Saturday’s TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Three to Thirteen gets some needed class relief

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Aqueduct | Race 4 | Post Time 2:26 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs

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The speedy Shoe Loves Shoe (#8) will likely inherit the favorite’s role in this spot, as the Pace Projector is predicting that he will have a clear advantage in the early going. He merits respect as he drops in class, but the lengthy layoff prior to his last start leaves me somewhat concerned about his recent form.

Another runner that deserves some consideration is Lucky Town (#1). His overall dirt form does not quite stack up against the best runners in this field, but he gets an important trainer change to Rudy Rodriguez, who claimed him out of his prior start. Over the past 90 days at Aqueduct, Rudy Rodriguez has won with 10 of 20 starters first off the claim (50 percent, $2.97 ROI). I think we can expect to see improvement out of this runner, but he doesn’t figure to be much of a price given the strong connections.

My top selection is THREE TO THIRTEEN (#4).

This horse is not that much slower than the favorites, so I expect him to be stalking from close range under Martin Garcia. In his return to the races last time, he showed good early speed before fading. That was his first start in 10 months, and he really doesn’t need to improve that much on the 101 TimeformUS Speed Figure he earned that day in order to compete against this group. It’s also worth noting that the majority of his prior races fell during his 2-year-old season, and some of those races were actually quite encouraging. He ran very well when winning his maiden over the talented Carradine at Belmont. After that, he finished a good third behind two decent runners, Always and Suspect and Caledonian, in November 2016 before getting compromised by a wide trip against a golden rail on Dec. 17. I believe this gelding possesses more ability than he’s shown, and the price will be generous.

THE PLAY

Win/Place: 4

Exacta Key Box: 4 with 1,6,7,8​

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