Aqueduct March 31

We’re back on the main. This is usually an unsettled period. Horses who like the inner don’t always adapt to the main and vice versa, so it may take some time for the form to settle in. I usually look for horses that have previously done well on the main and seem to be in condition.  Today doesn’t look like a great betting day – there’s only one race with more than 7 horses. In some of the races there will be big favorites getting bet because the alternatives seem worse. Just step carefully today.

Race 1.     3-2

Not a great race to kick-off the spring meet. There are five horses, all of which seem to prefer running to the front. Possetano Prince only has five races and all have been on the inner. He was claimed last out by Bruce Brown and jumps up a level. I like the change to Cornelio and he has the look of a horse that can improve. The Great Whiteway has four wins in nine starts, and is the only horse with multiple wins. He’s been knocking around at this class level for a while, and is riding a three race streak. He should be bet down heavily.

Race 2.     3-4-2

Pranzare is listed at 8/5 in the program, but it’s not like she’s been running lights out. She has been running with better, and she has the look of a horse that should take better to the sprint distance. Top choice but I’m not delirious about her. Morethanjusthello is dropping from MSW down to a claimer and puts the blinkers on. Another ambiguous horse that will get bet and we’ll see if the drop gets her to the winners circle. Archie’s Girl was claimed last out by Jermiah Englehart after running a decent race in her maiden. Causeway Cutie is starting to look more like a professional maiden and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Archie’s Girl turn the tables. Englehart is 24% first off the claim.

Race 3.     2-3-6

Getup Stayup has a couple of good races on the main and is coming off a two month layoff. After his last he was gelded and he also adds the blinkers back after running a race without them. The workouts are not over the top, but they have been steady. At the odds, he’s the one I want to keep an eye on. Two Times Book nearly won at this level two back, and couldn’t sustain when moved to MSW. He’s back with the kind he almost beat today, and should be the one to catch in the lane. Congrats Kid was taken by Steve Asmussen last out and was another that almost beat this kind. Certainly at the right level.

Race 4.     3-1-4

She’s All Even has been dropping down the price ladder and finally seemed competitive at today’s level. Should be up at the front and may be by herself all the way to the wire. Laura’s Patriot was right behind the top choice last out and will have to do some sharp running in the lane to catch the top one today.  Valkimqua hardly raised a gallop after a troubled break last out, but prior to that was competitive with low level claimers. Look to add some value to the top three.

Race 5.     3-5-6

This looks like a race any horse can win. The field is closely matched. Splendid Gold actually has a win and a place in two starts over the main.. She won by 10 two starts back, and had a four race streak going into the last race. She didn’t seem to take to the route, but she’s back sprinting today. Make the Moment has been with better and drops to his lowest level in a long while. She should benefit from the price drop and off her best she’s competitive with this group. Shotgun Love has a win and a third on the AQU main and in her last six races she hasn’t finished out of the money. Fits the price, likes the distance and has been very consistent.

Race 6.     2-4-3

Dreamsdocometrue has been second his last three times after breaking his maiden. On the down side, he seems a little too content to finish second, but his figures top the field. Union River is another that seems more comfortable finishing in the money than winning, but in this field he has good prospects. His last two show enough talent to win. Tabaddol broke his maiden on the AQU main and only has five previous starts. Back on the main today he could jump back to the winning form.

Race 7.     3-2-1

Another highly competitive affair. I’ll go with Perfect Freud. She’s the best speed by far and certainly fits at this level. Carmouche gets back on board and the last two times he rode her she won. Literata is listed as the favorite, and while she shows a liking for the main, she’s not a high win type. She can certainly win, but she’d have to go higher than the ML to be value. Isabelle has five wins in 11 starts and has a second in her only start on the main. Fits in this field.

Race 8.     5-1-8

The closing race is pretty wide open. Woodford Tea is dropping out of a MSW where she never broke and never threatened. The fact that she is the choice should tell you about the rest of the field. Valerie’s Spirit is making her ninth start. Her figures are good, but she’s starting to run out of chances. Still last time she was at this level she finished second and that’s enough to recommend her. Legend of Lorelei is the probable favorite, and the fact that she goes second time off the claim by Gargan is a big point in her favor – he’s 27% with his second time runners. No surprise at all if she runs away with the race. Just not excited about the low odds.

