounce back to form following two disappointing runs in Grade 1 company. Having been off the track since September, her trainer Chad Brown will be hoping a return to these calmer waters can see her bounce back to her best.

The Bay Shore Stakes will always have a place in history as it was the first race that Secretariat tasted success in. Going on to become one of the finest racehorses in history, seven horses will be lining up to add their names alongside racing royalty.

A tough race to call, the most exciting horse in the race is the James Chapman trained Drew’s Gold. Unbeaten through his first three starts, including a rout last time out in the Jimmy Winkfield Stakes, he looks to be a horse going places and could be the one they all have to catch.

The Gazelle Stakes features multiple horses who were winners last time out. Todd Pletcher sends out Gambling Girl who will be looking to build upon her fourth place finish in the Grade 3 Honeybee Stakes when last seen on the track. A winner of two of her eight career starts she has the best form in the book, and will start the race as a strong contender.

Carter Handicap

Grade 1, Dirt, seven furlongs, open to horses aged three and over. Total prize pool: $300,000

The Carter Handicap is one of the feature races on this Saturday’s Aqueduct Card. Likely to start as the favorite for the race is the Saffie Joseph trained White Abarrio. A winner of his first four races, including the 2022 G3 Holy Bull Stakes and G1 Florida Derby, White Abarrio was unlucky not to add to his Graded Stakes tally in his next six races.

With his charge being out of the winner’s circle for almost eleven months, Joseph sent White Abarrio down into optional claiming company where he was able to win decisively. That run should have blown the cobwebs away and he will likely start as the one they all need to beat here.

One horse that will arrive at Aqueduct this Saturday in red hot form is the Jamie Ness trained Repo Rocks. Unbeaten in all four starts since moving to the Ness barn, he is looking to land the biggest race of his career here. His victory last time out in the Stymie came ahead of Miles D who has placed at Grade 1 level in the past. Despite his inexperience at this level, all signs point towards a big run this weekend.

The Peter Miller trained Get Her Number is another who should feature strongly in the pre-race betting. A solid performer at this level, he posted a strong result in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap Stakes where he finished second and was a winner of the American Pharoah Stakes back in 2020. He knows how to get the job done in races of this nature and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him run a big race here.

Runninsonofagun was a winner of the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Stakes last year but has never tasted success at the very highest level. This will be his first crack in Grade 1 company, and it looks like he has plenty to find in comparison to some of his rivals.

Bold Journey represents the Bill Mott barn, and he heads into this Saturday’s contest having won two of his last four starts at Aqueduct. Yet to win at Stakes level, it would be a huge upset if he were to come out on top of a race of this nature. The same could be said of Today’s Flavor and Expressman who are likely to start the race as the outsiders of the field.

Little Vic beat Runninsonofagun last time out in the Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap. By far the best win of his career to date, he is another who will be having his first start at Grade 1 level.

2023 Carter Handicap Odds & Betting Pick

This year’s renewal of the Carter Handicap looks wide open with all eight horses holding some sort of chance. White Abarrio has some solid form in the book and could be the one to beat. However, at a price the play could be Repo Rocks. Clearly getting better with each run, his trainer Jamie Ness has been happy with how he has been working in the build up to the contest and he could be the best bet of the contest.

HorseJockeyTrainerOdds
Today’s FlavorManny FrancoGeorge Weaver +600
Bold JourneyEric CancelBill Mott+1200 
ExpressmanJose OrtizTodd Pletcher +1200
Repo RocksAndrew WolfsontJamie Ness +180
Little VicCarlos OliveroJuan Carlos Avila +300
White AbarrioPaco LopezSaffie Joseph +200
DoppelgangerJevian ToledoBrittany Russell +3000

Distaff Handicap

Grade 3, Dirt, seven furlongs, open to fillies and mares aged four and over. Total prize pool: $200,000

Eight horses are due to line up for this year’s Distaff Handicap. A race first run in 1954, Chad Brown is looking to land this race for the first time and looks to have a strong hand with Gerrymander.

Gerrymander has won three of her eight career starts including a win in the Grade 3 Mother Goose Stakes. Since that breakthrough win, she has been pitched into races at the very highest level including the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes and Cotillion Stakes but struggled to make her mark.

Having been off the track since September, Brown will hope the layoff and return to calmer waters will see his mount return to the winner’s circle.

Looking to give Gerrymander a race will be the Rob Atras trained Rossa Veloce. Since moving to Atras last September, she has been in fine form, winning four of her last five races. Whilst those wins have come in minor company, she is clearly thriving and has won three of her last four starts at the track. She looks to be the undoubted value play of the race.

Funny How for Raymond Handel is another who is in fantastic form. A winner of her last five races, she looks primed for another big run here. All of her recent wins have come in allowance company but her impressive record at the track will make her a player in the race.

Pass The Champagne will be having her first run at Aqueduct this weekend and is another who is looking to land her first graded contest. She warmed up for this race with a solid fourth place finish in the Grade 3 Barbara Fritchie Stakes but will have to do much more than that if she is to contend here.

For those looking to make a play at a big price, Easy To Bless, Hydra, Meraviglioso and Mommasgottarun are all likely to start as large double figure prices and will need to run career bests if they are to pull off the shock victory.

Distaff Handicap Odds & Betting Prediction

Although this race has the possibility of a shock winner, it looks like the one they will all need to beat is Gerrymander. Rossa Veloce looks an appealing alternative option. Clearly thriving, she should give the favorite a real race here.

