Carter Handicap 2014 Contenders & Odds

Dave Bond | OTB Writer

Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 1 Carter Handicap is on tap for Aqueduct in Queens, New York this Saturday, April 5. Horses three years old and upward will be featured as they go seven furlongs on Aqueduct's dirt track for a purse of $500,000.

A field of seven will line up in the Carter Handicap - race 11 on Aqueduct's packed Saturday card. Post time is 6:14 PM. Here is a look into the past performances of all seven entries for this Grade 1 stakes.

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2014 Carter Handicap Race Favorite Entries

Sahara Sky - defending runner-up here and Jerry Hollendorfer trained Sahara Sky raced in graded stakes company for the first time last January and recorded an impressive win - the 2013 Palos Verdes by one length January 19 at 21-1 odds. He followed that with another terrific win in the 2013 San Carlos February 23 and went on to the second place finish behind Swagger Jack in the 2013 Carter. Sahara Sky ended his 2013 campaign back in May with a win in the Grade 1 Met Handicap with a 110 Beyer Speed Figure at Belmont Park. Last time out he returned to the winner's circle in the Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes at Santa Anita March 8 after a disappointing last of five in the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Stakes February 2 and six months away. He has won five of his last eight starts and has been worse than third just once in 11 starts dating back to January 2012 - as competitive as they come. Sahara Sky is the 2-1 morning line favorite and 122 pound highweight. He will line up in post 6 with Corey Nakatani aboard.

Golden Ticket - 2012 Travers winner - Kenneth McPeek trained colt won the minor Prairie Meadows Handicap July 27 by eight lengths and had an Allowance Optional Claiming score in May and a second in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap sandwiched in there. He has continued to be a tad inconsistent since then - a good second behind Goldencents after racing tenth for most of the way in the Breeders' Cup Mile came after a fourth in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes here in September. Last time out was a decent second behind Palace Malice in the Gulfstream Park Handicap March 8 after an ugly eighth in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs November 29. Golden Ticket has five wins, seven seconds and three third place finishes in 22 career starts and has been a bit tough to figure out the last year or so. He is the 3-1 morning line second choice and will have Javier Castellano in the saddle from gate 3.

Carter Handicap 2014 | Remaining Contenders

Strapping Groom - raced in graded stakes company for the first time in July and finished fifth in the Grade 3 James Marvin here but followed that with a good win over Candyman E in the restricted Kid Russell Stakes August 12 and his best ever result - a win in the Grade 1 Forego Stakes at Saratoga August 31 at 15-1 odds. He had a somewhat disappointing fourth in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler at Belmont Park October 26 after a third in the Grade 1 Vosburgh September 28 but has looked better in his last two starts. Last time out was terrific win in the Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap here after a dominant 6 1/2 length win on this track in the minor Gravesend Handicap December 21 and a good second in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight here November 28. Strapping Groom has 10 wins, six seconds and two third place finishes in 27 career starts for trainer David Jacobson - two wins and two seconds in four starts on this track. Irad Ortiz gets the call from post 5 as the 4-1 third choice.

Carter Handicap betting at Aqueduct with

Central Banker - has 10 career starts with three wins, three seconds and two third place finishes and was last seen December 26 finishing a good second in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes at this distance at Santa Anita. This followed an OK second in the minor Thanksgiving Handicap at Fair Grounds November 28, a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Keeneland in October and a good third in the Grade 3 King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga in August. He also had a nice win in the minor Quick Call Stakes July 25 after eight months away. He has placed in four of his last five starts overall with a win, two seconds and a third but will be looking for his first ever graded stakes score Saturday. Central Banker leaves from the rail Saturday with John Velazquez aboard at 5-1 odds.

Clearly Now - Canadian Invader has 11 career starts and had eight starts in 2013 and placed in all but one - a fifth in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile on this track back on November 30 being the lone blemish. He had a great win before that in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler October 26, a second in the Grade 3 Gallant Bob at Parx September 2, a second in the minor Charlie Barley Stakes at Woodbine July 6, and an impressive win in the Grade 3 Swale Stakes by 1 3/4 lengths at Gulfstream March 2. Clearly Now has been in the money all but once in his career and will be looking to avenge his only off-the-board result last time out. Jose Ortiz has the mount from the 2-hole at 5-1 odds.

Dads Caps - has eight career starts for trainer Rudy Rodriguez with three wins, three seconds and a third place finish. He enters having finished second in three consecutive races - last time out behind Strapping Groom in the Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap here March 1, behind Candyman E in the Grade 3 Toboggan Stakes here February 1 and in minor Spooky Mulder Stakes behind Candyman E also on this track. Before that was an Allowance Optional Claiming score on this track in November. Dads Cap looks for his first stakes win Saturday - he has been close in the recent past. Luis Contreras gets the cal from post 4 at 12-1 odds.

Saturday's Charm - Steve Asmussen trained colt is coming off third behind Strapping Groom and Dads Cap in the Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap on this track March 1 after a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming here December 26 and a disappointing sixth in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap here November 28. This after a good third as the longest shot in the field in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler at Belmont Park October 26. He has three wins, five seconds and five third place finishes in 18 career starts and has placed in six of his last seven starts overall. Despite the success Saturday's Charm is the longest shot in the field at 20-1 and will have Manuel Franco in the saddle from the outside post.

2014 Carter Handicap Entries & Odds

Race 11 on Aqueduct Racetrack's Saturday card with a Post Time of 6:14 PM.

Entry Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Central Banker J. Velazquez A. Stall, Jr.
2 Clearly Now J. Ortiz B. Lynch
3 Golden Ticket J. Castellano K. McPeek
4 Dads Caps L. Contreras R. Rodriguez
5 Strapping Groom I. Ortiz, Jr. D. Jacobson
6 Sahara Sky C. Nakatani J. Hollendorfer
7 Saturday's Charm M. Franco S. Asmussen

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