Aqueduct March 26

Race 1.     1-2-5

Zippity Zoom was moved to this condition after a win at the claiming level and ran a good one last out. A repeat puts her on top. Golden Gem seems to prefer finishing second and has spent too long in this condition to get really excited about her. But her figures say she has a chance. His Girl Friday finished behind the top choice last out but earned a good figure in doing so.

Race 2.     7-1-4

Snowfly as been close and makes another price drop today looking for the win. Best last race figure could put him over the top. Auburn Avenue goes second out for Pletcher and Jose Ortiz. Claiming price cut in half for this run, and while that usually indicates Pletcher wants to move the horse out of his stable, they win at a high enough percentage to get strong consideration. Sixbits should be better suited for the two turns and may surprise this group.

Race 3.     4-3-1

This renewal of the Cicada only came up with a field of four, and Constellation sticks out. She’s got the top figure in the race from her two year old season and has already won on the inner. She’s 1/9 on the ML and looks every bit a deserving favorite. Lost Raven is the other horse with graded experience. Takrees may be the horse on the improve and may make a race of it.

Race 4.     3-1-6-5

Petrocelli at his best can wire fields at the sprint or route distance. He doesn’t seem to like the inner as much, but Pino is good first off the claim  and at his best he’s better than these bottom level claimers. Hurry Up Alan has four seconds in six tries on the inner. No reason to expect he won’t be part of the picture today. Divine Child came off a two month rest to just miss at this price last out. No better than this price, but does have a win on the inner. Special Agent goes first time for low profile trainer Carol Fisher. A win and a second on the inner in three tries and a big number off that $16K win in the mud in December.

Race 5.     5-1-2

With the scratch of Ideal Quality, Norm the Giant and Overcontrol seem to stick out. Spartan Emperor has some speed and may dictate the pace.

Race 6.     7-6-8

This race is pretty much “who knows.” At Guard has one start at Parx for Tony Dutrow and it was good enough to give him the nod here. City Traveler goes first time for Linda Rice and she’s been decent with firsters at the meet. Good work in prep for this run. Dark As Midnight is another firster, and he goes for James Ryerson who is 25% with debuting horses. I like the workout pattern.

Race 7.     3-5-1

Hunt’s Road ran a new top last out, took the lead in the stretch but couldn’t hold off the Winner. Doesn’t seem to string them, but his best efforts have come on the inner. Tepid choice. Persuasive Devil has never been out of the money on the inner and his last race was close to a winning effort after being off nine months. Hard trying colt should make a mark. Gold Hawk was another coming off a layoff to run a good return race. Second best last race figure.

Race 8.     4-2-6

RuRod has Geaux Mets running really well. Figures say he’s in top form and there is no reason to expect a tail off here. Uncharted Course won handily against state-bred NW1X and moves to the next condition.  Has shown a liking for the inner and should be in the battle up front. Bass River Road makes a jump from open statebred $25K to this level but seems to be in good condition and may be the beneficiary if the speed breaks down.

Race 9.     2-9-6

We’ll go with a bomb in the final. She Is My Hero is a “Condition Sign” horse. She’s got really low profile connections and an even lower profile jockey, and that should ensure the long odds, but I’m taking the chance that her last race is indicative of a big turn around. In her first five she never got closer than 11 lengths and never took the lead at any point until the last race. At the odds, I have to give her a try. Lil Renegage has been knocking for quite a while and although she looks good from a figure standpoint she’s not likely to be value. Double Mane has been in the money three of six on the inner this meet and certainly looks as good as any in here.

Aqueduct March 25

I’m back for a Friday at AQU. Not an easy day – lots of favorites look strong and there aren’t a lot of longshots that intrigue me, but here goes.

