Maiden Focus by @ThoroBredPicks (Aqueduct, February 4)

0-for-1 on Wednesday, with CAUSINGAHULLBALOO finishing second by a neck. Tough beat.

Aqueduct – Race 8

#8 STREET CULTURE (6/1 ml)

Tough call here, as I also have some positive info on #3 BIG LUTHER (4/1 ml), but more on him in a moment. Back to STREET CULTURE, this state-bred firster for Chad Brown has worked with 3 local winners this month, beginning with TEETOTALER back on Jan 5 (TEETOTALER had run second by a neck on Dec 20, then returned to win by 6 lengths as an odds-on favorite last week). Fwiw, both of those races came at today’s one-mile Aqueduct distance. Following that, STREET CULTURE worked heads-up from the gate on Jan 18 with CROWDED TRADE, an eye-catching winner that I profiled right here in the Maiden Focus column last Thursday. Most recently, STREET CULTURE worked with AMITY ISLAND, who was last seen winning a one-mile Aqueduct race by 9 lengths back on Jan 3 (albeit as the even-money favorite in a maiden-claiming race). Just lots of recent positive activity, which is why I give him a slight edge over BIG LUTHER, who has a pretty notable Palm Beach worktab that he brings to New York with him (aboard the same flight and using the same rider as Saturday’s Withers entrant DONEGAL BAY, fwiw). Just a quick note on DONEGAL BAY, the most recent Kentucky Derby sheet from Circa Sports in Las Vegas lists DONEGAL BAY at 225/1, which is certainly an interesting price, and one worth considering. Back to BIG LUTHER, he worked on Dec 11 with MUBARMAJ, a 5yo multiple winner (formerly in the Chad Brown barn) who was last seen running in the G3 Discovery Stakes back in November 2019. Following that, BIG LUTHER worked on Dec 17 with SAINTHOOD, who came out of that drill to run second by a head to LAMUTANAATTY on Jan 9 (while finishing 4 lengths clear of return winner DR. DUKE). Later, BIG LUTHER worked on Dec 31 with NOCTURNAL, who went gate-to-wire in a 4yo MSW @ Gulfstream on Jan 15 (final time 1:36 flat). Obviously a very nice worktab for an unraced 3yo colt, and you could arguably make him the favorite here, though I’m a bit concerned that his recent activity seems to have dropped off a bit (though he’s continued to work with older horses, as well as an unraced $585k Tapit filly). Keep in mind this is a state-bred race, and Pletcher has shipped this guy in to take advantage of his NY-bred status (though as mentioned, he had some other horses coming here anyway). Just mainly leaning to STREET CULTURE due to his more recent flashy activity, the better morning line price, and the fact that a couple his recent workmates have been winning over this same one-mile course. Expecting both to run well.

ThoroBredPicks record:
Win record: 24-for-82 (29% winners)
Total mutuels: $206.30 ($8.60 average win price)

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