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Thoughts on Saturday’s stakes at Aqueduct

By James Scully

Aqueduct offers four stakes with the potential for odds-on favorites — Enliven, Marley’s Feedom, Maximus Mischief and Mendelssohn – in the Demoiselle (G2), Go for Wand (G2), Remsen (G2) and Cigar Mile (G1). I won’t be surprised to see any win, but here some alternatives to consider at a better price:

Demoiselle: Very little pace on paper and Jennifer’s Dream (#5) displayed good speed from the gate in a pair of starts at Laurel Park, winning her debut going away and finishing a respectable second at to a promising filly from the Michael Trombetta shedrow. Out of the Grade 1-winning Joyful Victory, the John Servis-trained daughter of Medaglia d’Oro receives a jockey switch to Frankie Pennington and I’ll be using the front-running Jennifer’s Dream.

Go for Wand: Don’t like the inside draw for Marley’s Freedom, with the rail post winning only one of the last 16 races at the one-mile distance at Aqueduct, and it’s fair to question whether the Grade 1-winning filly could be over the top after a fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at 4-5. Bonita Bianca (#4) was given every opportunity at two-turn distances, but the Curlin filly prefers one-mile trips and has come on of late for Jason Servis, registering a field-best last-out 99 BRIS Speed rating for a six-length decision over state-breds at Belmont. The stalker should receive the proper set-up with plenty of pace entered.

Remsen: Mark Hennig wheels Bourbon War (#3) back off a 17-day rest following a first-out maiden tally at Aqueduct in which he didn’t level out until the latter stages, drawing away nicely under the wire after racing greenly through most of the stretch. The Tapit colt is eligible to improve significantly from the experience and displayed fine tactical speed as well. I like the stretch out to 1 1/8 miles with the intriguing Bourbon War.

Cigar Mile: Mendelssohn has a class advantage but needs a prompt break from the rail. And with plenty of speed entered, Sunny Ridge (#2) will look to finish fastest of all. The Jason Servis-trained gelding earned a 118 BRIS Late Pace number rallying from an inside post winning the State Dinner three back and he’s been stuck outside in the last two outings, including a decent effort in the Woodward (G1) in which he was too close to the pace and a second in the Kelso H. (G2). I like the move back inside for a ground-saving stalking trip.

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