Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Monday, January 18

RACE 2: COLORMEPAZZI (#3)

Miami Mumbles owns a set of speed figures that clearly makes him the horse to beat in this spot. He faced some decent foes out of town at Laurel prior to coming to New York last time. While he lost that last start by 8 lengths at 2-1, that was a significantly tougher spot than this one. Winner Tenderfoot returned to win again with an improved figure, and the runner-up also returned to win. Brittany Russell hasn’t sent too many horses to New York, but she’s been virtually unbeatable at Laurel over the past few months. This horse has the tactical speed to work out the right trip and may simply be the best horse. I prefer him to the other short price Dust Devil. This runner did close well to finish second in his first start at NYRA last time, but he also got a fast pace to close into against cheaper company. He’s never really stepped forward from a speed figure standpoint since early in his career, and he’s unlikely to get a favorable pace scenario this time. I suppose a viable alternative is a horse like Time to Testify, who makes his first start off a trainer switch to Wayne Potts. Yet I want to get a little more creative. Longshot Colormepazzi has some form from last winter that’s actually decent, particularly that third-place finish to Chowda on Jan. 17. He disappointed in a stakes after that and was laid up for a while. He made it back to the races at Finger Lakes in October, but didn’t get the most clever ride over a sloppy track. He tried this same level last time, but the winner Perceived was a dropdown who is just better than anything he faces in this spot Colormepazzi showed some speed before fading that day, again perhaps not handling a wet track. I like that he’s now putting starts back-to-back, and he finally gets another chance over a dry track. Furthermore, he possesses tactical speed in a race where that should be an asset.

RACE 4: TIMELY TRADITION (#7)

It’s hard to argue with the form of likely favorite Letmetakethiscall. She had shown talent at different times in the past, but she’s taken her game to a new level since getting claimed by James Ferraro. She looked like she could have run through a brick wall two back when speeding away through the stretch. Dylan Davis tried out different tactics last time as he rated this mare off the pace, but she still came through late with that strong run to the wire. She’s fast and versatile, and loves this track. The only knock I have against her is that she’s going to be a short price this time. I’m taking a shot against the favorite with her main rival Timely Tradition. This 7-year-old mare didn’t run well last time in the Primonetta at Laurel, but she didn’t get the best trip that day. She was aggressively ridden early while racing wide on the turn and faded behind a winner who is in the midst of an impressive win streak. Prior to that Timely Tradition had been in career-best form. She won three in a row through the early summer before getting undone by a poor trip at Saratoga on Aug. 9. She rebounded with good efforts in the fall, topped by her third-place finish in the Iroquois when making the first move into a quick pace. She fits well at this level, but may have to hope that the mare to her inside doesn’t show up with her best effort. The other horse to consider is the Parx-based speedster Madam Meena. She could lead this field early from her rail draw, but I’m not quite convinced that she stacks up against these from a class perspective.

RACE 7: CALL ON MISCHIEF (#5)

Portal Creek will win this Interborough if she runs as well as she did when finishing a game second behind Sharp Starr in the Grade 3 Go For Wand last time out. The major question she has to answer is whether the sloppy track moved her up, because her prior form doesn’t exactly make her a standout in this field. Juan Carlos Guerrero generally sends live runners to this circuit, and she appears to be the controlling speed in this field, which makes her especially dangerous over this tricky 7-furlong distance. She probably is the most likely winner, but I have enough reservations at a short price for me to look at some alternatives. Saguaro Row won this race last year, but she was in much better form at that time. She put in an inexplicably poor performance in the Barbara Fritchie last winter before going to the sidelines, and her return in the Garland of Roses was fairly lackluster. She might get back on track here, but the prospect of a slow pace doesn’t enhance her chances. I’m instead giving a shot to Call On Mischief as she moves up in class. This filly has been popular at the claim box recently, getting taken for a shocking $100,000 a Keeneland before Kelly Breen put in the $62,500 claim last time. Clearly there’s something about this horse that makes her appealing to horsemen. Her form leading into that Dec. 18 affair didn’t exactly corroborate those opinions, but she did take a noticeable step forward in her local debut. She got a good trip stalking the pace, but stayed on well behind a loose-on-the-lead winner. That 111 TimeformUS Speed Figure certainly puts her in the mix against this field. Furthermore, Kelly Breen is 12 for 38 (32%, $2.33 ROI) first off the claim in dirt sprints over the past 5 years. It has to be a good sign that he’s running this filly here instead of the $62,500 optional claimer early in the day.

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