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Palace was the king of the Fall Highweight Handicap and looks to keep his throne in the Gravesend Handicap (Photo courtesy of NYRA/Coglinese Photos).

The Gravesend Handicap at Aqueduct features the one-two finishers from the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap run on Thanksgiving day – Palace and Strapping Groom. Frazil, the 2012 Gravesend winner, enters the race off a runner-up effort and may be rounding to top form, while Damitrius Stakes third-place finisher Broad Rule may only need slight improvement to succeed. Battier also enters the race off a third-place finish, and he won the Fit to Fight Stakes earlier this year. Abra rounds out the field and tries stakes company for the first time.

Palace won for the third straight time when victorious in the Fall Highweight Handicap last month on the main track at Aqueduct, earning a career-best 123 Equibase Speed Figure in the process and stamping himself as the one to beat in this race. Palace beat Strapping Groom by a 1 ½ lengths in the race while getting a six-pound edge. Even though he gives up three of those six pounds, Palace should be able to repeat that effort based on the fact that he earned the second-best figure of his career on this inner track surface last December when winning easily by 3 1/2 lengths.

Strapping Groom won the Forego Stakes in August at Saratoga with a career-best 118 Equibase Speed Figure. He regressed off that effort when third in the Vosburgh Invitational Stakes and then fourth in the Bold Ruler Handicap. Strapping Groom led late in the Fall Highweight before he was caught by Palace and still managed to earn a new career-best 119 figure in the process. As such, he could be right there at the finish with Palace in the Gravesend.

Broad Rule enters the Gravesend off two consecutive third-place finishes, first in the Hockessin Stakes then in the Damitrius Stakes. His best effort of the year came two races before that when winning a classified allowance race with a 111 Equibase Speed Figure. Having proved himself at this level with a victory in the Fire Plug Stakes in January, Broad Rule is not without a chance to succeed in this race.

The rest of the field (with their best representative Equibase Speed Figure): Abra (99), Battier (110) and Frazil (105).

My Selections:


Strapping Groom

Broad Rule

$100,000 Gravesend Handicap

Saturday, Race 8, Aqueduct, 3:43 p.m. ET

Six Furlongs, 3 year olds and older







Battier (FL)

I Ortiz, Jr.


T A Pletcher


Frazil (KY)

J L Ortiz


L Rice


Broad Rule (MD)

F Boyce


R W Small


Strapping Groom (KY)

J Alvarado


D Jacobson


Abra (KY)

A S Arroyo


L Rice


Palace (NY)

C H Velasquez


L Rice

Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

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