Aqueduct, Race 4: Maiden Special Weight at six furlongs for NY-bred two year-old fillies
After watching back the replays of the two maiden races that most of these fillies are exiting, it’s hard to refute that the one who ran the best race of any of them is Keep Right (#1). Although the running line and comment makes no mention of the trouble she had, she actually broke almost two lengths slow and was forced to rush up along the inside through the first quarter mile. She was fortunate to sneak through along the rail to take the lead on the turn, but was hard used during the early portion of the race and all things considered was very game to just barely miss. With a repeat of that effort, she should be tough for this field to handle.
I will also use La Dama de Hierro (#8), who I thought was the most interesting horse out of the other key NY-bred maiden race won by Cryptic Comet. La Dama de Hierro broke at least a few lengths slowly and took a long time to get into stride, but she was actually doing some decent running late through the stretch despite having to alter course. She galloped out strongly that day and I think there’s room for improvement as she gets Lasix added today.
I’ll bet each of these fillies to win and box them in the exacta.
$15 Win 1
$10 Win 8
$4 Exacta Box 1/8
Aqueduct, Race 5: Claiming $35,000-$25,000 at 1 1/16 miles
There is a lot going on in this race and I spent quite a bit of time handicapping it before ultimately arriving at my selections. I do not want to bet any of the turf horses who are trying the dirt here, including Under Review, Kanturk Kid, and Wind of Bosphorus. Revelationist would be very logical if not for his last race, which was awful. Strong Defence appears to be a top contender, but I have trouble buying that last out Beyer since it was a new top figure for all of the first five finishers.
I went with Balance of Power (#9), who, unlike Revelationist, survived the pace pretty well last time. He actually finished up right alongside fellow speed horse Barrister Jim, who returned to run a figure 13 points higher next time out. Balance of Power may have also needed that race coming off a seventh month layoff and should run an improved race today with the drop in class. I would not want to take anything lower than his 4-1 morning line odds since I think he’s a horse with a good chance to win who should be a decent price.
I will also use Pontus (#13), who I would like a lot more if not for the wide post and negative rider switch to Angel Arroyo. Pontus lost to Revelationist in his return three back, but probably needed that race coming off the layoff for Michelle Nevin. He was claimed by Midwest Thoroughbreds and Laura Perillo out of that race and has faced much tougher fields in his two subsequent starts for those connections. Today he finds a weaker field and will be helped by some of the other speeds scratching.
$10 Win 9 (WINNER; Payout: $90.00)
$10 Win 13
Aqueduct, Race 6: Maiden Special Weight at one mile and 70 yards for NY-bred two year-old fillies
It’s Easy is the horse to beat off her strong debut showing, but she needs to negotiate the two turns and I could see her being severely overbet as the obvious favorite. She has a little ability to be sure, but I don’t think she’s any superstar.
I’m going to take another chance with Shades of Indygo (#2), who took a step forward going two turns and has been given some time to mature since that race. Her dam is a full-sister to a couple of stakes-winning and stakes-placed routers so the extra distance can only help. I don’t think she’s a more likely winner than It’s Easy, but I also don’t think she should be more than three times the price of the favorite, which could play out to be the case.
$10 Win 2
Aqueduct, Race 8: The Alex M. Robb at 1 1/16 miles for NY-breds
If you’ve read this blog in the past, you’ll know that I’m a fan of Awesome Vision (#1) and I’m excited to see him get a chance to stretch out around two turns again today. He’s entering this race in relatively good form after a game win over next-out winner Zivo in the Move It Now Stakes going a one-turn mile on the main track.
Some may view Comandante as a threat to wire the field, but I have doubts about whether a two-turn route is his best distance and I don’t expect to see him produce another 90+ Beyer today. I also think Bake Shop could be hustled out of the gate early to either take the lead or put pressure on Comandante from the inside.
I’ll bet Awesome Vision to win and will use him over Bake Shop (#3), who I would argue has actually been keeping slightly better company than Comandante, and Zetterholm (#4), who made an early move into a fast pace last time and could run better today.