Race 1.     1A-2-5

Nuffsaid Nuffsaid was claimed last out by Danny Gargan who is still strong first off the claim. She drops in price for her return after a couple of months under Gargan’s care. She looks like the stronger part of the entry, and if she runs back to some of her best from last year she’s a major threat to take it all. Angel Code is the obvious favorite, and she makes a big drop for Bruce Levine. Frankly if she runs the same race she won last time she could wire the field, but given she is running for a price less than 50% of her last race, it gives me enough doubt to maybe take a shot elsewhere. Time for Angie is jumping up for double the price she won at last time, but she’s had some good figures and is 3 for 3 on the inner.

Race 2.     7-1-4

Ran die’s Dream is a little bit of a stab, but given he was bet first out and had no chance after a poor break, I’ll look for a better effort today. Majority has been knocking at the door and is likely to assume the favorite’s role. Looks soiid for an in the money spot, and would be no surprise in the win slot. Smart Russian jumped up to a straight maiden last out and was expectedly thumped, but he’s back to the claiming ranks where he’s been competitive.

Race 3.     2-1-3

Lady Luciano has a good inner track record, including a win and a place at today’s distance at this meet. She’s back at the level at which she won last out, and although I wouldn’t make her as strong a favorite as the ML, she is a consistently good sprinter. Wisdom of Oz finished second off a long layoff on the inner last out, and while it may seem she’s going up substantially in price, it really isn’t that big of a jump. She’s shown she can compete with these. Saluda has good speed and has been competitive on the inner. May be the one to catch.

Race 4.     1-3-6

Our Luck comes off a short layoff after a claim by Michael Pino. Pino is 25% first off the claim and he brings him back at the right level. Aaron Burr is another that is making a second attempt at these conditions. Has shown his best on the inner and looks competitive off his last start. Vancouver has spent a little longer than I like in the condition, but he looks reasonable as an in the money pick.

Race 5.     5-2-6

This is a race where every horse has a chance. I’ll give the nod to Stone Supplier. She definitely perked up when she hit the inner. Her last was not representative of what she can do considering the troubled start. Off her best she competes well in this group. North Eight Street puts the blinkers on today and that may be enough to focus her speed. Fits in this class level. Whimsey’s Girl has been running well on the inner and off her best has good outs.

Race 6.     7-3-1

Terrian bobbled at the start last out and lost his chance. He’s making his third start off the layoff for Englehart and with a better start he should be the one to catch. His breeding suggests he shouldn’t have trouble with the distance. Taoiseach has had a good inner dirt meet including a win at this level and two thirds in state-bred stakes. Owner Gentleman is only making his fifth start and his last was his best. Looks competitive today.

Race 7.     1-6-3

Metal Magic won at this level two back, jumped in price and still ran a nice looking race. Best last race figure. Bluegrass Prevails should be battling up front and is four of four in the money on the inner. Should prefer the sprint distance. Take a Bite moved up to this level and looked good. Competitive enough to be a factor here.

Race 8.     4-1-5

Lucky Lurie has two seconds on the inner and has been on the improve. Blinkers on may focus him better today. Championofthenile comes out of a couple of good runs in state-bred stakes last year to make his 2016 debut. Linda Rice is good off the layoff and this looks like a good spot to come back. Gehrig is coming off a short rest for Bruce Levine. He’s quick out of the gate but has to show better in the stretch.

Race 9.     4-9-2

Stevie’s Moonshot won at the NW2 level, was claimed by David Cannizzo and jumped up a level. He had a little trouble at the break in that race and drops back down today. Competitive figures. Awesome Bill won convincingly at the NW2 level and stays at that price to run in the next condition. Best last out figure makes him the danger. Wildniteattheopera drops a level in search of the win. He’s showed better speed last out but has had a lot of trouble winning lately.

Aqueduct March 12

Race 1.     7-1-3

Possetano  Prince wired a field breaking his maiden, came back in a tougher optional claimer where he had a little trouble at the break. The jockey is a bit of a concern, but if he breaks he will be the one to catch. The Great Whiteway has five wins in eight starts and has taken well to the inner. Certainly fits the conditions. Text me comes out of a statebred stakes where he had no chance after the start. He’s been gelded since and should give a better accounting today.

