Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Sunday, February 6


Ruvies in Time is the horse to beat, and I can’t make a strong case against her. She is moving up back to the open N1X level after beating New York-breds last time, and she hasn’t had success for this condition in the past. That said, it seems like she’s gotten back into form for Rudy Rodriguez. She made her first start off the claim for this barn last time and put in a good effort to win by nearly 2 lengths over today’s rival My Roxy Girl. It is fair to note that My Roxy Girl had some trouble in the stretch that day, but I’m more confident that Ruvies in Time is moving forward. Rudy Rodriguez has exceptional stats in this situation. Over the past 5 years, he is 8 for 20 (40%, $3.66 ROI) second off the claim with last-out winners in Aqueduct dirt sprints. She projects to work out a good trip stalking just in behind the speeds and I think she can win right back. My Roxy Girl is the main rival, and she did have an excuse when she lost at this level last time. She made a 3-wide sweep to the lead on the far turn on a day when the rail was an advantage. The three horses who beat her spent a significant portion of their trips inside, so she ran better than it seems. I just think that Ruvies in Time has a higher ceiling if she’s getting back into form. I prefer these two to Violent Vixen, who could take some money here off a pair of blowout wins. However, she got to the lead and the rail last time on yet another speed-friendly day and I think that exaggerated her performance. 


This is a pretty competitive New York-bred optional claiming affair. One horse who could attract support who I’m not really interested in is Wasp. This filly consistently took money in a series of races earlier in her career and never really panned out. Now she’s returning from a lengthy layoff, and Todd Pletcher does not have good stats off layoffs in New York, and especially at Aqueduct. The TimeformUS Pace Projector is predicting a situation favoring horses on or near the lead, and that should obviously help Grudge. This mare ran pretty well off the claim for Rob Atras last time, just getting run down in the late stages after dueling for the early lead. I’m not totally convinced that she’s the most talented horse in this field, but she could get the right kind of trip. However, there’s another speed horse who should also take advantage of a lack of pace. Beautiful Karen was badly compromised by wet tracks in her last couple of starts, as she doesn’t seem to get over that going, especially when she’s unable to make the early lead. Linda Rice even entered her for a $25k tag off those performances before scratching her from that spot. I think it’s a good sign that she’s staying at this level, and I believe she’s finding herself back in the kind of race that favors her running style. She has prior speed figures that suggest she’s every bit as good as Grudge if she can still run. I like the rider switch to Dylan Davis as well. Byhubbyhellomoney also makes sense, but she could be compromised by her closing style, and 6 furlongs may be on the short side for her.


There are a couple of out-of-town shippers in this Ruthless who merit strong consideration. The local horses in this spot aren’t exactly the most formidable group, and there are things to recommend about both invading fillies who break from the outside slots. Shotgun Hottie could go favored as she makes her first start off a trainer switch to Bill Morey. While it might be a tall order to improve on the work of Tom Amoss, this filly already showed ability in her prior starts out of town. She was very game to win her two-turn debut two back at Churchill Downs after getting passed in the stretch. And then last time she just seemed to run off in the early stages and understandably tired late. That was a solid allowance field and she’s getting some class relief here. My one concern is that I’m not sure she really wants to go shorter. She strikes me as a true router given her physical size and scope, but these types can sometimes handle 7 furlongs. I do slightly prefer Knowing Glance to her inside, and she could go off at a better price. This filly is coming off a pair of resounding defeats, but she was meeting much tougher company in both of those races. That Fern Creek Stakes at Churchill Downs was a very tough affair, won by the talented Marissa’s Lady. I won’t fault her for losing to that field, and then last time she just wanted no part of two turns at Oaklawn. She also ran into a potential star in Martha Washington winner Secret Oath. She ran very well to win on Oct. 21 beating the much improved Girl With a Dream. I like the turnback, and I think her connections have found a favorable spot for her. I’d also consider Champagne Poetry, who seems best of the local horses. She did beat a strong rail bias when she won last time, but that was a weak maiden field.

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