Thursday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Battuta d’Oro should appreciate switch to turf

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

This turf allowance presents a conundrum for bettors, since both horses who figures to vie for favoritism have significant flaws. John Terranova sends out the entry of Kawhi Me a River (#1) and Flash Kiss (#1A), from which the former is undoubtedly the stronger half of the pair. Yet that in an of itself is an issue for those interested in betting on Kawhi Me a River, who is more likely to be an underlay as part of a coupled entry than if he were a separate betting interest. This horse has run some nice races on turf, but it’s a concern that his 2022 campaign was cut show after just two appearances. He has plenty of natural ability, but he can be difficult to ride and has encountered trouble on a few occasions. The good news is that John Terranova is a strong 13 for 46 (28%, $2.84 ROI) off layoffs of 180 days or more during the past 5 years, but most of that success has come on dirt.

Sosua Summer (#3) looks like his main rival, and his best turf speed figures certainly make him a win candidate. However, it took him a long time to break his maiden, and he’s been somewhat of a disappointment ever since achieving that lone victory last summer at Saratoga. He’s been sent off at short prices in a few recent allowance races and usually underperforms. That was especially true of his two prior attempts over this distance at Aqueduct last year. 

Given the potential for negative value on these two obvious contenders, I want to look elsewhere. Some may consider Ikigai (#5), who switches back to grass after earning some nice speed figures on dirt this winter. It does appear that he’s improved for the Michelle Giangiulio barn, but I’m still not convinced that turf is his preferred surface. That said, his presence could affect the chances of some other speeds in the race, and potentially bring closers into the mix.  

I’m hoping that’s the case, because I think BATTUTA D’ORO (#4) is an interesting option at a price. He will be making his turf debut here, but he has plenty of pedigree to handle it. Practical Joke is a decent 12% turf sprint sire, but the dam’s side pedigree is all grass. His dam earned her only victory on turf and showed much more affinity for that surface than dirt. His second dam was also a nice turf runner, earning a 94 Beyer on that surface, and his dam is a half-sister to multiple stakes-winning turf sprinter Gaff. These connections can send out live runners at prices, and the horse did seem to improve in his two recent starts at Aqueduct.

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