Race 2.     6-2-4

Storm Pursuit has three wins in a row and has only been out of the money once on the inner. He fits the conditions and seems to have a strong early speed advantage. Despite the low odds, he’s hard to make a case against. War Academy was claimed last out by RuRod who is 33% first off the claim. His last race can be discounted given the trouble he had at the start. Prior to that his figures are competitive with this field. Great Lou is an angle horse I like. He stumbled at the start, rushed to the front and faded. Prior to that race he showed good ability to press and close. Watch the odds – he may be the value.

Race 3.     3-6-4

Hey Bro has two seconds in a row on the inner and really isn’t taking much of a step up here. His figures are not quite as high as some others, but he is hard trying and likely to go off at good odds. Power Nap ran well first time on the inner but threw in a clunker when moved to this level. He stays at the level which is a positive. Looks like a good spot and is another that may go off at good odds. Knuckle Curve has been off since August but showed good speed in breaking his maiden and gets a hot Jose Ortiz. Likely underlay but Nevin is fair with long layoffs. A little ambiguous for me, but look at the bright side – a weaker favorite gives the longer prices better outs.

Race 4.     5-4-2

Dixie Runner figured to be better when moved to two turns and he ran a bang up race against the subsequently stakes placed Mo Power. He’s got a good figure out of that race and the combination of the hot duo of Chad Brown and Jose Ortiz makes this one a major contender. Fielding Gold had trouble at the start of his maiden race but still ran evenly around the track. That race didn’t get a huge number but at 30-1 I’m taking a chance on the horse hitting a backhole. Big Gillette has the most experience in this field – not necessarily a good thing. Hasn’t failed to finish in the money on the inner and has the dominant figures, but still seems to need to learn how to win.

Race 5.     1-7-2

Send It In has won four of its last five starts and moves up a little in search of four wins in a row. Looks like he may be the controlling front speed and that is dangerous. Pletcher often uses these OC $62 to prep for something better. Intriguing but betting will depend on the odds. Towering Moon has taken his time coming back from 2015, but the comeback race showed potential to return to previous form. Worth a look at the odds. Second City seems to have enjoyed a little time off and come back running. He fits in this group off his best.

Race 6.     13-10-3-6

Brooklyn Major drew in and looks to have the dominant figure. May be hard to catch. Saratoga Charlie ran well first time out and with a clean trip is a major contender. Quien Sabe seemed a bit disinterested in loading last out and took some of the worst of it out of the gate. Still, he showed a little bit of interest in that race and with that positive I’ll give him a chance at 10-1. Jet Black has been close in his four races and has the top figures.

Race 7.     3-1-2

Pass the Dice makes a significant drop into this spot and has run consistent figures lately. RuRod has his charges running well lately on the inner. Easy Comparison has two in a row on the inner. Moves up a little today and will need his best to meet the challenge. Best Play goes second off the claim for Bruce Brown. He’s another moving up and will need a top effort.

Race 8.     9-4-7

Salutos Amigos is the class of the field – all but one of his last ten races are graded stakes. He really isn’t the same powerful runner he was since racing in Dubai, but he loves the inner and can run as fast as anyone on his best day. Alex the Terror beat a couple of others in here last out and projects to be the one to catch in the lane. Mewannarose always seem close and this may be a field to his liking.

Race 9.     3-4-2

Regulus was claimed by RuRod last out and the hot Jose Ortiz stays for the ride. Had a great 2015 and needed his last. Perfect Disco has the top last race figure and projects as the one to catch.  4 of 9 on the inner. Castaway goes for Danny Gargan and he is still training well at AQU. Has been running consistently.

Aqueduct March 6

Interesting day at the Big A. There was a consensus that a huge inside bias existed, and some of the horses I thought had big chances were clearly compromised, including Conquest Big E in the Gotham. I thought the performance of the day was Saythreehailmary’s in the Heavenly Prize who maintained a short head advantage most of the length of the stretch to finish second to Mei Ling. Today looks like a lot of short but competitive fields. If the track plays the same, we’ll look for the speed that can find the inside.

