Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Sunday, February 12


Likely favorite Two Redheads (#2) took some money in her first start against on dirt last time, which was also her first foray into NY-bred company. She didn’t break that sharply and had to be angled off the rail down the backstretch as she advanced while wide. She could never get to the winner, but did hold on gamely for second against a much better field. A repeat of that performance would make her awfully tough to beat as she drops in class. Linda Rice is 13 for 29 (45%, $1.91 ROI) with MSW to MCL dropdowns on dirt at Aqueduct over 5 years. I’m not against her, but she’s pretty obvious and figures to be an underlay. I could entertain experienced alternatives like Hypnocurrency (#4) and Bernt Again (#7). The former has some questions to answer going this distance, but she did run well when dropped in for a lower tag two back. Bernt Again nearly won at this level last time, but that was a slow race, and she may naturally be more of a turf horse. My top pick at a bigger price is Cause I’m Elegant (#6). This filly barely lifted a hoof on debut against tougher. Yet she fared better last time when dropped in for a tag. She still didn’t possess much early speed, but at least she was running on mildly in the late stages. She will have to do better again if she’s to be competitive here, but at least there’s an upward trajectory now. The stretch-out in distance figures to help, since Creative Cause is a 16% dirt route sire. She finished up like a horse who would want more ground, and David Donk is 5 for 26 (19%, $4.28 ROI) with maidens stretching out from sprints to routes on dirt at Aqueduct over 5 years. 


The Linda Rice entry figures to take plenty of money in this conditioned claimer, with Bourbon’s Hope (#1A) looking like the stronger half of this pair. This horse has more representative races that make him a strong fit at this level than anyone else in this field. However, it’s not as if he’s showed much improvement since getting claimed by Linda Rice. He couldn’t get the job done as the favorite off the claim back in November, and then was no match for a tougher field two back. Dropped back down to this level last time, I thought he ran on decently after getting mildly steadied on the backstretch. However, he still lacked some late punch. He’s the one to beat, but I’m not thrilled with the idea of taking a short price on him. My top pick is another horse exiting that same race. B C Glory Days (#2) finished several lengths behind Bourbon’s Hope in that Jan. 1 event, but I thought he arguably ran just as well. He broke well but then got eased off the pace before making a middle move to challenge the leaders on the far turn. He ultimately faded, but he was also racing over a wet track that he may not have cared for. His prior effort on Dec. 9 was excellent, as he ran off setting legitimate fractions before settling for second. Then last time he again made a premature move going a demanding 9 furlongs, which is just too far for him. He’s back at the right distance and I think he could get a more patient ride from Katie Davis. The other horse that I want to use at a big price is Romanoatsee (#7). He’s light on speed figures, but he’s steadily been improving since launching a comeback last fall. He’s bred to handle route distances and strikes me as one that will get getting with added ground.


Late Night Larry (#7) should go favored here as the new face in this New York-bred bunch. Despite being eligible for these races, he’s only raced in Maryland and Delaware thus far. He seemingly earned his chance to prove himself on this circuit with a decisive claiming victory at Laurel last time. However, that was going a bit farther than this, and he has been most successful in races around two turns. Furthermore, it’s not guarantee that he will be able to transfer that form to this circuit. Brittany Russell has plenty of success out of town, but she is just 7 for 46 (15%, $0.96 ROI) in NYRA dirt races over the past 5 years. He can obviously win, but I don’t expect him to offer any value. Main rivals Joey Loose Lips (#1) and Safalow’s Mission (#3) also make some sense, since they’re at least proven at this level. Yet I’m not sure either one really wants to go this far and others intrigue me at bigger prices. Two horses in this field exit the eighth race on Jan. 26, which was a tougher race for the level than this one, due to the presence of dominant winner Overstep. Uno (#4) tried to race that rival on the front end last time and paid the price, fading in the stretch after dueling through honest fractions. He actually ran pretty well sprinting two back, but he had previously been successful going longer distances at Finger Lakes. I think he can fare better here at a decent price. My top pick is Son of an Ex (#8), who also comes out of that Jan. 26 affair. He found himself a little too far back in the early stages that day, but he was running on well at the end, albeit belatedly. He hasn’t been in an ideal spot since returning from a layoff this winter, overmatched on Dec. 18 before getting a lackluster ride going too far on Jan. 5. He’s finally in a spot where he seems to fit well and hopefully the addition of blinkers can keep him a little more involved in the early going. He’s certainly good enough to beat this field on his best day.

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