Race 3: Fooch (#5)
Likely favorites Switzerland and Tommy T have already had chances at short prices.
Horses have returned from Fooch’s debut to run vastly improved speed figures in their next starts.
DRF Formulator Fact: Over the past five years, Wesley Ward is 21 for 50 (42 percent, $2.53 ROI) with maidens returning from layoffs of 180 days or more in sprints.
6-1 on ML
Race 6: Capo Dei Capi (#5)
Is a half-brother to three turf stakes winners.
Looked like a turf router when working a furlong in 10 3/5 seconds at the two-year-old sale earlier this year.
Bill Mott gets an 81 TimeformUS Trainer Rating with horses switching from dirt to turf.
20-1 on ML
The horse to beat is Frosty Lady (#4), who is coming off two solid performances against New York-bred company. She put in an exceptional effort two back when she had a wide trip and was second at Saratoga, and then she lost nothing in defeat last time when soundly beaten by the vastly improved La Moneda. She may have to come from a bit farther back in the pack this time, since the Pace Projector is predicting a fast pace. However, her versatile running style should serve her well.
I’ll use the likely favorite, but the horse that I want to bet in this spot is NOUVELLE VAGUE (#6).
This mare raced sparingly for Chad Brown when first arriving in this country, though she did run well enough to be competitive at this level on a few occasions. Claimed by Linda Rice for Gainesway Stable back in April, she was given an extended layoff before racing for these new connections. Her last race seems like a classic Linda Rice prep. She had been given only one workout in over a month prior to that start, and she ran like a horse that wasn’t quite fit, running off the lead before fading. It was no disgrace losing to a talented filly like In the Lee, and now she gets some minor class relief. I expect her to revert to a more patient running style this time.
Exacta Key Box: 6 with 1,3,4,8
Race 6: Nouvelle Vague (#6)
Probably needed her return last time after only having one recorded workout in the month prior.
Linda Rice gets a 95 TimeformUS Trainer Rating with horses making their second start off a layoff.
The Pace Projector is predicting a fast pace, which would benefit her if she can rever to her former closing tactics.
8-1 on ML
Race 8: Loki’s Vengeance (#7)
The Pace Projector is predicting a situation favoring runners on or near the lead, and he is projected to be the controlling speed.
Has won this race in each of the past two years.
DRF Formulator Fact: Over the past five years, Linda Rice is 11 for 35 (31 percent, $2.78 ROI) with horses coming off a trainer change in dirt sprints.
3-1 on ML
Aqueduct | Race 8 | Post Time 3:47 p.m. (ET) | Go to the FREE TimeformUS PPs
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The first thing to notice about this race is the overall lack of early speed. The Pace Projector is predicting a situation that favors runners on or near the lead, and that gives Fire Key (#2) an edge. She has the right running style and the right rider in Paco Lopez, but I’m just not convinced that she’s quite as talented as a few others in here.
I think the two horses to beat are First of Spring (#1) and Stormy Victoria (#4). The former ran well after blowing the break in her U.S. debut, and the latter has every right to rebound after not handling a synthetic surface last time.
I’ll use both, but the horse that I want to bet is ULTRA BRAT (#12).
Ultra Brat has had some stops and starts in her career, but she’s actually run very well in her turf races. She put in a devastating late run to get up to win her turf debut going this distance in the 2016 Christiecat, and then was cooked chasing a fast pace in the Pebbles. She’s gotten plenty of time off since winning at Gulfstream in December, but she’s run well off a layoff in the past. I’m hoping Nik Juarez uses her tactical speed to get her into a forward early position.
Exacta Key Box: 12 with 1,2,4,11
Race 2: Perfectexpectation (#9)
Lost all chance at the start last time, when off slowly and squeezed back.
Would be a major factor here if he runs back to his effort two back, when he chased a fast pace and held well for second.
Seems just as talented as favored News Anchor, will offer much better value.
6-1 on ML
Race 5: Empressof the Nile (#8)
Her tactical speed gives her an advantage in a race lacking much early speed.
A repeat of her maiden score at Saratoga, at today’s distance, would be good enough to beat this field.
Was coming off a layoff when she won, and is again coming off a brief freshening here.
5-1 on ML
Race 8: Ultra Brat (#12)
Ran her best turf race when winning the Christiecat at today’s distance.
Possesses the tactical speed to be placed relatively close to the pace.
Won coming off a long layoff earlier in her career.
10-1 on ML
Aqueduct | Race 10 | Post Time 4:20 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs
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Strike Midnight (#8) is the clear horse to beat in this spot. I know he got passed by today’s rival Cheyenne Bull in the late stages of that November 3 race, but there’s no question that Strike Midnight ran the better race. He was three-wide around the far turn, and made a four-wide move around the far turn. That day, he was being ridden by a jockey who tends to make moves like that, and now he gets a positive switch to Luis Saez. He’s a deserving favorite, but I think another runner figures to offer better value.
DJULPAN (#4) ran a pretty spectacular race last time. While the early fractions of that race don’t appear to be that fast, the race was totally dominated by closers making outside moves. Considering dynamics, Djulpan did well to only lose by a half-length after setting the pace. There are a few potential speeds in this race, but I expect Angel Arroyo to send Djulpan to the lead once again. He’s run his best races when he’s forwardly placed and it is well-established that he doesn’t run nearly as well when rated. He’s put in two strong workouts since that effort, so there’s a good chance he’s holding his solid recent form.
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 3,5,8,10,12
Trifecta: 4,8 with 4,8 with 3,5,10,12
Race 3: Electro (#4)
The Pace Projector is predicting that he will be racing on a clear early lead in a situation where almost all of the other runners are closers.
Is a half-brother to Lady Eli, so has a right to improve with added distance on the turf.
DRF Formulator Fact: Over the past five years, Mike Maker is 13 for 56 (23 percent, $2.76 ROI) in turf routes at 10 furlongs or farther on the NYRA circuit.
15-1 on ML
Race 5: Gentrification (#2)
Worked a furlong in 10 1/5 seconds at the OBS sale in April.
His dam is a half-sister to a $1 million earner, so he has some class in his pedigree.
DRF Formulator Fact: Over the past five years, Rick Violette is 6 for 16 (38 percent, $5.90 ROI) with two-year-old first-time-starters in dirt sprints at Aqueduct.
5-1 on ML
Race 8: Conquest Panthera (#5)
Was stymied down inside in the stretch in his last sprint race in Keeneland’s Woodford.
Ran well enough to win a race at this level when beating an in-form Dowse’s Beach in the Play the King.
Should get an honest pace to close into with speeds like Spring to the Sky, Dowse’s Beach, and Bucchero in the mix.
6-1 on ML