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Best Horse Racing Bets Today | Aqueduct, May 11

Written by: Brian Zipse
Published May 10, 2024
10 min read

Nestled in between the first two legs of the Triple Crown, Aqueduct brings us a strong Saturday afternoon card which will serve as a partial preview for Belmont Stakes Day four weeks later at Saratoga. Leading the way will be the Grade 2 Man O’ War and the Grade 3 Peter Pan Stakes. In the historic Man O’ War, trainer Charlie Appleby entered the classy pair of Nation’s Pride and Silver Knott to top the field.

In the Peter Pan, Belmont Stakes hopefuls The Wine Steward and Deterministic lead a solid edition of the 9-furlong test. Earlier in the card, the Grade 3 Beaugay, for older turf females and headlined by Whitebeam, and the Grade 3 Runhappy, for older male sprinters and led by the returning Straight No Chaser, bolster the solid afternoon of racing. Without further ado, let’s get to my analysis and best bets for the four graded stakes races.

Aqueduct Horse Race Ground Horse Racing Bets May 11

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Race #2 Beaugay Stakes (Grade 3) $175,000 1 1/16-Miles Turf - 1:04pm EST

A Grade 1 winner last summer, Whitebeam will make her 2024 debut when she headlines a compact field of five older turf females set for the Grade 3 Beaugay Stakes on Saturday at Aqueduct. 

Trained by the king of New York turf racing Chad Brown, the 5-year-old gray daughter of Caravaggio was a two-time graded stakes winner last season, with the highlight being a rallying win in the Grade 1 Diana Stakes over the classy pair of In Italian and Fev Rover. When last season, she was beaten less than two lengths in the Grade 1 Matriarch in December at Del Mar

Chief among her competition in the 1 1/16-mile turf test will be her stablemate Aspray. A lightly raced daughter of Quality Road, she also will be making her season debut in the Beaugay. A winner of 4-of-5 overall, when last seen she was convincingly beating fellow 3-year-olds in the Grade 2 Lake Placid, which came way back in August.

Another one to watch on Saturday is the Irish-bred Spirit and Glory. The improving 5-year-old comes in off a sharp stakes score at Aqueduct three weeks ago, which was her second stakes win in three starts so far this year. She has a chance to upset the Brown pair, but Whitebeam is the one I most expect to win. She is the class of the race and is my top pick.

My Plays

  • $20 Trifecta Key - Whitebeam over Aspray and Spirit and Glory = $40

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Race #4 Runhappy Stakes (Grade 3) $175,000 6-Furlongs Dirt - 2:06pm EST

Hoping to regain the impressive form he displayed this time last year, Straight No Chaser will be the one to beat when six older male sprinters clash in Saturday’s Grade 3 Runhappy Stakes at Aqueduct.

A 5-year-old son of Speightster, the Juan Landeros-trainee has won 4-of-7 in his career but was never better than last spring he romped home the easiest kind of winner in an Oaklawn Park allowance race and the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint at Pimlico. The big question will be whether he comes back at his best after a full year away from the races.

His most dangerous opponent in the 6-furlong dash is most likely to be Joey Freshwater. A grade stakes winner over the track last year, the Jimmy Creed colt seems to be rounding into top form, having won two of his last three. Last time out he blitzed allowance foes at Aqueduct, winning by nearly four lengths in fast time.

Durante, one of two in the race for trainer David Jacobsen merits respect as a graded stakes winner at Aqueduct. Although the Distorted Humor gelding has not yet won this year, he did account for the Grade 3 Bold Ruler over the track last October. He is a danger, but I love the recent form of Joey Freshwater at Aqueduct for trainer Linda Rice. He will be the top pick.

My Plays

  • $40 Win - Joey Freshwater = $40

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Race #6 Peter Pan Stakes (Grade 3) $200,000 1 1/8-Miles Dirt - 3:08pm EST

A solid runner-up in his seasonal debut last time in a graded stakes race at Keeneland, The Wine Steward looks like the one to beat among a field of Belmont Stakes hopefuls in the $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes on Saturday at Aqueduct.

Trained by Mike Maker, the New York-bred son of Vino Rosso has yet to run a bad race in five career starts. He won his first three career starts last year at three different tracks, before finishing a game second in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. He returned to the same track after six months away to finish a solid second in last month’s Grade 3 Lexington Stakes.

Chief among his competition in this 9-furlong affair is the Christophe Clement-trained  Deterministic. An impressive winner of his first two starts, including the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes in March, the Liam’s Map colt will look to bounce back from a dull effort last time as the favorite in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial

It’s hard to dismiss anyone else in the field, which will be reduced to six after scratches of Tuscan Gold and Lonesome Boy, but I am most interested in the Chad Brown-trained Unique Insight. A developing son of Gun Runner, he has good speed and has won two straight at Aqueduct. He will be tested for class here, but I believe he is up to the challenge. He is the top pick for the upset.

My Plays 

  • $20 Win & Place - Unique Insight = $40

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Race #7 Man O’ War Stakes (Grade 2) $400,000 1 3/8-Miles Turf - 3:39pm EST

It will be hard to look past the Charlie Appleby-trained pair of Nations Pride and Silver Knott, as they headline a field of nine older turf males in the Grade 2 Man O’ War Stakes at Aqueduct on Saturday.

Both European-bred runners bring a world of class into the 11-furlong affair, but it is Nations Pride who is the more proven in both North America and internationally. A 5-year-old Irish-bred, he won back-to-back Grade 1 turf races last year in Germany and Canada. In his only previous start at Aqueduct, he romped home in the rich Jockey Club Derby in 2022. This will be his seasonal debut on Saturday, but he is clearly the one to beat.

Silver Knott, meanwhile, has run good races on both sides of the Atlantic, and comes in off a sharp win in last month’s Grade 2 Elkhorn at Keeneland. The Lope de Vega gelding, who just missed in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf in 2022, looks to be the top threat to his stablemate.   

If any horse can upset the Appleby pair on Saturday, it is Kertez who has the best shot. An experienced English-bred, he made his first start in America a winning one for new trainer Christophe Clement when he just got up to win the Grade 2 Pan American six weeks ago at Gulfstream Park. Before his U.S. debut, he consistently kept good company in France. Still, this race is Nations Pride to lose. He is the top pick.

My Play

  • $20 Exacta Part Wheel - Nations Pride over Silver Knott and Kertez = $40

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AUTHOR

Brian Zipse

293 Articles

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

Email: [email protected]

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