Fall Highweight Handicap Odds & Racing Picks

The in-form Durante carries the welter burden of 134lb in the G3 Fall Highweight Handicap at Aqueduct on Friday, which gives the likes of stakes-winner Rotknee and upwardly mobile pair Win For Gold and Bold Journey a sporting chance of ending his spree.


Fall Highweight Handicap

G3 – purse $200,000 – 6f – dirt – 3yo+ – 1.18pm ET

The Fall Highweight at Aqueduct on Friday is a throwback to the old days when horses used to carry big weights as a matter of course. This year’s top-weight has a hefty 134lb on his back, and the question is not just whether he might be good enough to win but whether he can spot all that lead to his rivals.

The one with the heavy load is Durante, the only Graded-stakes winner in the field, who gained that distinction on his last start when he ran his rivals out of town in the 2023 G3 Bold Ruler over course and distance. He went coast-to-coast, opening right up in the stretch and strolling home by two and three-quarter lengths, with Cowan fifth, beaten a further three and a half lengths.

It was a continuation of the excellent form that had brought Durante four wins from his previous five starts. That sole defeat came at the hands of Cowan in an allowance over course and distance, when Durante got dragged into a speed duel and Cowan came late to nail him by a head at 36-1.

With only a 4lb concession involved, Durante can stamp his class over Cowan if he can steer clear of a fight on the front end – but it is a big ‘if’.

Another bringing good Big A form to the table is Rotknee, who was an easier winner of a stakes over six and a half furlongs than the official margin of a length suggests, with stakes debutant Win For Gold fourth after banging his head on the gate, beaten another two and three-quarter lengths.

Rotknee had surged five lengths clear at the stretch call and perhaps the final sixteenth emptied the tank, although he was safe enough out there. The cutback is a positive and he could well lock horns with Durante on the lead – pace and who gets to set it will be the deciding factor here.

That defeat for Win For Gold snapped a three-race winning streak in allowances, including one over course and distance. He is likely better than he could show last time and gets 10lb from Durante, but still needs to move up to make his presence felt.

Bold Journey is another course-and-distance winner, pulling off a buzzer-beating score in an allowance last time, his fourth win at the track. He has found stakes grade too much for him in the past, but this is not the toughest Graded race on the calendar and he is worth another chance.

The old-timer Sir Alfred James is an unimpressive two-for-25 at stakes level and cut little ice at Churchill Downs last time. He probably needs an easier spot now.

2023 Fall Highweight Handicap Odds

The prospect of a speed duel points to WIN FOR GOLD. He gets 10lb from the chalk, can play a stalking role, and is better than his last run suggests.

HorseJockeyBetting Odds by JazzSports
Bold JourneyJose Ortiz +350
RotkneeDylan Davis +200
CowanJose Gomez +1500
DuranteManny Franco +180
Win For GoldKendrick Carmouche +400
Sir Alfred JamesTrevor McCarthy +1000

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