Piassek's Plays: Big Value in the Big Apple

Racing down the stretch at Aqueduct. (Eclipse Sportswire)

In his regular gambling blog, John Piassek presents his top picks for the upcoming weekend in horse racing, offering betting options at different budget levels. Piassek’s Plays is brought to you by Horseplayers.com, the official online qualifying site of the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) and National Horseplayers Championship (NHC). Horseplayers.com offers low-cost feeders every day and BCBC and NHC qualifiers every weekend, and it’s the only site where you can qualify for the $1 million BCBC. It’s free to sign up – click here to get information about registering and how to enter contests.

Piassek has contributed to the horse racing sites The Racing Biz and Danonymous Racing and worked at Tioga Downs, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga Race Course. He joined America’s Best Racing in January 2021.

Saturday, Jan. 8

Aqueduct, Race 4, post time 1:48 p.m. ET

Television schedule

Friday, Jan. 7: 2:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Jan. 8: 2:30 p.m.-4 p.m. on FS2; 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. on FS1; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Jan. 9: 2:30 p.m.-4 p.m. on FS2; 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. on FS1; post time varies on TVG

#7 Sound Money: This is a first-level allowance race at seven furlongs. Sound Money made his return from a long layoff in mid-August at Saratoga and has been getting better with each race ever since. He broke his maiden two starts back with an impressive win at Monmouth Park and then finished third after a wide trip at Parx last out. Although he was well-beaten, he finished behind two pretty talented horses. The winner of that race, Davidic Line, won a starter allowance race by 5 3/4 lengths next out then finished second as the favorite in the Kris Kringle Stakes. The runner-up, I Am Redeemed, also won next out and was third in the Kris Kringle. He also won the Storm Cat Stakes at Parx in late August.

Sound Money hasn't raced since that Nov. 9 start, but he's been working well since then. He's been improving with every race, and gets a drop in class. As long as he's not too rusty first off the brief break, he'll be in good shape. 

Strategy on a $10 budget

$6 to win on 7

$2 exacta, 7 with 1, 8

Strategy on a $25 budget

$15 to win on 7

$5 exacta, 7, with 1, 8

Strategy on a $50 budget

$20 to win on 7

$10 exacta, 7 with 1, 8 ($20 total)

$1 trifecta, 7 with 1, 8 with 1, 3, 4, 6, 8 ($10 total)

Aqueduct, Race 6, post time 2:48 p.m. ET

#1 Trash Talker: If you bet Trash Talker at 2.40-1 in a similar field on Dec. 11, you almost certainly have to bet him here, even though he lost that race by 6 1/2 lengths. He's been in good form most of the past several months, running consistently high figures while always being a major pace factor. He crushed the field in a non-winners of two claiming race two starts ago, winning by 3 3/4 lengths while earning an Equibase Speed Figure of 93. He was claimed out of that race by Rob Atras, who trained him for one race earlier in 2021. In that spot, he earned a career-top Equibase figure of 97. 

Trash Talker's start on Dec. 11, his second career effort for Atras, was in a starter allowance race. That's the same condition he'll race in here. He broke from post position 10 and raced wide the whole way. Although he made a bold move to the lead on the turn, he was unable to overcome the wide trip and flattened out late. Now he's drawn to the inside, and he should get a much better trip this time at a better price. 

Strategy on a $10 budget

$5 to win on 1

$5 exacta, 1 with 4

Strategy on a $25 budget

$10 to win on 1

$9 exacta, 1 with 4

$2 trifecta, 1 with 4 with 5, 6, 8 ($6 total)

Strategy on a $50 budget

$21 to win on 1

$20 exacta, 1 with 4

$3 trifecta, 1 with 4 with 5, 6, 8 ($9 total)

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