Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Sunday, November 27

RACE 6: LIFELOVENLAUGHTER (#5)

I acknowledge that Alluring Angel (#9) is a contender in this Tepin Stakes, but I don’t think she’s some kind of standout in a race where she’s likely to be the clear favorite. She was compromised by a slow pace last time in the Miss Grillo, but she still didn’t produce much of a kick once she was angled into the clear. She had displayed a nice turn of foot in both starts prior to that, but I’m still not convinced that she isn’t primarily a closing sprinter. I wanted to avoid some others who could take money, such as Sweetlou’sgotaces (#1) and Smokie Eyes (#6). The former did run a fast speed figure last time when just failing to break her maiden, but she strikes me as more of a sprinter and Ray Handal has poor stretch-out numbers. Smokie Eyes ran fine in the Chelsey Flower, but I preferred some others from that race. The Classy One (#3)seemed to hit her best stride too late, but might deserve another chance here given her ample turf pedigree. My top pick is the filly who finished just ahead of that one in the Chelsey Flower. Lifelovenlaughter (#5) ran a bit better than the result might indicate, as she was never on the rail while chasing the pace throughout. I think each of the top two finishers in that stakes have some quality, and this filly was trying to battle back late after getting left behind in mid-stretch. There’s more speed signed on this time, and I would actually prefer to see her sit just off the pace and make a late run. Yet I also think she’s been coming along nicely with each start and may still have another move forward in her for a barn that is often underrated on this circuit. At a bigger price, I would also want to use Thirty Thou Kelvin (#7). She ran a lot better than the result suggests in her lone turf start, as she was setting a fast pace that collapsed. She subsequently broke her maiden on dirt, but I prefer her getting back on grass and she figures to be a generous price.

RACE 8: CHANGE OF CONTROL (#2)

I won’t be surprised when Lady Edith (#9) is once again the clear favorite. The public has really come around on this filly. She got ignored when she first came into Christophe Clement’s barn, going off at big prices in a few stakes attempts early in the summer. However, she outran her odds in those races and just kept improving slightly with each start. She obviously put forth one of her better efforts last time when easily winning the Autumn Days over this course, earning a flashy 98 Beyer. However, that was a weaker field than this one, and she worked out a perfect trip. Now Rosario takes over the reins, which will only further hurt her price, but I actually think her main rival is the more likely winner. Change of Control (#2) finished ahead of Lady Edith when they met in the Smart N Fancy at Saratoga. If you’re willing to throw out that failed synthetic experiment last time, you have to admire this mare’s consistency on turf. She may not always win, but she’s usually involved in the finish, regardless of the level of competition. She has also done some of her best work on the NYRA circuit in the past. She won this race last year, a few months after conquering the Intercontinental at Belmont. More recently, she finished a solid fourth against males in the Jaipur before that excellent Smart N Fancy effort. That form was obviously flattered when Caravel returned to win the BC Turf Sprint at massive odds. She drew a great post position and will be tough to beat if able to rebound with her usual solid performance. The other horse that I want to use is Star Devine (#10). She’s another coming off a recent loss to Caravel. She’s winless so far this season, but has faced some very good rivals along the way and rarely puts in a bad effort. She didn’t have much luck with the post position draw, but she’s versatile enough to work out a trip and was highly impressive winning her debut over this course once upon a time.

RACE 9: BELLA MICHELLE (#9)

I’m not trying to beat Bella Michelle (#9) in the finale. I’m not sure if she’ll go favored since another rival has some obvious angles working in her favor, but I view this Carlos Martin trainee as the most likely winner. She’s just getting significant class relief off her two prior dirt attempts. She raced greenly when not getting the best trip in her career debut at Saratoga. That was a field of some quality, so I won’t hold the large margin of defeat against her. She then showed improvement second time out when traveling well behind runners until the top of the stretch. She was no match for impressive winner Padma, but she stayed on well until the late stages. I’m not overly concerned with the turf loss last time and now she’s just getting back on the right surface against a much softer field. Her main rival does appear to be Willfull Desire (#4), who figures to take money based on the rider upgrade to Irad Ortiz from an inferior jockey. She’s also getting a noteworthy trainer switch from Gary Contessa to Ned Allard, whose two recent runners at NYRA have put forth huge performances, running well above their prior form. If this filly takes a similar step forward she’ll be tough to handle, but I expect that these angles will be reflected in her price. Tap It Up (#5) is perhaps a little more interesting. She’s run better on turf than dirt, but her lone main track start did come at a tougher level over a good, sealed track. It was also her debut for a barn that typically gets runners to improve after a start. She’s worth one more chance on dirt switching to Jose Ortiz.

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