Race 1.     5-3-2

This lower-level NW3 claimer does not have a standout horse, but we’ll give Ducasa the nod. While she hasn’t won on the inner, she has two seconds and a third at the current meet. Contessa claimed the horse from Asmussen, who promptly took the horse back next out. That looks like a positive. She drops back to the $25K level, but I’m a little leery of the fact the horse hasn’t won in her last 11 races. Tepid top choice. Buckskin Doll just won a NW2L for $40K. She ran a big race in breaking her maiden at BEL, and then steadily declined. Her last race might signal a return to top form, and off her best she could get home first. Moondance Joy was claimed two back by Chris Englehart. Her best races have been on the turf, but the inner dirt races haven’t been bad.

Race 2.     2-1

There are two entries and we’ll go with the Linda Rice duo of Archie’s Girl and Army Brat. Army Brat has a race on the inner and has the top figure. Archie’s Girl goes first time and Rice has lately been doing well with maidens. Mike Repole sends out South Court and Voided Contract. The latter has two starts on the inner and has shown good speed in both. South Court goes first time for Bruce Levine. Like the workout pattern. The rest of the horses could be any kind.

Race 3.     5-6-3

Matt King Coal has been off since October, but Linda Rice is a respectable 19% off the layoff. Has shown good speed. I like the high figures as a two year old and if he improves as a three year old he could be the class of the field. Pletcher scratched Mo Power from the Gotham yesterday to run in this spot. He’s another with good speed and figures to be very competitive here. My Man Sam has a deep closing style and given the way the track played yesterday, it’s hard to feel enthusiastic about him, but he’s got the best last race figure and if the track comes up fair he’s a real contender.

Race 4.     2-1-6

We Did improved when dropped to the $25K level. Moves from the sprint to the route, and he is bred well enough for the distance. Should show speed today and taking the blinks off should help focus the speed. Say No Maux moves to the Linda Rice barn for this run. He’s been gelded since the last race in September. Rice is 32% off the long layoff and has been hot of late at AQU. Drops from MSW down to the $30K level. Should be competitive with this group. Daggerpoint is another coming out of MSW for Pletcher. He ran creditably at $50K but flopped badly at the higher level. The return to the claiming ranks should give him a much better opportunity.

Race 5.     2-7-5

The Jimmy Winkfield has a small but competitive field. One could make a case for almost any of the runners, but since I had to come up with three…. Sudden Surprise has shown a lot of speed in all his starts. Last out he ran the two turn Gander and was passed by Governor Malibu in the deep stretch. He’s back at the sprint today where he is 2 for 2. Even though he hasn’t been with non-statebred company, the consistent speed and good figures at the distance make him a strong competitor. Condo King beat King Kranz in his maiden victory and has only raced in the G3 Jerome since. That race was not impressive, but he did push the pace at the two turn distance and drops back to the winning distance today. King Kranz is another that has been more effective in sprints. Like the other King, he tried two turns in the Withers, prompted the pace and faded out of it. Still, the horses from the Withers who ran in yesterday’s Gotham looked like the real deal, so losing to them was no embarrassment. Could be a King exacta.

Race 6.     1-3-6

Mambo At the Gym is more of a presser, but if he gets a good spot on the rail, he may be able to run by the leaders in the stretch. Didn’t run well at the $35K level last out – he was breaking from the outside, didn’t break well, went wide around both turns and faded in the stretch. The shift in post positions and the drop in price could put him over the top today. Fleeting is another pressing/sustained type, but he did show speed in previous races and ran against much better last year. Nick Esler is 21% with limited starts second off the short layoff. Hunt’s Road has shown a lot of speed in statebred OC $40K races. This has the look of the typical Pletcher sale horse, but unlike some trainers he often wins with that move.

Race 7.     4-1-2-6

Another mess of a race. Imslopokerodriguez ran a powerful race in breaking his maide for $40K and was grabbed by Danny Gargan. Gargan is 23% first off the claim. Dreamsdocometrue has been running well with $50K starter allowance horses and has a bullet work two weeks ago. Good races on the inner and at the distance. Richie’s Rich finally broke his maiden after finishing second in half his starts. Perhaps he’s figured it out and will show better today. Dannie’s Deceiver came off a layoff since November to run a nice race and should improve today. I wouldn’t be surprised if any of the top horses threw in a new top race.

