RACE 3: SUSPENDED CAMPAIGN (#2)
Three of the major players in this race faced in the Oct. 28 race at this level. Blue Paynt (#6) achieved the best result that day, but she also looked like the weakest of the three contenders coming into that affair. It’s possible that she’s just improved off the trainer switch to Mertkan Kantarmaci, brother of former trainer Ilkay. However, she also got a pretty good trip last time, despite a mildly slow start. Vegas Weekend (#1) has the best overall credentials, but it feels like she could go favored here off past accomplishments. She was pretty dull in that Oct. 28 affair and may not be the same horse since returning from a lengthy layoff. The horse who might have run best in that common race is Girl of Tosconova (#5), who was buried inside taking kickback for much of the race, and was tentatively ridden when pinned to the rail in the late stages. However, she has the same rider on board here. I’m going in a different direction with Suspended Campaign (#2). The lack of pace in this race is a concern for her, since she does her best running late. However, I don’t want to get too caught up in pace scenarios with a filly who has run well going a mile over this Aqueduct course before. I won’t be too hard on her for a couple of losses in the mud earlier this year, since she’s better on dry going. She returned from a layoff last time with a solid effort behind the superior Tizzy in the Sky, doing well to be the solid allowance performer Wasp. This is a drop in class and the price should be fair enough.
RACE 8: BLAME IT ON MARY (#7)
The early pace in this race could depend on Towering Orbit (#3) actually getting out of the gate, something that she’s struggled with in her last few starts. She was able to rush up after a slow start last time, but that could be difficult breaking from an inside draw. Both halves of the Christophe Clement entry would be hoping for some pace to develop. Derrynane (#1) comes in with more impressive credentials, but she’s been off form in her last few starts against open stakes foes. This is a significant drop in class for her, but I’m skeptical that she she’ll deliver a top performance. I would actually prefer her stablemate drawn on the AE list, Kokopelli (#1A). I admit that I’ve never been this filly’s biggest fan, but I thought she ran better than it might appear last time when closing into a slow pace in a race dominated up front. Yet there are others to consider who figure to be more enticing prices. Palace Gossip (#6) is a candidate to appreciate a turnback in distance after trying to stretch out around two turns in a pair of starts at Saratoga. I did expect her to run better the last time she sprinted in July, but perhaps the return to her preferred 6-furlong distance will suit her. My top pick is Blame It On Mary (#7), who may not get the respect she deserves due to her muddled form lines. However, if you ignore the dirt races and a strange race in July at Saratoga, all of her only turf performances make her a major player in here. She put in the best effort of her career to win over this course in September, and would be competitive here with a similar effort, even as she steps up to a tougher level. I also like that she’s drawn well outside of some other speed in a race that may not feature as fast a pace as it appears on paper.
RACE 9: SEIGE OF BOSTON (#5)
I see two legitimate win candidates in this maiden special weight event that closes out the day, and I much prefer the one who figures to be a bigger price. Indemnify (#7) may take more money given the power of his connections. He’s been the odds-on favorite in all three starts, twice as part of a coupled entry. However, he’s failed to get the job done for Chad Brown, and it’s usually a red flag when horses continue to lose at short prices for this barn. Last time out he finished behind today’s rival Seige of Boston (#5), and there’s no doubt his Jimmy Toner rival ran the better race. Seige of Boston was breaking from the outside post position in a 10-horse field, and his rider never made any attempt to get near the rail. He raced 4-wide around the first turn and proceeded to make his move while 3-wide on the far turn. He actually did well to challenge for the lead in midstretch before getting turned away by early leader Steady On, who came back to win with a 116 TimeformUS Speed Figure. Now he takes the blinkers off, which should allow him to settle a bit better, something that has been a problem for the horse in the past. If he runs back to his most recent performance, I don’t believe Indemnify will be able to turn the tables on him.