Thursday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: First Line gets subtle class relief on the stretch-out

Aqueduct | Race 8 | Post Time 3:47 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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Our Last Buck (#6) figures to be a heavy favorite as he steps up in class after clearing his New York-bred conditions. His recent speed figures are simply faster than those of his main rivals and he’s not actually stepping up in class from a practical sense given the weak field assembled for this level. My one concern about taking this horse at a short price is the distance. While he did have a legitimate pace excuse when second by 13 lengths in that one 9-furlong test at Saratoga over the summer, he still fell apart in the last furlong like a horse that just isn’t cut out for two turns. He has plenty of natural speed and he’s able to use that to great affect in his one-turn races, but I’m just not sure that he has the stamina to grind out a two-turn victory against quality foes. Now, perhaps there aren’t any such rivals in this field, but I think there’s at least one alternative that could prove dangerous.

Three horses exit that 8th race at October 9, and the one that I want out of that affair is FIRST LINE (#5). This gelding did not get the most comfortable trip as he was rated behind and between horses early before getting checked back in tight quarters on the far turn. I just felt he was always out of position that day, and he never really quit running even when soundly beaten in the stretch. He was overmatched in his first start against winners, but he’d be a real rival for Our Last Buck if able to get back to his maiden-winning form. There isn’t much speed in this field, and I expect Luis Rodriguez-Castro to send him to the front in attempt to secure the early lead from the favorite.

The other horse that I would use at a price, primarily underneath, is Fried Rice King (#3). He looks a little cheap, but he was running on strongly at the end of a live race last time, and he’s one who clearly wants every bit of this 9-furlong trip.

THE PLAY

Win: 5
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 3,4,6
Trifecta: 5,6 with 5,6 with ALL

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