Sunday’s TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Raucous should appreciate the turnback to sprinting in the Mizdirection

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Aqueduct | Race 7 | Post Time 4:44 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs

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This is easily the most competitive race on the card, as you can make a case for almost any runner in this large field. The likely favorite is Out of The Flames (#7), who ships in from Southern California for trainer Simon Callaghan. This English-bred filly first made a splash in this country with a wild late rush to be third in the Juvenile Turf Sprint on Breeders’ Cup weekend last fall. Since making California her permanent home, she’s run well in three straight sprint starts. I think she’s very much the one to beat. However, there are a slew of other viable options at more inviting prices.

The undefeated Golden Days (#5) clearly has talent as she gets a class test. March X Press (#10) has run well in a number of races and should find this six furlong distance to her liking.

My top pick is RAUCOUS (#8), who looks interesting while cutting back to a sprint, given her closing style. She got a great ride from Eric Cancel when sneaking up the rail to win the Chelsey Flower last year, but she then followed that up with an even better effort in the Jimmy Durante at Del Mar. Racing keenly throughout, she made an early move to the lead at the top of the stretch before getting run down late by the talented Daddy Is a Legend. Given her quick turn of foot, this daughter of Speightstown strikes me as a filly that should appreciate the turnback in distance. Over the past five years, Christophe Clement is 13 for 51 (25 percent, $2.63 ROI) with horses coming off layoffs of 120 to 240 days in turf sprints.

THE PLAY

Win: 8

Exacta Key Box: 8 with 5,7,10,13

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