Friday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Ekhtibaar can rebound first off the claim for Atras

Aqueduct | Race 2 | Post Time 1:20 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs
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Likely favorite Creative Style (#6) is moving up in claiming price by a factor of two after winning for a $12,500 tag last time, but this isn’t really a move up in class from a competition standpoint. He’s exiting a very strong race for that price tag and he’s facing a couple of the same rivals that he defeated last time. That was his first start off the claim for Danny Gargan, and now he’s moving into the barn of Wayne Potts barn, who is 8 for 40 (20%, $1.98 ROI) with last-out winners off the claim on dirt over the past 5 years. While he’s made four consecutive starts on wet tracks, he handles fast going without issue. The bigger hurdle may be the 1 1/8-mile distance, as he seems slightly better around one turn. That said, he’s still the horse to beat.

I prefer main rival EKHTIBAAR (#3). This 8-year-old dropped all the way down to the $12,500 level last time and lost, but that was the same strong race won by Creative Style. He was unable to make the early lead that day and had to wait for room on the far turn before staying on for third. Now he moves into the barn of Rob Atras, who is a strong 7 for 23 (30%, $2.07 ROI) first off the claim in dirt routes over the past 5 years. He has handled this 9-furlong distance in the past, and this time he figures to work out a more comfortable trip. While he’s obviously seen better days, the barn change coupled with his back class make him appealing in this spot.

I prefer him to other logical options like Lucky Ramsey (#4), who has done his best work at Laurel, and Super Dude (#5), whose last race was lackluster. Perhaps Air Attack (#1) is more interesting underneath, as he gets back to a more appropriate distance after running well going a mile two back.


Win: 3

Exacta: 3 with 1,4,5,6

Trifecta: 3 with 1,6 with 1,4,5,6

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