Race 1: 4-5-6
(4) Special Dividend was a beaten favorite last time out at this level going first time out for Jeremiah Englehart who is a 26% trainer 2nd time off the claim. He should be sharper this time out.
(5) Soxy Ruby has been a model of consistency lately and drops back to the level she won at two back. She loses Franco to our top pick, but will benefit from any speed up front.
(6) Exchanging Secrets ran well last time out versus better, but has been soundly beaten by our top two picks in the past. Look for her to be near the lead with Special Dividend.
Race 2: 7-6-1 (turf) / 9-7-1 (off turf)
(7) Gravitating ran well in his turf debut at Gulfstream finishing well for 2nd. He could take the next step forward with any improvement here for Tony Dutrow.
(6) Azzedine will likely be the bigger price of Chad Brown’s duo shipping in from Tampa off a 2 month break. He has shown good workouts for his return and steps up in class.
(1) Clear N Convincing posted the best turf figure in the field last time out at Gulfstream even after the jockey lost the irons at the top of the stretch. He still ran on for a solid 3rd place finish that day and will be the likely favorite for trainer Chad Brown.
Race 3: 6-4-5
(6) Bass River Road had won seven in a row before stepping up and being outclassed in the Hollie Hughes. Rodriguez drops him back down to a more reasonable level today and his best should be good enough.
(4) Brimstone won at this level on this track two back. He will be prominent from the start going 2nd off the claim for Asmussen (25% move).
(5) Pegasus Red drops down and cuts back for Contessa. He usually runs an honest race but is prone to settling for minor awards (16-0-5-2 at Aqueduct).
Race 4: 7-1-6
(7) Toga Challenger may have needed his last race in which he returned to off a nearly 8 month layoff for Rudy Rodriguez. He should sit a stalking trip and get a nice setup from the speed signed on.
(1) Morning Buzz has posted big figures (101-97-101 Bris) in winning each of his last 3 starts over this track. He is the one to beat and will be favored in this spot.
(6) Full Salute posted a 101 Bris figure going gate to wire last time out for Danny Gargan. A repeat of that effort puts him squarely in the mix in an intriguing sprint event.
Race 5: 5-1, 1A-7
(5) Lovely La La is a NY bred daughter of Uncle Mo and makes her debut for Chad Brown (an 18% move). Her recent work tab is nothing to write home about but she may not be facing much in here.
(1, 1A) Spa Treatment and Pursuing Justice form the 6/5 morning line favored entry being sent out for the Broman’s. The former trained by Tom Albertrani saw his figures leap forward in his first start of the year and wouldn’t surprise in this spot while the later is a well bred daughter of To Honor and Serve by Seeking the Ante going first time out for Linda Rice.
(7) Exceed the Goal has shown a solid work tab at the Fair Grounds for John Terranova and could be the best of the rest.
Race 6: 3-4-6
(3) Midnight Disguise turned in a nice effort to win the Busher for Linda Rice and looks to solidify her Kentucky Oaks status with another win here in the Gazelle. She should be stalking the pace setters and looking to run by them late.
(4) Smokinpaddylassie is undefeated in her three career starts and will step up in class here. Her speed is an asset as she will be at a tactical advantage over Midnight Disguise.
(6) My Miss Lilly had excuses when 3rd to Midnight Disguise in the Busher. She has every right to rebound with a cleaner break after hitting the gate last time out.
Race 7: 7-3-5
(7) Control Group has won 3 in a row at Aqueduct and 6 of his last 7 overall including the grade 3 Discovery three back for Rudy Rodriguez. He faces other challenges on the lead, but may still be good enough to turn them away and continue on to the wire.
(3) Zanotti has been either 1st or 2nd in his last 10 races (10-5-5-0) and should sit a nice trip under Paco Lopez off the early leaders. He returns from Laurel but did win the Queens County three back in his only start over the track at Aqueduct.
(5) Harlan Punch is another with speed and should improve returning to route racing after fading late in a sprint last time out for David Jacobson.
Race 8: 9-4-11-2
(9) Skyler’s Scramjet turned in a big effort when winning the grade 3 Tom Fool last time out and earned a 108 Bris figure in the process. He may once again hold a tactical advantage over his rivals stretching out to 7 furlongs in the Grade 1 Carter for Michelle Nevin.
(4) Do Share finished strongly against a speed bias when 2nd in the Tom Fool and should appreciate the added ground for Linda Rice. Any type of speed duel up front would aide him.
(11) Awesome Slew hasn’t raced since finishing 3rd in November’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and is without a doubt the class of this field, but he may need a race first time off the bench. However, he has worked strongly for his return.
(2) Army Mule steps way up in class off two visually impressive wins for Todd Pletcher. The $825K son of Friesan Fire can be any type of runner.
Race 9: 4-5-6
(4) National Flag is a $600K son of champion sprinter Speightstown and will be making his second start of the year for trainer Todd Pletcher after an impressive win at Gulfstream (104 Bris figure) last time out.
(5) Engage won the grade 3 Futurity at Belmont when last seen in October. Trainer Chad Brown usually has his horses ready to roll off layoffs and Engage will look to avenge his lone defeat in 3 career starts when 2nd in his debut to National Flag.
(6) Aveenu Malcainu returns from a November layoff after failing as the favorite when 3rd at 4/5 in the grade 2 Nashua behind talented Avery Island. Perhaps a return to sprinting is what this Jeremiah Englehart charge needs.
Race 10: 5-9-3
(5) Enticed was visually impressive when taking the local prep (the grade 3 Gotham) in his 2nd start of the year and now looms as the heavy favorite for Kiaran McLaughlin. He seems to be a handy type and should be able to sit right off the early speed.
(9) Vino Rosso was 4th and 3rd in his first two races of the year in Tampa’s two derby preps (the Tampa Bay Derby and Sam Davis) but did break his maiden 1st time out at Aqueduct. He should like stretching out and will appreciate the added distance.
(3) Evaluator is a NY bred son of Overanalyze who has shown ability in both of his dirt starts. He faces far tougher stepping up and meeting open company but could land a share.
Race 11: 2-5-1 (on turf) 11-13-12 (off turf)
(2) Astounding has shown good ability in his turf starts (6-2-2-1) and would appreciate returning to that surface for Servis.
(5) Lucky Ramsey returns to turf after 4 trips over the all weather surface at Turfway. He has faced better in the past and is in the capable hands of Mike Maker.
(1) Nigel’s Destiny hasn’t been on turf since August 2016 but did put up figures that would be competitive with this field.
As always good luck with your handicapping and betting today ladies and gentlemen. If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact me on twitter @JasonNYM.