NOVEMBER 22, 2012
by John Mucciolo
There was a single graded race during the third week at the Big A.
Discovery H. (G3): Marc Ferrell's CALLED TO SERVE (Afleet Alex) was last early, but began to accelerate approaching the turn for home and streaked home an impressive 4 3/4-length winner in this one under Joel Rosario. The gelded sophomore went nine panels on the fast main oval in 1:49 3/5 for conditioner Nick Canani.
A total of 45 races were held at the Jamaica, New York venue, with favorites winning at a 33 percent rate and the top two betting choices combining for 49 percent of the wins during the week. From 31 races on the main oval, eight animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (26 percent), while four of the 14 races on the lawn ere taken all the way on the front (29 percent).
We thought the main oval slanted toward speed a lot on Saturday and Sunday, as we saw a handful of wire-to-wire winners and another four tracking in second to the top of the lane en route to victory.
All four wire jobs on the lawn came in route races. As for racing on the turf, speed was good this week, and it's been bombs away on a lot of occasions on the green. Seems like the turf is where to find the big prices here.
Thirteen of the 20 dirt races through Friday were won by horses breaking from the three inner post slots.
HORSES TO WATCH
8TH -- The Linda Rice-trained WHAT'S THE RECORD (El Corredor) made a big closing run to take this race, running down a clear leader in the lane en route to victory. The gelded four-year-old got his final quarter-mile in a solid :25 and should be live right back with a realistic placement.
3RD -- South American import MY WANDY'S GIRL (Flower Alley) drove through an opening along the inside and inched clear to a fine tally in her U. S. debut for conditioner Michael Hushion. The accomplished sophomore had been better at a route of ground, and we have no idea how good she can be once she is stretched out. She's an exciting prospect!
5TH -- The Rudy Rodriguez-trained VEE'S ACCOLADE (Proud Accolade) had no chance with the clear winner on this day, but the four-year-old colt was a fine closing second on this day and looms large in his return.
6TH -- In a race where the speed held up well, IDLE AMERICAN (Quiet American), flew home from well off the pace to win going away for Pat Kelly. The four-year-old gelding sat behind a slow pace and still overcame it, closing his final two furlongs in a swift :22 2/5! The gelding should be stakes bound before long.
9TH -- COUSIN ADAM (Star Dabbler) left little doubt in this sparkling debut performance under Ariel Smith, opening up a big early lead and never being challenged in a 7 1/2-length romp. The Hushion trainee went off at big odds today, but likely won't offer such a price in his return.
4TH -- AMBERJACK (Indygo Shiner) had no chance with the top pair, but the Dale Romans debuter fought hard to hold the show spot in here and should only improve with a little more ground to work with.
8TH -- Called to Serve was tons the best in this field, which was pretty solid, and we think the three-year-old could be an important handicap horse entering the 2013 season. He has a fine turf of foot, and seemingly has no distance limitations.
2ND -- UNBELIEVABLE DREAM (Kitalpha) displayed a lethal turn of foot in the lane to win at first asking by three lengths for trainer Barclay Tagg. The Empire State-bred filly came home in a solid closing quarter mile and could be any kind going forward for a trainer whose trainees often improve with experience.
3RD -- FRIEND OR FOE (Friends Lake), in his first start since August of 2011, tracked and threatened the talented winner in here nearly every step of the way in what we thought was a fantastic return to the races for conditioner John Kimmel. The five-year-old will be a big player on this circuit if he remains healthy.
7TH -- SKAEIRA (Freud) always tries hard and determinedly got up to edge a clear leader late for trainer Chad Brown. The game four-year-old is easy to like.
A Look Ahead
A huge Holiday weekend of racing is upon us at Aqueduct, kicking off with the Grade 3, $150,000 Fall Highweight Handicap on Thanksgiving Day.
Friday will play host to the Grade 2, $200,000 Go for Wand Handicap, while four big ones will be held on Saturday; the Grade 1, $350,000 Cigar Mile Handicap, Grade 1, $300,000 Gazelle Stakes, Grade 2, $250,000 Demoiselle Stakes and the Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen Stakes.
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