Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Saturday, November 20


Fort Washington is clearly the horse to beat in his second start. He put in an encouraging effort in his debut, coming up just short at odds of 7-1. He broke a step slowly and lagged at the back of the pack in the early stages. Yet he gathered some momentum on the turn and was finishing best of all at the end to get up for third. There were multiple horses hitting the wire together in that spot, but the race was flattered when Daunt came back to finish a decent third in the Awad with an improved speed figure. If he improves at all on that performance he’ll be tough to beat, but there are some others to consider. My top pick is Dr Brownes Miracle. He just ran like a horse that needed his debut, and he took a big step forward in his second career start. I would argue that he might have been right there at the finish if not for his trip. He broke slowly, and then rushed up to chase a fast pace. He then was guided inside in upper stretch, encountering traffic as the speeds backed up in front of him. All things considered, he stayed on well for third despite that eventful journey. He’s raced over 7 furlongs in both starts to date, but this horse is bred to go longer. I like the stretch-out and think he can make use of his tactical speed here. The other horse that intrigues me at a bigger price is first time starter Winit. There’s not a ton of immediate damside pedigree for this son of Tapit, but the dam herself is a full-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner New Money Honey, who earned $1.5 million on turf. John Kimmel is 0 for 22 with first time starters in turf routes over the past 5 years, so this colt probably needs a start. However, he has actually been working pretty well, as he moves smoothly and gallops out strongly in his workouts. I won’t be surprised if he runs on for a piece.


Perhaps Colton’s Command will take money again after he was a perplexing favorite last time out at this level. He’s run fine in his last few starts and the turnback to 6 furlongs in a race with a bit more pace will certainly suit him. I just feel like we’ve already seen the best he has to offer and wanted to look elsewhere if he was going to be a short price. Call Me Harry could also attract support as he moves up in class to face open company after handling New York-breds last time out. He was flattered when runner-up Dancing Buck came out of that race to win next time out, but I thought Call Me Harry got a great trip that day. I’m more interested in a couple of horses coming off poor results. Kawhi Me a River finished fourth last time out in the Carle Place against 3-year-olds, but he arguably could have won with a better trip. He broke a step slowly but then was surprisingly rated far off the pace, going wide every step of the way. He actually closed decently in the lane, but he’s better when he can be forwardly placed. I expect a change in tactics this time. My top pick is Scuttlebuzz. This horse lost all chance in the opening furlongs last time when he broke slowly and then was heavily restrained by his rider who seemed intent on keeping him in last place despite the glacial early pace. He had no chance to get involved with that kind of trip, but his prior form had been strong. I like the turnback to 6 furlongs for him and he was best when beating Call Me Harry two back. Manny Franco figures to have him more involved early, and there’s some pace in this race.


I have no argument against favored Serve the King, who is clearly the one to beat in this Red Smith. He can be a little one pace and lacks much turn of foot, so the stretch-out to these marathon distances has really brought out the best in him. He just kept coming to win the Johns Call two back, and last time grinded away to a second-place finish in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic. That result was flattered when some runners who finished behind him came back to run respectably in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. He’s a major player in this spot, but I’m not keen to take him as the favorite after he was bigger prices in his recent starts. Channel Cat is obviously a player with his best effort. He’s compiled some disappointing results recently, but you can make some excuses for those performances. He was chasing a fast pace at Kentucky Downs last time and prior to that was in tough spots over the summer. He figures to control the pace here and that makes him dangerous. Yet there are some others at bigger prices who could get in the mix and I want to find some value in this race. My top pick is Price Talk. I think this 4-year-old’s prior connections may have given up on him a little too soon over the summer when they dropped him in for a $50k tag. He had a legitimate excuse for his only poor effort in June and he’s since bounced back with two consecutive victories. The most recent of those was his first start off the claim for Tony Dutrow, and he took a big step forward, closing impressively through the lane to beat a strong allowance field. The stretch-out to 1 3/8 miles is obviously a question, but he’s by good stamina influence Kitten’s Joy out of a dam who is a half-sister to a winner of the 14-furlong San Juan Capistrano. He has the tactical speed to get a forward early position from this outside draw, and I think he has a big chance. I also would use Corelli at a price. This horse has run well when he’s gotten reasonably firm turf. That wasn’t the case two back at Woodbine, but he got back on his preferred going last time and outran his odds to be a good fourth in the Knickerbocker. He probably wants to go a bit longer than that and could get overlooked here.

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