Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Sunday, December 2

Race 1: I’m an Ocala Dude (#6)

  • Drew a great post position outside of the other speed types.
  • Has run his best races at Aqueduct.
  • DRF Formulator Fact: Over the past 5 years, Michelle Nevin is 11 for 22 (50 percent, $3.08 ROI) with horses dropping in claiming price by 50 percent or more in dirt sprints.

7-2 on ML


Race 5: Fight On Lucy (#9)

  • Has run nearly as fast as likely favorite Midnitesalright.
  • Was trying to lug in during the stretch last time and still finished well despite losing focus.
  • Should appreciate the addition of blinkers after racing greenly last time.

5-1 on ML


Race 7: Wine Not (#3)

  • Got into the clear a bit too late last time after drafting in behind a slow pace.
  • Rarely wins, but has been in the best form of his career since the early summer.
  • This one-mile distance is perfect for him, as he’s finished in the exacta in 5 of 6 starts going this trip.

7-2 on ML

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Saturday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Added distance should help Filly Joel in the Demoiselle

Aqueduct | Race 4 | Post Time 1:02 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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Enliven (#1) is likely to go off at a very short price in this Demoiselle, and the bulk of that support will be based on her runner-up finish in the Tempted last time. That race came up very fast in terms of speed figures, though the TimeformUS numbers have it slightly slower than others. While Enliven ran fine within the context of that Tempted, I still think we’re waiting for some confirmation that longshot winner Oxy Lady is quite as good as the speed figures suggest. While her dam could get 1 1/8 miles, this family is probably best at or around a mile. I’m using her prominently, but I think others will offer much better value.


I want to bet FILLY JOEL (#3). This daughter of Dialed In ran like one that would appreciate more ground in her first couple of sprint starts, and she confirmed that was the case when she finally stretched out last time. She showed much better early speed in that 1 1/16-mile maiden event, and easily took over in the lane to register a decisive win. Her 102 TimeformUS Speed Figure is the highest number in the field, and I don’t see any reason why she won’t be able to repeat it going this distance around two turns. In my opinion, she should be a close second choice around 5-2, and I think you’ll get a much better price than that.

I also wouldn’t totally discount Positive Spirit (#4). Rodolphe Brisset has very good numbers off maiden wins on the dirt (5 for 8, $5.05 ROI), but this filly needs to run much faster to contend here.


Win: 3
Exacta Key Box: 3 with 1,4,7
Trifecta: 3 with 1,4 with 1,4,5,6,7


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Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Saturday, December 1

Race 4: Filly Joel (#3)

  • Projects to sit a good stalking trip in a race that does not feature an abundance of early speed.
  • The 102 TimeformUS Speed Figure that she earned in her maiden victory is the highest in the field.
  • Rudy Rodriguez’s runners have been performing very well in recent weeks.

7-2 on ML


Race 6: Pacific Wind (#8)

  • Should get an honest pace to close into with speeds Sower and Come Dancing likely to hook up on the lead.
  • Will appreciate the turnback to a one-turn mile after going distances that are too far for her in her last two starts.
  • Irad Ortiz lands here despite having options on two other runners in this field.

6-1 on ML


Race 8: Network Effect (#5)

  • Has already proven his class against top company, whereas his main rival Maximus Mischief still has that question to answer.
  • Finishes like a horse that should have no trouble handling added distance.
  • The Pace Projector is predicting that he will get a fast pace to close into.

7-5 on ML


Race 9: Mendelssohn (#1)

  • Should appreciate the slight turnback to a mile after going 10 furlongs
  • Earned superior TimeformUS Speed Figures after setting very fast paces in his last two starts.
  • Does his best work when he can set the pace, and the Pace Projector is predicting that he’s quick enough to get in front early.

2-1 on ML

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Friday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Aikenetta is dangerous off her improved form for Rudy

Aqueduct | Race 7 | Post Time 3:17 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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Face It (#4) is going to be the favorite here after trouncing a field of maidens by 10 lengths last time out in her first route attempt. The added ground clearly helped her, and she appears to be figuring the game out, as she showed vastly improved early speed in that win last time. On the other hand, she beat an absolute pitiful field. The margin of victory was totally a product of the competition, since the runner-up returned to run horribly as an odds-on favorite in a slow race on Thursday. Face It probably needs to improve her speed figures to win this race, and I never like picking favorites in that situation.

The problem with this field is that all of the alternatives have flaws. Out of Trouble (#2) and Best Performance (#1) are both better on turf, and the latter may want less ground. Harkness (#3) has some competitive speed figures in her past performances, but I’m not convinced that she wants to go this far and she usually settles for minor awards.


