Analyzing rich Dec. 30 carryovers at Fair Grounds, Turfway, Aqueduct, and Gulfstream

December 30th, 2023

A bevy of lucrative carryovers are up for grabs at racetracks across the United States on the penultimate day of 2023.

Let’s check out the action:

Aqueduct, Race 4: $90,454 Pick 6 carryover (1:46 p.m. ET)

The shortest-priced favorite in any leg of Saturday’s $90,454 Pick 6 carryover at Aqueduct is #1 Overstep (9-5) in Race 6, a 1 1/8-mile dirt allowance. If he falls to defeat, the $1 wager may pay quite nicely.

Overstep owns strong Brisnet Speed ratings, but he’s yet to race around two turns and was beaten in a seven-furlong allowance on Dec. 2 at Aqueduct, his first start off a 9 1/2-month layoff. Overstep raced forwardly on a day when the track played in favor of speed, but he nevertheless weakened in the homestretch to finish 2 3/4 lengths behind the winner.

Stretching out over 1 1/8 miles might not be ideal for this son of Into Mischief, so be sure to include #4 Leading Contender (2-1) on your tickets. He rallied nicely from behind a slow pace to finish fourth (beaten only 1 1/4 lengths) in a 1 3/16-mile allowance at Aqueduct last month and should appreciate every yard of Saturday’s trip at Aqueduct. The fact jockey Manny Franco and trainer Chad Brown have teamed up to win at a 26% rate over the last two months adds to the appeal.

Gulfstream Park, Race 6: $96,592 Pick 6 mandatory payout (2:34 p.m. ET)

The sequence for Saturday’s mandatory-payout $96,592 carryover in the 20-cent Rainbow Pick 6 at Gulfstream Park includes three stakes, with the 1 1/16-mile Harlan’s Holiday (G3) ranking as one of the most intriguing legs of the sequence.

There are many accomplished stakes winners in the field, but don’t underestimate #3 Grand Aspen (8-1) as an upset threat. The improving four-year-old was much the best in a 1 1/8-mile allowance at Churchill Downs last month, tracking the pace on his way to victory by 3 1/2 lengths with a career-best 103 Brisnet Speed rating.

That’s the highest last-out number belonging to any Harlan’s Holiday entrant, and since trainer Todd Pletcher tends to win races left and right during the winter at Gulfstream, Grand Aspen should be ready for a strong showing in his graded stakes debut.

Fair Grounds, Race 5: $128,194 Pick 6 carryover (3:45 p.m. ET)

The biggest carryover up for grabs on Saturday can be found at Fair Grounds, where the $1 Pick 6 features an enticing non-jackpot prize pool worth $128,194.

Looking for a single to build tickets around? A possibility exists in Race 8, a maiden special weight for two-year-olds sprinting six furlongs on dirt. #4 Evan On Earth (3-1) broke slowly in his debut sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs over this track and class level at Churchill Downs, but passed rivals to finish third. The winner, Mystik Dan, threw down terrific closing fractions and posted a strong winning time, so even in defeat Evan On Earth earned an 80 Brisnet Speed rating that tops Saturday’s field.

Bettors with big budgets might want to include #8 Hero Worship (7-2) as backup, but Evan On Earth figures to find the competition a bit easier while shipping from Churchill Downs to Fair Grounds, and the addition of Lasix (a 21% winning move for trainer Gregory Foley) stamps the bay colt as a compelling top choice.

Turfway Park, Race 4: $36,491 Pick 6 mandatory payout (7:25 p.m. ET)
Turfway Park, Race 9: $13,891 Super High 5 mandatory payout (9:55 p.m. ET)

Saturday is closing day of the Turfway Park Holiday Meet, which means the $36,491 carryover in the 20-cent Pick 6 and the $13,891 carryover in the $1 Super High 5 are scheduled for mandatory payouts.

The feature event in the Pick 6 sequence is the Holiday Cheer S. (Race 7), a six-furlong Tapeta sprint. The morning line favorites are logical; #6 True Temper (4-1) is unbeaten in three starts on Tapeta at Woodbine, and #9 Fortin Hill (7-2) won a $150,000 allowance optional claimer at Keeneland last time out.

But #10 Night Time (9-2) might be the best play. His 6-1-3-2 record at Turfway includes multiple placing in stakes sprints. He was beaten only a nose in a tough $50,000 allowance optional claimer over this track and distance on Dec. 15 and brings solid Brisnet Speed ratings to the table, suggesting he’s a serious win threat for high-percentage trainer William Morey.

As for the Super High 5 carryover, it’s up for grabs in Race 9, a six-furlong maiden special weight for two-year-old fillies who brought a final bid of $50,000 or less at their most recent auction. #6 Gold Del Mar (7-2) and #4 Stirred Up (3-1) are logical contenders among the experienced runners, but don’t overlook the first-time starter #8 Landy (10-1). She’s posted a bevy of bullet workouts in preparation for her debut, and trainer Michael Ewing has compiled a decent 2-for-13 (15%) record saddling first-time starters at Turfway since 2018.

Good luck!