Race 8.     6-4-8

This statebred allowance has a pretty good field. I thought a while before settling on New York Chrome. He looked good breaking his maiden and in the subsequent two ALW races. Given he’s shown speed in his previous starts, and certainly should show speed moving from the sprint to a route, if the track is still playing to the inside speed, I’ll give him the tepid nod. He’s certainly bred well enough for the two turns. Thirst For Glory is the ML favorite and has looked good in three starts on the inner. Top last race figure puts him right in the mix. Repent Twice in another that has looked good on the inner. Barely missed getting out of this condition last out and has shown a proclivity to finish in the money. Closing style may be against him unless the track is playing more fair.

Race 9.     5-3-7-9

Nobody really sticks out in this race. Foxy Posse looks like she enjoyed the drop from MSW to $25K claimers, has a decent run on the inner and with some improvement may turn the tables on Lil Renegade. Double Mane cut back to a sprint last out and finished just behind Bubbe Zen but I’ll give her an edge because of the fewer starts. Lil Renegade is making her 12th start and while she has run her best races on the inner, the high number of starts is a negative. Same issue with Bubbe Zena, although she often finds the board.

Aqueduct March 5

Race 1.     3-2-6

Puzzling race to start the day. Oashaar ran greenly first out, being rank in the early part of the race and going five wide around the turn. On the positive side, he did run evenly after the first quarter. Cancel didn’t give him the greatest ride, but the fact he returns can be seen as a positive. He’ll get the tentative nod. Patrick’s Harp has a sharp work two days ago, but the fact that Gary Contessa is 0 for 48 with first timers gives a lot of reason to pause. On the plus side, Irad takes the ride. Joy Drive is one of two Linda Rice horses. She’s at least had some success with firsters, and the better jockey takes this horse. As I said, I have no great insight so there will be no surprising finishes.

Race 2.     6-1-7

Unstoppable U should be the clear speed and it doesn’t seem to matter who the trainer is. He’s had four wins and two close seconds in his last six races for three different trainers. Lots of positives today. At first glance Jonesy Boy doesn’t jump off the page, but there are some positives. The horse is making a substantial drop, especially considering he was racing in restricted stakes the last time he ran at the AQU inner meeting. He had two thirds and a win in his last races on the inner, with figures that would soar above this field. Yeah, that was then and this is now, but at 10-1 he’s worth a look. Decent enough workouts for the return off a long layoff. Ground Control has a win on the inner and was claimed by RuRod last out. Has some outs here.

Race 3.     1-4-3-2 

Candy Counter is one of two horses with a start, and looks like the better of the two starters. She broke from the far outside post, stumbled and was bumped at the start, but still managed to get into the race, fading in the stretch but not horribly. With a clean break from the rail, should be much improved. Five Star Rampage goes first time for Jimmy Jerkens. The workout pattern suggests some talent and Jerkens is a decent 18% with firsters. Hot Cajun Sauce is another with a good workout pattern and is well bred for the distance. Naked Express was the other second time starter and with the scratch of Candy Counter is the only horse with experience. We’ll make that and the switch to Irad reason enough to put her in the mix.

Race 4.     4-6-8

Memory Keeper was an impressive winner in a $25K state-bred maiden. Jumps up a little bit today, but he is the best early speed and the recent figures are competitive. Worth a look at 5-1. Humboldt and Frost has been toiling at this level for his last three races, but has been competitive. Fastest last race figure in his first race on the inner. Drops from routes to a sprint and he may benefit from the cutback. Bensational is running his third off a long layoff and his first two races on the inner were both decent runs. Reasonable chances today.

Race 5.     2-5-4-6

This mid level claiming affair has only seven starters, but it is hard to immediately toss any horse. Because He Can ships in from LRL. He takes a drop in price today, and seems to be landing in the right spot considering this is only his sixth start. Only finished out of the money in his debut. The connections are relatively unknown in these parts. I suspect he’ll go off higher than his ML odds given the questions, but if he runs his best race he competes in this field. Hector’s Pride ran well at this level two back, stepped up and didn’t flop too badly. Blinkers go on today and the jock who rode him to his second place finish at this class is back aboard. Dance Champion drops to his lowest level ever and it looks like it might be a good move. He was a winner in a NW1X at KEE in September, but hasn’t quite impressed on the inner. Irad sticks with him and that’s a good sign, and the level of competition should be more to his liking. Marble Falls is the likely front runner and speed is always dangerous.

