Sunday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Fontanafredda’s turf form better than it appears

Aqueduct | Race 8 | Post Time 5:06 p.m. (ET) | TimeformUS PPs are now available on Go to PPs 

I thought Gal in a Rush (#6) could go favored in this allowance turf sprint as she returns from a layoff for Christophe Clement. We have seen a few runners from this barn already get overbet at this Aqueduct meet, and this filly has a history of taking too much money following some good efforts early in her career. She hasn’t really progressed much over the past 12 months, and I think others will offer better value.

Wings Like Eagles (#2) makes a lot of sense as an alternative if you consider that she had some poor trips in her prior turf races from last season. She had a history of getting off to slow starts in a few of her early races, and then encountered traffic trouble in a couple of races last summer. Yet since then she’s gained much better early speed with the switch to dirt. If she can transfer that tactical speed to the grass, she should have a good trip coming to her. I suspect she is more of a turf horse and can run faster on this surface if able to put together a more complete race this time. 

Hey There (#3) also offers some appeal, even though she’s another one who has never won on the turf. She finished just ahead of Wings Like Eagles in a maiden event last spring but subsequently ran competitive speed figures in New York last summer. Her recent efforts on synthetic leave something to be desired, but perhaps she can wake up switching back to grass. 

There does appear to be plenty of speed signed on in this affair. Perhaps the quickest of them all early could be Lady Milagro (#5), who will look to transfer some improving dirt form back to the grass. She did break her maiden on turf early in her career and since has improved in the overall sense. I liked the grit she displayed to battle back in the late stages last time after setting an honest pace. She’s a threat from the front end.

Given the amount of speed signed on, I want to consider a closer and the one that appeals to me most is FONTANAFREDDA (#7). She’s coming off a layoff for H. James Bond, but she ran pretty well off a similar layoff last year. I was encouraged by the way she seemed to gradually improve with every turf start last year. She put in a big effort to win at Saratoga in July, overcoming a wide trip. She then had trouble in the August loss but rebounded at Aqueduct. Yet her turf season ended with another unlucky trip, as she got badly bumped and checked at the start of that Oct. 15 race before closing well for fourth. I’m expecting a solid performance as she returns in a similar spot.

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