Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Sunday, January 2

RACE 1: FLOWER MOON (#2)

From a speed figure standpoint, Precipitate is an omnifig – all of her numbers are faster than the best figures earned by any of her rivals.. It’s obviously a concern that she’s been off for so long, but she was cut out to be a pretty good horse at this time last year. She faced some pretty good rivals in her prior races, as Miss Brazil, Caramel Swirl, and Obligatory have all gone on to become stakes winners since beating her early in her career. Chad can win off layoffs, but she’s going to be an awfully short price. Her main rival is the other Chad Brown trainee Default Protection. She took plenty of money in her debut here last month but didn’t make much of an impression, just staying on mildly for third. That wasn’t the strongest maiden field for the level, which is one of the reasons why she took so much money as the new face. Now she stretches out, which shouldn’t pose a major problem. While Chad Brown is 16 for 48 (33%) with 3YO+ maidens going from sprints to dirt routes in their 2nd starts over the past 5 years, the ROI is just $1.27, suggesting these types are often overbet. I’m most interested in a different second time starter. Flower Moon was claimed out of her debut for $50k and now moves up in class in her first start off the claim for Linda Rice. This barn is an impressive 18 for 38 (47%, $2.64 ROI) first off the claim with maidens on dirt over the past 5 years and 10 for 19 (53%, $3.21 ROI) in dirt routes within that sample. She showed good early speed in the debut before getting reeled in by the heavy favorite. That was a slow race, but this long-striding filly gave the impression of one who should stretch out. She figures to lead this field early, and could take them a long way.

RACE 5: ORDER OF MAGNITUDE (#7)

Long Term figures to attract support as he stretches out for his second career start. His debut was somewhat lackluster considering the lack of depth to that field and the fact that he got a great trip sitting on top of a slow pace. However, he may appreciate more ground given that he’s a son of Curlin out of a dam who was best in dirt routes. Todd Pletcher is 5 for 9 (56%, $3.69 ROI) with maiden second time starters in 9-furlong dirt races at Aqueduct over the past 5 years. There are things to like, but I’m skeptical that he’ll be much of a price. Among those with positive dirt experience, I prefer Constitutionlawyer. This horse has run well in both career starts. He’s obviously been targeted at races that require stamina from the start of his career, and he might just be a runner who has needed to race into fitness. He closed well behind some very good rivals in his debut and then overcame a wide trip last time over a very demanding surface. I want him more than Perfect Flight out of that race. Yet I’m going in a different direction for my top pick. Order of Magnitude has to improve to beat this field, but I don’t think we’ve yet seen the best of this colt. He had no chance in his debut when his rider guided him down to the rail on a day when you wanted to be off the inside. He rode the inside path until the stretch and just raced greenly. They stretched him out on turf next time, but he’s not really bred to be a turf horse. He seems like one that wants more ground, so I like him finally getting the chance to go two turns on dirt. Chad Brown is 9 for 30 (30%, $2.40 ROI) in 9F dirt races at Aqueduct over the past 5 years.

RACE 6: VIOLENT POINT (#5)

Bustin Bay figures to vie for favoritism as she makes her first start off the claim for Rob Falcone. She’s moving up in class out of cheaper races, but she has run competitive speed figures in most of her recent starts. That said, she is getting claimed off a trainer who was been on a roll in New York lately, so she has to hold her form and do so against a tougher field. I’m not way against her, but I think there are other viable options at better prices. Fair Regis makes sense as she drops in class after finding a New York-bred optional claimer to be too tough for her last time. Her overall form is a bit spotty but she’s run plenty of races that are good enough to beat this field. The one drawback is the fact that she drew the rail in a race that features other speed to her outside, so she could get outrun in the early stages. My top pick is Violent Point. This filly’ recent form is better than it appears. She ran deceptively well two back at Saratoga when she stumbled badly at the start and recovered to rally for second at a higher level. She didn’t run well last time at Finger Lakes, but she was going out for a barn that has been pretty cold lately. Now she’s switching into the stable of Linda Rice, who places her realistically at the $25k claiming level. She’s handled wet tracks in the past and she has the early speed to get into a stalking position behind likely leader Quality Stones. I think she could fly under the radar and go off at a square price in a race where I don’t trust many of her rivals.

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