Aqueduct’s Thursday Highlight Horse: Birkenhead a live 12/1 shot

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>Aqueduct / December 4 / Race 9 / 4:12 EST

Thursday’s card at Aqueduct is one in which we have found ourselves playing it straight and lacking for interesting alternatives to the logical contenders–for the most part.  Since no one needs our help in identifying the logical contenders in any race, we will highlight a horse in Race 9 who may have something more to offer than is evident in the bare form.

We made it all the way to the last horse in the last race before coming across #9 Birkenhead.  This $50k maiden claimer for 2yo fillies is a race in which we had trouble finding anything to hold on to.  The entrants, for the most part (there is one first- time starter), have been exposed, and have given a pretty good idea as to what they are capable of.  Birkenhead, in our opinion, is the one entrant who may be a bit better than she looks.
After beginning her career on turf, and failing to impact any of her three starts vs. better horses, she was switched to dirt on October 29th.  That was an effort that caught our attention, as she had legitimate trouble while still managing to run well.  After getting away slowly and then being taken out wide while acting rank, Birkenhead found herself in a tough situation.  The pace was slow (note Pace Figures/fractions shaded in blue), and she was wide at the back of the field.  That she was able to rally through the stretch to just miss getting up for third was a performance worth noting.
In her next start, Birkenhead was in a tougher situation.  Once again back off the pace and wide, she had little chance to impact a frontrunning, MSW-drop-down winner in a race that found the first three finishers all maintaining forward positions throughout.  The winner of that race, Jumelaka, returned to finish a game 2nd in her next start with a solid TFUS Speed Figure of 70.
Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 11.22.28 AM
Pace Projector doesn’t indicate that there will be a fast pace for this race.  But there are a pair of speeds drawn to the inside two post positions, and it does place those two horses up on the pace together.  Assuming they do in fact race each other a bit early, Birkenhead may have a more favorable scenario today, and she has already hinted that she may be able to take advantage of the right set up.
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