Therefore, I’m left with AIKENETTA (#5) as my top selection. I realize that she appears to be a bit cheaper than some of her rivals, but I cannot deny that her two races for Rudy Rodriguez are far and away the best efforts of her career. She made a decisive move off the far turn to win going away on Sept. 14, running a figure that makes her just as fast as Face It. Then last time, she actually ran much better than it appears on the turf behind the talented Competitionofideas. That race was dominated by closers and Aikenetta did well to hold on for second after carving out a legitimate pace. The low-percentage rider should ensure a generous price on this improving filly.


Win: 5
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 1,3,4
Trifecta: 4,5 with 4,5 with 1,2,3

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Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Friday, November 30

Race 1: Monteleone (#3)

  • Ran competitively at this level during the winter and spring before going off form.
  • It’s a good sign that Linda Rice brings him back in a protected spot off the claim.
  • DRF Formulator Fact: Over the past 5 years, Linda Rice is 20 for 74 (27 percent, $2.82 ROI) off 90 to 180 day layoffs in dirt sprints at NYRA.

10-1 on ML


Race 4: Paynterbynumbers (#5)

  • Appears to be working very well for her debut.
  • Is bred to have some ability since her dam is a half-sister to stakes winner Sassy Sienna.
  • DRF Formulator Fact: Over the past 5 years, George Weaver is 11 for 45 (24 percent, $5.14 ROI) with 2-year-old first time starters in dirt sprints at NYRA.

7-2 on ML


Race 7: Aikenetta (#5)

  • Has run two of the best races of her career since being claimed by Rudy Rodriguez.
  • Her versatile running style should allow her to work out a favorable trip.
  • The presence of a low-profile jockey, who has previously ridden her well, is likely to drive up her price to a playable range.

4-1 on ML



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Thursday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Tiznow’s Smile turns back in distance off improved form

Aqueduct | Race 8 | Post Time 3:47 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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Kathryn the Wise (#5) is probably the horse to beat and the likely favorite, but I find her difficult to trust. She was expected to run well off the layoff last time when bet down to 1-2 favoritism and she looked like a shadow of her former self. She has reportedly trained well, so perhaps she gets back into form this time, but she’ll do it without my support.

I also respect the form of Nisha (#1), who is the half of the entry that will participate for Jeremiah Engleheart and owner James Riccio. She loves to win races, but I think she has benefitted from favorable circumstances on a number of occasions, and I don’t want to bet this filly at a similarly short price. I think this is the kind of race where you want to look outside the box.

Both of Charlton Baker’s horses are pretty interesting to me. Playinwiththeboys (#8) is more of a wild card given the layoff, but she certainly possesses the talent to compete with most of the runners in this race if she returns in top form. She ran very well against a tough group in the Critical Eye back in the spring, and I think it’s interesting that she’s entered one level above the lowest allowance condition for which she’s eligible (N1X) in this return.


I’m definitely using her, but my top pick is TIZNOW’S SMILE (#2). The biggest concern for this filly is the pace, since the Pace Projector is predicting she won’t get a favorable setup. That said, she has a strong closing kick when she gets the right trip, as she did three back when she won at 7 furlongs in fast time. She did ride a strong rail bias that day, but I thought she still ran well enough to win this race. She’s lost two races since then, but I think her recent form is somewhat better than it might seem. She got buried inside when she was trying to make a run two back in the Empire Distaff, and I thought she put forth a decent effort last time. While she was only third in a small field, but the two fillies that defeated her are both very talented. I had been of the opinion that Tiznow’s Smile had wanted to go longer, but it’s possible that this turnback may actually benefit her.


Win: 2
Exacta Key Box: 2 with 1,5,6,8
Trifecta: 2,8 with 2,8 with 1,4,5,6

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Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Thursday, November 29

Race 3: Achilles Warrior (#1)

  • Ran a competitive speed figure sprinting in his debut.
  • Has been overmatched in his last two starts going farther.
  • The Pace Projector is predicting that he will be on the lead in a situation favoring the front-runner.

8-1 on ML


Race 5: Doyouknowsomething (#4)

  • Sometimes shows a distaste for a wet, sealed track, so I can excuse his last.
  • Earned a competitive speed figure in his first start for this barn back in September.
  • The Pace Projector is predicting that he will be on the lead in a situation favoring the front-runner.

9-2 on ML


Race 8: Tiznow’s Smile (#2)

  • May actually want to go shorter despite running pretty well over longer distances in her last two starts.
  • Earned a speed figure that puts her in the mix when winning a similar race back in September.
  • Her last race may have been better than the speed figure indicates, given the class of the competition.

8-1 on ML

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