AQUEDUCT – 1/5/23
RACE 1: 1-2-7-5
#1 REUNION TOUR is tough to trust but might get the right trip here in a 9f race that’s sure to leave some starving late. There’s pace in this field and this gelding’s best recent races certainly make him competitive from a speed figure standpoint. The weight break with the triple bug aboard is noteworthy.
RACE 2: 3-1-2-5
#3 VIRADIA was in an uncomfortable spot last time out chasing the pace towards the inside. That race came during the worst of the rain on Cigar mile day when the inside was likely the wrong place to try and she now drops in class second off a claim. This is a good spot class-wise and she can use her tactical speed to stay forward early.
RACE 3: 6-1/1A-4-2
The speed of the race is #6 MOTION TO STRIKE, who enters off a win against lesser. What worked last time out was the frontrunning gambit that had yielded his first two career victories. He gets a weight break again as the main speed and should be a fair price to boot.
RACE 4: 5-10-1-6
#5 SARATOGA STRONG debuted against better and showed little after a poor break. He likely needed that race and trainer Ray Handal is 24% with second time starters in maiden claiming races on dirt ($3.41 ROI). The weight break today and addition of lasix add to the appeal on a runner who’ll offer value in a putrid field.
RACE 5: 1-7-4-6
#1 ANEJO was hurt by a horrible trip two back at Keeneland when wide before making an ill-advised middle move. He now goes synthetic-to-dirt again and that yielded a win the last time it was tried early in 2022. The distance is the only question mark, but he can be positioned well to get the jump on the deeper closers here.
RACE 6: 2-6-1/1A-7
#2 MASON MANIA is the inside speed going to 9 panels after a poor break from the gate last time out. He made a huge middle move to reach contention before flattening out late and now figures to be forwardly placed in a field that’s short on early zip. His best route races make him competitive here.
RACE 7: 7-1-4-2
#7 PIECE OF MY HEART never wins but is clearly the horse to beat here. She is much faster than her rivals on paper and simply needs to find the courage to get there in the final furlong. That courage has eluded her in the last few years though. If there’s pressure on #3 THISTLEFIELD early, it will definitely help her cause.
RACE 8: 7-9-5-3
#7 MENILY is dropping in class for trainer Ray Handal after 3 tries against MSW runners. She has shown very little, but adds blinkers for a barn that is 24% with dirt maidens dropping in for tags ($2.81 ROI). This gal needn’t be much to contend here and her 12-1 morning line is attractive.