Race 6.     2-1-7

Summit Moon figures to get a good spot from the rail and only missed by 3/4 last out. He has some competitive numbers and Kimmel has been doing well with limited starters at AQU. Potential value. The Drawing Away Stables entry of Talk Time and Jumping Frac Flash. The former got by his NW2 condition two back, was claimed by Drawing Away, moved up to $25K and ran an odd race where he trailed badly and closed up well to miss by 4 3/4. Drops back to $14K and should run an improved race today. The latter was also claimed two back and seems to be in the right spot. Coach’s Challenge dropped to the NW3 level last out, ran a fairly strong race.  Seems well suited to the route.

Race 7.     5-4-2

The Heavenly Prize stakes has a small but competitive group of seven. Saythreehailmary’s has been competitive with NY state-bred. While she hasn’t seen graded company, she is 7 of 8 with three wins on the inner. He figures say she fits in this group, especially considering a couple of the graded horses are coming off long layoffs. Her pressing style may be an advantage here. At 15-1 she’s hard to ignore. Include Betty has been off since October, but in 2015 was running against some of the top three year old fillies. Tom Proctor had been prepping her at Tampa and Proctor is bring horses back off the long layoff at a 22% clip. She’ll be coming from well back, but she’s done well with that move. I like the spot she comes back in. Mei Ling is the speed of the field and certainly has the numbers to compete with this group. She puts the blinkers on and Pletcher is an impressive 22% when he adds the shades.

Race 8.     1-4-7

This statebred optional claiming looks ultra competitive so we might as well look for some prices. There are five legitimate speed horses here, and the best closer, Detifoss, is a little suspect. Final Chapter was moved to the Bill Mott stable and came back to run a clunker after a 10-month layoff. He had some excuses considering his start was troubled, Mott is usually better when his horses have had a race, and the race was a two turn affair and his wins have come at the sprint distance. Last year he broke his maiden and won a statebred OC $75K on the inner at today’s distance. Interesting at 8-1 ML odds. The Big Deluxe was snagged last out for $25K and qualifies for the race by running for the $40K tag. The veteran campaigner has run well on the inner and certainly shows a desire to win. The downside – Quartarolo is only hitting at 4%. His regular rider, Irad, stays and the familiarity should help him. Hard to go overboard about him at 5-2. Gypsum Johnny is the Linda Rice entrant. He’s been good on the inner and has been consistent in his figures.

Race 9.     6-7-3

The 64th running of The Gotham could be the race that propels a horse into the middle of the Triple Crown . A number of these horses are inexperienced at the stakes level and this represents a big opportunity. One of the more experienced runners is Conquest Big E. The Casse trained runner actually wasn’t that far behind major KY Derby force Nyquist in the BC Juvenile and had nothing to be embarrassed about losing three lengths to Mohaymen in the Holy Bull. Plenty of experience around two turns and he may turn the tables with a less troubled start. Interesting at the odds. Sunny Ridge just won the Withers on the inner, and previous won the Sapling and was a creditable second in both the Champagne and Delta Jackpot.  Looking to make NJ proud. Adventist jumped from the maiden ranks directly to the Withers and may not have run his best in his first effort with stakes winners. In that race he was green and shied from Ken Carmouche’s whip. Excellent work a week ago. If he learned his racing lessons, he could be a big factor.

Race 10.  6-4-2

St. Joseph gets the nod in this NW2L nightcap. He has been knocking with statebred ALW NW1X runners. Changes trainers to Robert Barbara and he is a fair 12% with new runners. Off his best he can polish off this field. Bustin the Bank finally broke his maiden last out in wire to wire fashion in a good time by cutting back to the sprint distance. He stays at that distance today and figures as a competitor. Norm the Giant ran a couple of better than looked races when switched to the inner and can’t be totally discounted.