Race 7: $43,000 Maiden-special-weight for 2yo’s at 6 furlongs
Tough race to get a gauge on so check the board; on paper ODYSSEUS has the look of a live newcomer for a solid debut barn; helps that Maragh has done little wrong of late. ROYAL STOCKS had little chance in his Spa debut after breaking last from the 2-hole; figures much sharper today and for an owner that has already had considerable success with her homebred juveniles (Awesome Maria and Discreetly Mine). Definitely do a tote and paddock check on STREETSOFBROOKLYN, who sold for about 15 times sire Friends Lake’s stud fee; the fact Parisella reaches out for Dominguez (the duo are 39-percent at Aqueduct the past two years) says this colt could be live.
Race 8: $44,000 allowance for NY-bred filly/mares 3&up at 1 1/16 miles on the turf
ADASTRAPERASPERA (say that one quick five times) got the perfect tightener for this longer assignment in her last and seems set for a breakout run; Donk excels with this type of move and this filly won her debut at 1-mile over the course. Unlike the top choice, RUNFROMTHESTORM is an unknown at two turns but certainly has shown talent in her brief four-race career; don’t be surprised if her sprint speed has her on the engine. WILD AWAKE is no doubt the class of the field but often comes up wanting when the real running starts; another short price says to shop around. If on dirt: Triple Tax Exempt, High Cry, Wild Awake.
Race 9: The Grade III, $100,000 Turnback the Alarm Handicap for filly/mares 3&up at 9 furlongs
Tough to look past $1.8 million earner UNBRIDLED BELLE, who is not only the best horse but also projects as the lone speed; not the most trustworthy type but should get the job done at false odds. WEATHERED wheels back a week after testing the boys in the Empire Classic and should be right off the top choice early; Grade III winner over course and distance would move up on an off-track. DEAN HENRY blew the break in her last and lost all chance but her 9-furlong win in the Saratoga Dew at the Spa says she’s in with a chance; the one to fear at a price should the pace heat up early.
Race 10: $16,000 maiden-claimer for state-bred 3yo’s and up at 6 furlongs
TINTO has progressed nicely in his two career starts and seems primed to score for Morrison, one of the more underrated trainers on the state-bred circuit. JIMMY VEGAS returns for a tag after a long absence when he was part of an 8-5 entry in his debut; not the best sign in the world, but Rice usually spots them where they can win. SENEGAL takes the big plunge from maidens and will get bet hard at the window off the drop; logical but willing to make him beat me.