01/09/2013 3:40PM

Aqueduct: Citizen Wells, True Fortune give Weaver two live shots

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Barbara D. Livingston
Pleasant Prince, winner of the 2010 the Ohio and Oklahoma derbies, is in Friday for the lowest claiming price of his career.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Trainer George Weaver has only eight horses in New York for the winter, but two of them are in with a chance to succeed at Aqueduct on Friday.

In the second, a $67,000 first-level optional claimer, Weaver will bring Citizen Wells back to the races off a layoff of nearly six months against just four rivals.

In the seventh, a $52,000 first-level optional claimer restricted to New York-bred 3-year-old fillies, Weaver will send out True Fortune.

Citizen Wells, a 4-year-old gelding by Proud Citizen, has been off since July 27, when he won a starter allowance by 2 1/2 lengths at Saratoga.

Weaver explained that shortly after that race Citizen Wells popped a splint bone and needed time off. Citizen Wells won a maiden race for $35,000 claiming as a 2-year-old, but has since moved forward to the point where Weaver no longer views him as a claimer.

“Before he ever ran he didn’t show very much. You had to ride him as hard as you could,” Weaver said. “Since he ran, he started to show more to us in the morning. He’s definitely better than we thought he was.”

Friday’s race is at 1 1/8 miles, the distance at which he won at Saratoga.

Weaver isn’t as concerned about the layoff or the distance for Citizen Wells as he is the inner track. Citizen Wells was beaten 12 1/4 lengths in his only start over the inner track last January.

“He didn’t run at all that day, but he did get sick afterward,” Weaver said.

Citizen Wells, who rallied from 15 lengths back to win at Saratoga in July, could be compromised by the apparent lack of pace in this race.

Late Starter, trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., looks as though he could be forwardly placed under apprentice Jose Ortiz.

Pleasant Prince, who as a 3-year-old of 2010 won the Ohio and Oklahoma derbies, is in for the lowest claiming price of his career ($35,000) for trainer Bruce Brown in this spot.

In the seventh, True Fortune will try to end a two-race losing streak since returning off a layoff following a win at Saratoga in August.

Weaver equipped True Fortune with blinkers off a win because he said the filly lost focus and switched to her wrong lead in the victory.

Weaver thought True Fortune ran a respectable third when she was in against winners for the first time on Nov. 9 and then felt she didn’t have “a great trip/ride” under Javier Castellano when she ran fourth in the same condition on Nov. 30.

“I think she’s a filly that can be close but doesn’t have to be on the lead,” Weaver said. “Javier steadied her several times. It didn’t go well.”

Weaver is hoping with Ramon Dominguez up and an outside post that things will go better on Friday.

Untapped Secret, who beat males in an allowance race at Finger Lakes, puts her 2-for-2 record on the line in this spot.