Sunday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Safalow’s Mission has upside in return from layoff

Aqueduct | Race 8 | Post Time 3:40 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs | Not already a TimeformUS member? Sign up 

This is a difficult race to decipher, primarily due to the presence of a few intriguing Finger Lakes shippers who could take money. The most intriguing of those is Warriors Revenge (#6), who is seeking to take his 2022 record to 8 for 8 after having a magical run of success at Finger Lakes this season. However, he is stepping up significantly in class and should find some company on the front end as he looks to show speed. 

Perhaps the most dangerous of the Finger Lakes shippers is The Institute (#4), since he’s switching into the barn of Linda Rice, who has been having a ton of success at Aqueduct in recent weeks. He’s another who has met weaker out of town, but he’s been a dominant winner of his last couple of races. He’s a well-bred horse who may have just finally turned the corner. Yet I instead want to focus on some runners who have positive experience on this circuit. 

I think the horse to beat is recent maiden winner Today’s Flavor (#5), who comes off a commanding victory last month. He wasn’t beating the strongest field of maidens, but he sprinted home nicely after getting away with slow early splits. The main concern with him is the likely pace, since he figures to get pushed through faster early fractions this time.

There’s a chance this races apart, which makes he want to consider two contenders. On the Hill (#3) merits a look as he attempts to rebound second off the layoff. I can easily forgive his last effort, as he was badly shut off at the start after breaking slowly. I’m still not sure if he can get back to his improved form from the summer, and the addition of blinkers suggests that they may not be looking to come from off the pace again. 

My top pick is SAFALOW’S MISSION (#2). He’s the less accomplished Linda Rice entrant in here, but I actually prefer him at a bigger price. I thought he finished strongly to break his maiden last May in a race that has proven to be a lot stronger than the speed figures indicate. Then he had little chance when he tried this condition in June, as that race was dominated up front and he raced out of position after getting shuffled back early. He figures to get pace to close into in this return from the layoff, and I don’t think this race is quite as tough as it might appear at first glance. Dismiss anything from the Linda Rice barn at your own risk right now.

THE PLAY

WIN: #2 Safalow’s Mission, at 5-1 or greater

USE: 3,5

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