Aqueduct February 20

Excellent card at the Big A today and a number of very tough races.

Race 1.    9-7-6

Stella Who showed good speed in a straight maiden last out and returns at the $40K level today. She should be the one to catch. Goldies Luckycharm never got into the last race she ran, but she should have learned some lessons in that race. In this field she’s not as outless as the ML odds suggest. Grace’s Joy has been at the level for a couple of months but her last race showed enough improvement to make her a contender here.

Race 2.    4-5-1-7

City Steel passed a race yesterday for this spot. Trainer Pino moved him up after a claim and brings him back down to the level at which he was taken. If he regains his old condition he’s got big chances. Now We Are Free steps up slightly after a win. Has been in good form  and figures to be coming in the stretch. Hurry Up Alan ran right behind Now We Are Free and could turn the tables this time. Real Estate Rich was obviously at the wrong distance last out and returns to the sprint distance where he won two in a row on the inner.

Race 3.     6-1-4-3

The Franklin Square is competitive stakes for statebred fillies. Frosty Margarita gets the nod off a nose victory when stretched out to a mile-seventy. She hasn’t finished worse than second in seven starts and is proven at the distance and the inner. Clipthcouponannie  has been brought to this race carefully by Pletcher and her figures are a match for the top choice. Will be a stern test today. Wonderment is not without chances today. She comes off a long layoff, but was dominating in her two summer starts at Belmont and her two year old figure was the highest in the field. Could be the value bet.

Race 4.     5-4-1

Feets of Strength had the lead in the stretch last out before folding. Adds blinkers today and he may not get caught this time. Littlebitadominic comes off a three month layoff for Linda Rice and she is a reasonable 20% off the layoff. Just missed in her last and tries a step back to straight maidens today. Will have to run his best to top this field. Brooklyn Major gets first Lasix today. Main difficulty has been getting out of the gate  but if he breaks he’s got a good chance to be a factor at the end.

Race 5.     7-1-3-6

Zambian Dream has been knocking on the door since arriving from Chile. Clearly is at the right level today and while his figures are not the highest in the field I like the running style and potential improvement. Integrity was taken for $40K last out and is moved up today. Should be up toward the front and is a contender off his best. Towering Moon comes off a win in his try with ALW NW1X horses for the hot Rudy Rodriguez. Can’t discount any horse he’s putting on the track. Cerro is a speedster coming off a win at $40K last out and should be setting the fractions. Will need to show some courage in the stretch.

Race 6.     7-9-4

Caderyn is Triple Crown nominated but so far has performed disappointingly. He adds blinkers today in the hope of carrying his speed to the end. Looks strong in this spot. You Had Me At Halo goes first time for Violette. I like the workout pattern and has enough works over the inner to be encouraging. Stevie Q has just one turf race but it was better than looked. He’s been gelded since that race and has been working steadily for the return. Irad takes the ride and Chad Brown is always dangerous with layoff runners.

Race 7.     1-2-7

Perfect Disco stumbled last our but before that beat a $10K field in good time. Should be in a good spot early. Buckleberry Grey ran well in his inner track debut and figures as a major contender. Nevada Kid continues his drop down the class ladder in search of a win. Not without possibilities.

Race 8.     1-7-6-5

Longfor the City has to go from the one post but has shown he can finish at this distance. RuRod doesn’t hurt. Lucky Lotto has shown an affinity for the inner and looks strong off a third place finish in the Jazil. Mills has adapted well to the dirt and should be a stretch factor. Pass the Dice is the other RuRod horse and he gets a jockey upgrade to Irad.

Race 9.     7-6-9

May Be a Diamond is one of a couple that have only been with winners once. Like the figures and the flexible running style. Dannie’s Deceiver is the other looking for a first win with winners. He showed good speed at the mile and is back today at the sprint distance. Major contender for the win. Possilicious rarely runs a bad one and should be a factor early. Second off a layoff and should improve.

Race 10.   4-2-6

Tough closing race. I’m going with first timer Croke Park. Like the workout pattern and Irad takes the mount for the competent Michael Maker. Could be a nice price. Fleeting Gold jumps up from the MCL ranks and gets first Lasix. Better than looked last race puts him in the mix. Gaming should be be the favorite, and he has some nice races, but in his sixth start I’m inclined to be skeptical about the win.