Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Friday, February 7


Fierce Lady may go favored once again, but I have little trust left in this filly after she faded to finish off the board in her return against New York-bred stakes company last time. While the result was very disappointing, it should be acknowledged that she set a very fast pace after getting gunned to the lead from the rail. Yet even given that less-than-ideal trip, she should have shown more staying power in the lane. It was among the worst outings of her career, and that’s been the pattern, as she has steadily declined in each start since her stellar debut at Belmont last summer. I have similar feelings about the other runner likely to attract support, Autonomous. This filly looked bound for better things following her debut triumph at Aqueduct in November, but she disappointed as the favorite in an inexcusable loss at Penn National and then again failed as the prohibitive choice last time. She should appreciate cutting back to a sprint, but I prefer others. Leaveuwithasmile makes some sense based on her recently improved form at Laurel. She earned an impressive 98 TimeformUS Speed Figure for her victory last time out and she’s been cycling towards such a performance for a while. I’m definitely using her, but my top pick is the second time starter Bankruptonthebeach. This filly made her debut about 7 months ago at Monmouth and put in a very encouraging performance, closing from just off the pace to get up despite racing a bit greenly though the lane. The speed figure wasn’t particularly fast, but she’s had plenty of time to mature since then and she’s bred to have a future. Her dam is a full-sister to graded stakes winner Dancinginherdreams and she sold for a hefty sum as a 2-year-old in training. Furthermore, Jason Servis has solid statistics with runners coming off layoffs.



Lucky Move will win this race if she repeats her recent efforts at Aqueduct, both of which came against stakes company. She was unlucky to lose a very close decision two back in the Bay Ridge when she wound up on the wrong side of a head bob. Then last time she closed gamely after winner Bellera in the open company Ladies Handicap. Based on those efforts, she has a pretty significant class edge on this field. The problem is that both of those performances came around two turns at the 1 1/8 miles distance, and she clearly relishes that added ground. The turnback to a one-turn mile may negatively affect her, and I think that opens this race up to some seemingly slower contenders. The Pace Projector is predicting that Cartwheel should be up front in the early going in a situation favoring the leader. Unlucky the favorite, Cartwheel wants no part of two turns, so she should appreciate the cutback in distance here. She’s been successful going this one-turn distance in the past and all of her efforts immediately prior to that Bay Ridge debacle make her pretty formidable. I’m using her prominently, but I’m interested in a filly stepping up in class. Am Impazible is seeking her third consecutive victory here and I believe she can continue her streak despite the rise in class. She ran her first two races like she needed more ground and that was confirmed last time when she steadily drew away from a solid N1X allowance field going a mile. Left in her wake that day was today’s rival The Great Johanna, who had been dominating her competition in surrounding starts. Am Impazible has to get a little faster to beat this group, but she still has upside and figures to work out a good stalking trip.



Potential favorite Hawaiian Noises was no match for Grade 1 winner Complexity two back but rebounded to easily defeat an overmatched field as the odds-on choice last time. While he earned a respectable speed figure for that effort, he got a perfect trip in doing so. I won’t put anything past this barn, but this runner is facing a much sterner test here and seems a little dicey at what figures to be a short price. I’m similarly skeptical of his former stablemate Life In Shambles, who was claimed away from Servis by Mertkan Kantarmaci last time. He’d be tough if able to repeat that recent performance, but a lot of things went his way that day and he’s meeting a tougher field this time. I prefer others, and one of the more trustworthy contenders appears to be Win With Pride. This gelding is probably no longer capable of delivering the kind of performances we saw from him last winter, but his two recent efforts since returning from the layoff are actually better than they seem. He should fall into a better stalking trip this time with promising apprentice Cardenas named to ride. I’m using him prominently, but my top pick is the likely speed Aristocratic. The Pace Projector is predicting a situation favoring the front-runner, and that is going to make this horse awfully dangerous. He found himself dueling for the lead through quick fractions last time and was swallowed up late by a couple of deep closers late. Nevertheless he was extremely game that day and will be very tough here with a similar effort. This is the kind of horse who can relax on the lead when allowed to do so, and he usually runs his best speed figures under those circumstances. There’s a lot to like about a runner who is unlikely to be favored.


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