Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Friday, November 4

RACE 1: AVANT (#3)

I want to lean towards experience in this one-mile maiden event for two-year-old fillies. Fireline (#7) could go favored after taking some money when she debuted for Chad Brown last month going 6 1/2 furlongs in the slop. She was outrun early and then couldn’t match strides with her well meant stablemate Good Sam, who really turned on the speed through the stretch. This daughter of Arrogate seems like one who will appreciate added ground, and she’s bred to have ability, out of a graded stakes-winning dam. The drawback is that Chad Brown is just 5 for 31 (16%, $1.37 ROI) with 2-year-old maiden second time starters in dirt routes over the past 5 years. I prefer the other second time starter in this field. Avant (#3) switches surfaces after making her debut on the turf at Saratoga. She was fairly one-paced that day, never showing any turn of foot after racing 3-wide on the turns. However, she got a pretty conservative ride from Irad Ortiz, never asked for her best at any point in the race. She had trained pretty well on dirt prior to that start, and it seems like she’s continued to train forwardly since then. She’s bred to handle dirt as a daughter of Uncle Mo out of dam who produced dirt stakes winner Sower in addition to other siblings who preferred this surface. Todd Pletcher is a solid 10 for 30 (33%, $1.62 ROI) with maiden second time starters going from turf to dirt routes over the past 5 years. There are some first time starters with interesting pedigrees, including the Into Mischief-sired half-sister to Scat Daddy, Accidental Icon (#5). However, Bill Mott doesn’t do particularly well with first time starters in dirt routes.

RACE 9: W W FITZY (#6)

I imagine that First to Act (#3) will attract support in this Turnback the Alarm merely because she finished second to Nest in her most recent start. However, she wasn’t remotely competitive with that standout 3-year-old filly while nevertheless running on well for second. She comes into this race owning some of the fastest speed figures and she obviously handles the distance. I view her as the horse to beat and recognize that she still has upside in just her seventh career start. However, I don’t think she’s so likely to win that I would want to accept a short price in a fairly competitive race. Battle Bling (#7) and Coach (#5) faced off at Laurel last time where the former notched her second victory in a row. However, that was Coach’s first time start since last winter and she gave a solid account of herself. I was somewhat troubled by the way she seemed to disengage on the turn before coming on again in the stretch, but perhaps she wasn’t handling the sloppy track. Both make sense here, but I wanted to go in another direction. W W Fitzy (#6) could be the best price of those I’ve mentioned here and I think she has as strong a chance to win as anyone. She has the right running style for this race, and is drawn well outside of main rival First to Act. This is an interesting trainer switch to Tom Morley, who got longshot Dynadrive to win off a similar switch from Robertino Diodoro for Flying P earlier in the year. I prefer this spot for her to the sprint stakes she was entered in last week. A repeat of the 116 TimeformUS Speed Figure she earned last time at Saratoga makes her competitive, and she was flattered by the subsequent victory of the runner-up in that spot. 


Showemyourheels (#8) could go favored here despite disappointing as the favorite in an off-the-turf affair last time. She ran quite well on turf in her career debut at Saratoga two back, and would appear to prefer this surface. However, that was a sprint and now she’s being asked to stretch out in distance. She is bred to got this far on the dam’s side. Furthermore, Danny Gargan is 8 for 25 (32%, $3.92 ROI) maidens stretching out on turf over the past 5 years. I’m not against her, but I do think a couple of other rivals are interesting at better prices. First time starter Sweetness (#4) merits respect for dangerous connections. Jorge Abreu has an excellent record with his debut runners, and he’s 4 for 9 (44%, $6.88 ROI) with first time starters on turf for owner Lawrence Goichman. This filly is by solid turf sire Oscar Performance and is a half-sister to multiple turf winners, including turf specialist Shawdyshawdyshawdy. My top pick is second time starter Caribbean Breeze (#7). I thought this filly showed some potential on debut, where she raced very greenly. She was climbing on the backstretch after getting outrun early, seeming to react badly to kickback on the dirt. Now she switches surfaces for her second start. The dam was best on turf as a racehorse, though she hasn’t yet produced a surface winner, and this filly is a daughter of emerging turf sire Mendelssohn. Brad Cox is 5 for 22 (23%, $3.12 ROI) with maiden second time starters going from dirt sprints to turf routes over the past 5 years. 

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