Likely favorite Chaysenbryn (#1) has turned into a completely different horse since stretching out in distance over this Aqueduct main track. She announced her improved form with that 10-length triumph against cheaper in November and she’s since validated that performance with a pair of solid results at this level. She arguably put in the best effort of her career last time when surviving a pace duel with today’s rival Cousin Basil (#2), battling back on the rail late before just succumbing to the perfect-trip winner. A repeat of that performance will make her pretty tough for this field to beat, and she brings a speed figure consistency to the table that some others lack. However, she figures to be a short price and there are at least a couple of intriguing alternatives.
One of those is New York Rock Star (#6). At first glance it might appear that this filly failed to transfer her Parx form to the NYRA circuit last time. Yet she never really had a fair chance in that race, as she was outrun in the early stages and steadied behind a tiring rival at the top of the stretch when attempting to make her move. She’s better than that and shouldn’t be hindered by the stretch-out in distance. However, trainer Jamie Ness is 0 for 13 on the NYRA circuit over the past 5 years.
My top pick is HALO CITY (#3). It took this filly 12 starts to break her maiden but now she’s seeking the third victory in a row after twice visiting the winner’s circle in January. She beat males to get the diploma on Jan. 3, closing resolutely to get up in the mud over a pair of rivals (Mandatory and Ajhar) who returned to validate that 93 TimeformUS Speed Figure in their subsequent starts. While she won a slow race against claimers 7 days ago, she was just cruising to the wire as much the best, the final time perhaps slowed by the pedestrian early fractions. Now she makes first start off the claim for Natalia Lynch, who did get her first victory as a trainer in a stakes at Laurel last month.
Exacta Key Box: 3 with 1,2,5,6
Trifecta: 3 with 1,6 with ALL