Saturday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Yankee Division is back at the right level

Aqueduct | Race 5 | Post Time 2:55 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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Rudy Rodriguez appears to hold a strong hand in this New York-bred N2X optional claimer. The likely favorite is Wudda U Think Now (#7), who is moving up in class off a victory at the N1X allowance level last time. He had to work a bit harder than expected to get the job done as the even-money favorite, but the runner-up did finish well clear of the rest. The problem is that, even though that race got a reasonably fast speed figure, the second-place finisher returned to regress badly in a subsequent start. I still have respect for Wudda U Think Now, as he’s shown ability in prior starts, especially two back when second to the talented Jerry the Nipper. Yet I prefer Rudy’s other horse at a bigger price.

YANKEE DIVISION (#1) is coming off a brief layoff here, but he’s been working throughout his time away, suggesting that he didn’t have a major issue. He ran quite well to be third at this level two back, chasing an honest pace while earning a strong 112 TimeformUS Speed Figure. And last time he had little chance to win when placed over his head in the Alex M. Robb, but he nevertheless stayed on gamely through the stretch to be third behind classy stakes performers Bankit and Mr. Buff. A repeat of either of those efforts will make him tough here, and his tactical speed should play well in a race that doesn’t feature an abundance of pace.

I would also use Bourbon Bay (#8), who may not have cared for a wet track last time and has prior efforts that would make him a player here. He also has the tactical speed to get the right trip after the scratch of the speedy Danebury, so do the two Rudy Rodriguez runners.

THE PLAY

Win: 1

Exacta Key Box: 1 with 5,7,8

Trifecta: 1 with 7,8 with 2,5,7,8

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