Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Sunday, March 12


The 26-time winner Sevier (#4) figures to attract plenty of support as he drops in for this $32k tag. He’s been a fixture in Parx starter allowance races for Jamie Ness over the past couple of seasons, at times running some towering speed figures. More recently he’s come back down to Earth, though he has been getting the job done lately in some decent races at Delaware and Laurel. Now he’s making his first start in New York for a barn that has found the key to winning on this circuit. Ness had a poor record at NYRA for much of his training career, but he’s 5 for 18 (28%, $3.68 ROI) here over the past year. This gelding’s speed should play well here and he merits respect. Yet I think he’s facing a couple of legitimate rivals. Glory Road (#1) is certainly dangerous is he makes his first start off the claim for Linda Rice. He ran very well in his return from the layoff for Orlando Noda two back, but was somewhat disappointing last time on the stretch-out to 7 furlongs. He can obviously rebound now that he’s going out for a sharp barn, but I wanted a different horse out of that Feb. 9 affair. Risk Profile (#3) finished about a length ahead of Glory Road after putting in a nice stretch rally to get up for third. I didn’t love the ride from Jorge Vargas, as he dropped back racing along the rail on the far turn before rallying in the stretch in a race that was dominated towards the front end. I think he’ll be more effective here if Kendrick Carmouche can be more aggressive. He gets the distance and seems to be rounding back into form for Michelle Giangiulio.


There is plenty of speed in this New York-bred affair, which could work against Excellent Timing (#6). This horse owns the best TimeformUS Speed Figures in the field, but he keeps failing to get the job done over and over again. His last victory came nearly two years ago, and while he’s been against some difficult pace situations since then, that figures to be the case once again. It’s just hard to see him shaking loose with horses like Foolish Ghost and Quickflash in the mix. I don’t think either one of those has a great chance to win, but they do figure to set things up from a runner coming from off the pace. The logical closer is Scilly Cay (#5), who I view as the clear horse to beat given that pace scenario. He hasn’t gotten the job done since mid-December, but he’s run well in all of his recent starts. He just missed at this level two back when he got another favorite pace setup, and last time he closed gamely behind some tougher open company foes. He just makes plenty of sense and deserves to be favored. The horse that I think is most likely to offer sufficient value is Warriors Revenge (#2). At first glance he might seem like another that could get swept up in that pace duel, but he’s been effective using stalking tactics in the past. I thought he ran well to notch his N1X victory two back. Then last time no one was beating impressive winner Bold Journey, and he was competitive with Scilly Cay for the place spot until the late stages. I think he’s better than that effort, and I trust Kendrick Carmouche to put him in the right spot early. Mark Hennig does particularly well with these Windylea Farm horses.


It’s not going to be easy to defeat heavy favorite Frigid Lady (#6) in this starter allowance. Each of her last three TimeformUS Speed Figures are higher than any numbers the rest of her rivals have ever earned in their careers. She’s also faced some very good rivals in those recent races out of town. Nov. 19 winner Condensation went on to finish second in the G3 Honeybee. Botanical, who beat her two back, returned to win a stakes at Turfway in her next start with a strong speed figure, and last-out winner Capella was recently third in the Busher next out. Those last two races were on synthetic, but she’s obviously just as good on dirt. She’s a deserving favorite, but you’re going to have to swallow a very short price if you’re backing her here. I see only two possible alternatives. Pebble Lane (#8) is the obvious other horse, as she goes out for David Duggan, who has been sending out nothing but live runners lately. She’s been improving with every start of her career, and finished a good second last time at this level sprinting. This will be her first time trying a mile, but she’s bred to go this far, by good route influence Upstart out of a dam who produced multiple route winner Sundaeswithsandy. I could use her, but I’m more interested in Mike Maker’s other runner, who figures to be a bigger price. Bella Michelle (#5) is another who looks slower than the favorite, but might have some upside. She was a commanding winner of her maiden race in December over today’s rival Hypnocurrency. She was a little disappointing two back, but I thought she ran better than it might appear last time where she got a little too far back early and was charging hard at the end to just miss third. I don’t mind her getting some added ground here given her physicality. It’s also a positive sign that she’s switching into the barn of Mike Maker, who is having a strong meet. 

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