HorseJockeyTrainerOdds
Pass The ChampagneJose LezcanoGeorge Weaver +350
GerrymanderManny FrancoChad Brown +300
Easy To BlessJacqueline DavisJames Ferraro +1500
HydraJose GomezRudy Rodriguez +3000
MeravigliosoJaime TorresJames Ferraro +5000
Rossa VeloceJose OrtizRob Atras +160
Funny HowKatie McCarthyRaymond Handal +450
MommasgottarunEric CancelLinda Rice +800

Bay Shore Stakes

Grade 3, Dirt, seven furlongs, open to horses aged three years old. Total prize pool: $200,000

Likely to start as the favorite for the race is the Brendan Walsh trained Gilmore. Having left the Bob Baffert yard, there was much expected of Gilmore in the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes but he could only finish in a disappointing sixth. A winner of one of his career four starts, he drops down in trip and his connections will hope this will see him return to a positive light.

Drew’s Gold is a horse to keep an eye on as the James Chapman runner could be withdrawn due to the aftereffects of a recent virus. If fit to run, he is likely to rate as a danger to all as he will arrive at the track unbeaten. He warmed up for this year’s renewal in grand style, dismantling the field in the Jimmy Winkfield Stakes. Worryingly for his rivals that win came over six furlongs and the small step up to seven looks to be a great move.

Chapman will also saddle Prove Right who heads into the Bay Shore Stakes following a nine length win last time out in Allowance company. Clearly improved, it will be interesting to see how he handles a race of this class given the fact he has found Grade 3 races too hot in the past.

Joining Drew’s Gold as the only last time out winner in the field is Daydreaming Boy.

Daydreaming Boy’s win did come at a much lower level than this race. He has only raced once at Aqueduct and finished some way behind Drew’s Gold in the Jimmy Winkfield. Drew’s Gold looked a class apart that day, and it would have to be a huge turnover in form for Daydreaming Boy to come out on top here.

Victory Way for Bill Mott is arguably the least exposed horse in the field. Having had just the one run, his debut victory was impressive given the sloppy underfoot conditions. Mott is showing a degree of faith by sending his charge into this sort of race but he could be a danger to all in the field.

Bay Shore Stakes Odds & Betting Tip

Much of the field will arrive at this year’s Bay Shore Stakes with plenty of questions to answer. Whilst Gilmore will prove to be a popular selection, Drew’s Gold looks to be a horse going places. His performance in the Jimmy Winkfield was devastating and he may take some stopping.

HorseJockeyTrainerOdds
ArrebatoJose GomezNaipaul Chatterpaul +3000
GilmoreJose OrtizBrendan Walsh +350
Victory WayJose LezcanoBill Mott +250
Daydreaming BoyDexter HaddockLouis Linder +800
Joey FreshwaterKendrick CarmoucheLinda Rice +200
Expected ValueManny FrancoChad Brown +600
Prove RightJeiron BarbosaJames Chapman +600

Gazelle Stakes

Grade 3, Dirt, 1 1/8 mile, open to three-year-old fillies. Total prize pool: $250,000

Six horses will head down to post for this year’s Gazelle Stakes. Chad Brown and Todd Pletcher will saddle two thirds of the field and both trainers will be confident that they can add yet another graded prize to their glittering careers.

A key qualifying race for this year’s Kentucky Oaks, Occult probably represents Brown’s best chance and is bound to be a popular selection. A winner of her last two starts, both of her career victories have come at this track. Her win last time out in the Busanda Stakes was impressive and she could take the step up in class with ease.

Brown’s other chance will sit with Shidabhuti. A winner of all three of her career starts, like her stablemate she has two wins over the Aqueduct dirt. A winner of the Busher Stakes last time out, she did a fantastic job chasing down long-time leader Asset Purchase and she will start the race with a fantastic opportunity of success.

Gambling Girl for Todd Pletcher will take on Occult once again following her second-place finish in the Busanda Stakes. Since that second-place finish in the Busanda, she went onto finish fourth in the Grade 3 Honeybee Stakes. Although there is room for improvement, the manner of her defeat to Occult will require a significant turn around in form if she is to come out on top here.

Frosty O’Toole will be having his first start for Pletcher having won his last two races. Those wins have come in minor company, but Pletcher clearly thinks a lot of his new horse by pitching him into a race of this caliber. The unknown factor in the field, he could be one to back at a price.

Rounding out the field is the Brad Cox trained Capella and the Raymond Handler trained Promiseher America.

Capella has won two of her first three career starts but will need to overturn the form with Shidabhuti who beat her last time out in the Busher Stakes.

Promiseher America has had all three of her career starts at Aqueduct, winning her last appearance. A huge step up in class awaits her but the nature of her maiden victory suggests that there could be plenty more to come.

Gazelle Stakes Odds & Betting Pick

A fascinating renewal of this year’s Gazelle Stakes awaits with plenty of horses in with a real shout of victory. Occult and Shidabhuti look the most likely to win, but keep an eye on the duo of Frosty O’Toole and Promiseher America who are both unknown quantities and could be players at a price.

HorseJockeyTrainerOdds
CapellaKendrick CarmoucheBrad Cox +300
Gambling GirlJose OrtizTodd Pletcher +400
Frosty O’TooleJose LezcanoTodd Pletcher +450
Promiseher AmericaJorge VargasRaymond Handel +1200
OccultDylan DavisChad Brown +200
ShidabhutiManny FrancoChad Brown +350

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