Aqueduct | Race 5 | Post Time 3:25 p.m. (ET)
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This $16k claiming event is one of the most competitive races on the card, as it has attracted 12 runners and lacks a standout favorite. The public figures to send some wagering support towards the widest drawn runner, especially after the scratch of her main rival Blue Paynt. Ruvies in Time (#12) goes out for a hot barn, that of Rob Atras, for whom she makes her second start off the claim. Ruvies in Time is a classier mare, but she ran poorly in her first start for the new barn last time and has to rebound. She’s not proven going this one-mile distance, so that might give an edge to Blue Paynt, who has had plenty of prior success routing.
Yet there are many other runners to consider at more enticing prices. Some of the speed has scratched out of this race, but the TimeformUS Pace Projector is still predicting a fast pace after scratches.
How Lucky (#3) owns the highest TimeformUS Late Pace Rating in the field, indicated by the “LP” flag on the Pace Projector. She did win going this distance at Aqueduct last winter, but her recent form since coming off a layoff at Laurel leaves a little to be desired. She has a right to do better with those starts under her belt, but I would demand a generous price.
Keen Dancer (#10) comes in with form that may look inconsistent at first glance. Yet she’s been placed at a variety of class levels in her recent starts and generally runs well when she’s appropriately spotted against cheaper claimers. She’s another who would appreciate plenty of pace up front, and the price should be fair.
My top pick is ITS COLD IN DEHERE (#5). This mare has plenty of back class, having defeated much tougher optional claiming foes last winter. She went off form last season and hasn’t looked quite the same since returning from a layoff. Yet I think she’s shown some subtle signs of improvement in her last couple of starts. She has finished with good interest in each of her last two starts against tougher in races that were dominated by front-runners. Now she makes her first start off the claim for Mertkan Kantmarmaci, who is 37 for 172 (22%, $2.09 ROI) with that move on dirt over the past 5 years. She also gets a significant rider upgrade to Trevor McCarthy, who should suit her running style.