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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Aqueduct Notes

- I've written about these starter allowance and handicap races, and the opportunity they can sometimes present for cheaper horses to compete for nice purses. Of course, sometimes they can come up really tough, like in the 7th at the Big A on Wednesday, a six furlong sprint comparable to a high-level allowance race at the least.

Contessa had six winners last week. He also had 17 losers. This barn overpowers its way towards training titles on sheer volume. Still, he's running a few points ahead of his usual win percentage this meet at 18%. Contessa starts the entry of Hollywood Left and Wild Geese, the morning line favorite at 3-1. These are both recent 50K claims for Winning Move Stable. Hollywood Left appears a shade short on class and speed in my view; Wild Geese fares better on both accounts, and has won two in a row. But this is a far far tougher race than the Hcp 14000s he beat in his last. So I'm thinking that this entry would be an underlay at his morning line or below.

Yes It's the Truth (6-1) return off a layoff for trainer David Jacobson. I've been waiting for this guy to come back alive ever since they got back from Saratoga; but, aside from a brief hot streak at the end of Belmont, he's yet to really get on track. Still, he's at a respectable 15% over that time, and is 1-1-3 in his last five. This horse won under a confident ride by Mario Pino in his last, a nw3x allowance at Delaware on Aug 2. He's never been off quite this long in his 29 race career. It was on the inner track where he came alive with three wins in four tries last winter. So maybe Jacobson might have freshened him with that in mind, and is using this as a prep. But I'm thinking that he's worth a peek at the tote board at least.

The speedy Night Stand (5-1) and Lemons of Love (7-2) also ship north, off good efforts for sharp barns in this highly competitive race. But I'm going to go with Sir Winston (4-1), for Asmussen. You can do far worse I think than that price on this tough gelding, 11 wins in 25 tries, and five in a row (once via DQ) while moving up in class and Beyers. Sir Winston was undaunted after checking fairly hard at the 3/8ths pole in his last, and went on to hold off Digger, who'd really seemed to find his stride at this distance, and Jacobson's tough Southern Missile. May have to work out a trip breaking from the rail with a couple of speeds just to the outside; but he's tactically versatile, and Johnny V sticks around.

- If you've been watching college basketball on ESPN nearly non-stop starting at midnight on Mon night/Tues AM, you see what the network can do when it really devotes its full resources to a sport. I saw Jeannine Edwards at the U Mass - Memphis game last night, and am happy to report that she did not interview Michael Iavarone.