Thursday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Treasure Trove can rebound in return to Aqueduct

Aqueduct | Race 7 | Post Time 4:34 p.m. (ET) | TimeformUS PPs are now available on Go to PPs 

This 9-furlong optional claimer may have only attracted 6 runners, but it’s one of the most intriguing races of the day. Todd Pletcher has entered a pair of colts coming off lengthy layoffs. Commandperformnance (#2) was one of the top 2-year-olds of 2021, finishing second in the Grade 1 Champagne. Yet he just never panned out as an holder horse, and needs to improve significantly in this comeback performance.

Kuchar (#5) is a little more appealing as he returns from a similar layoff. He was heading in the right direction for Rodolphe Brisset last year prior to being purchase by his current connections for $500k last July. Yet it’s a little strange that he was given a layoff following that purchase. Furthermore, for all of Todd Pletcher’s success off layoffs, he is just 1 for 8 ($0.45 ROI) off layoffs of at least 180 days in dirt races at 9 furlongs or farther over 5 years. 

The other horses who could take money are Tonal Impact (#1) and Celestial Moon (#4). The former is proven at this distance and just seems fairly logical. However, I didn’t think he had major excuses to lose either of his last two starts, hanging in the late stages on both occasions. I wonder if he’s just hit a plateau. Celestial Moon may have more upside after just beating a strong field at the N1X allowance level. He has some things to prove stretching out around two turns on dirt, but I like the way he’s progressing. 

My top pick is TREASURE TROVE (#6). By far the most experienced member of this field, and the only one offered for the $62,500 tag, he doesn’t possess the upside of his rivals. Yet he ran a race that would make him awfully tough for this field to beat when he was last seen at Aqueduct in February, rallying to victory going this distance, earning a career-best 118 TimeformUS Speed Figure. He’s failed to hit the board in three starts since then, but he’s been compromised by some slow paces in those subsequent starts. That was particularly true last time at Laurel when he was ridden too conservatively. Trainer Lynn Cash tends to get the best out of his horses when they come to the NYRA circuit and I like the rider switch to Trevor McCarthy.

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