If the weather forecast is correct, the welcome respite from rain between last weekend’s closing of Belmont Park and the meet lid-lifter at Aqueduct on Friday will come to an end at the wrong time.
An annoyingly wet season during the first half of Saratoga and for much of Belmont’s Fall meet appears as if it will continue through at least the first couple of days at Aqueduct. While some grass stakes rescheduled from last Saturday’s weather-related cancellation at Belmont aren’t due to be run until Sunday, Aqueduct’s two, lush turf courses unfortunately could see limited use this weekend.
Friday’s opening day program features a pair of Grade 3 events. The $200,000 Bold Ruler H. (G3), postponed from last Saturday’s card at Belmont, features the return of multiple graded stakes winner #1 Coal Front from a 13-month layoff as well as #6 Delta Prince, a Grade 2 winner on turf in Canada and narrow loser of the Fourstardave H. (G1) two back.
Also on Friday is the $150,000 Tempted (G3) for two-year-old fillies at one mile, which has the potential to yield a potential candidate or two for next year’s Kentucky Oaks (G1). Frizette (G1) runner-up #10 Brucia La Terra will be a solid favorite but drew widest in post 10.
Another filly to watch for in the Tempted is #7 Enliven, a Godolphin homebred who broke her maiden second out at Belmont last time. She’s by Ghostzapper and out of the multiple Grade 1-winning It’s Tricky, which makes her a half-sister to Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) and Gotham (G3) winner Enticed.
Saturday’s card features the return of 2017 Preakness (G1) winner #7 Cloud Computing in Race 6, a one-mile, second-level allowance. Cloud Computing has raced just once since August of last season, finishing fourth by a neck in the May 5 Westchester (G3) at Belmont.
Race 7 on Saturday is an interesting six-furlong maiden for two-year-olds. #2 Itgot Grandma has produced a string of solid works at Pimlico for trainer Horacio DePaz, who has won at a 28% clip with his last 53 first-time starters.
Itgot Grandma is a half-brother to Grade 3 winners Gottcha Gold and American Freedom. The latter was also Grade 1-placed and won at first asking going seven furlongs for trainer Bob Baffert.
The weather should be favorable at Santa Anita on Friday and Saturday as their Fall meet winds down. The feature on Saturday’s card is the $100,000 Senator Ken Maddy (G3), a turf sprint for fillies and mares.
(Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club photo)