03/13/2013 2:24PM

Aqueduct: Fortitude right back for Schosberg


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – As his 2-5 morning-line odds suggest, Pinball loomed an imposing presence in Friday’s first race at Aqueduct. However, his absence from the $59,000 optional claimer will make the race a much more intriguing event from a wagering perspective.

Pinball, a dominant winner of his last two starts, will be scratched from the one-mile race because of a quarter crack, according to Bill Mott’s New York-based assistant trainer Leana Willaford, leaving a field of six without a clear-cut choice.

Fortitude is one of three horses wheeling back out of a similar spot on March 3. His last two victories – both over Aqueduct’s inner track – have come when running back on short rest. Fortitude’s affinity for the inner oval – a 3-3-3 record from 15 starts – is one reason why trainer Richard Schosberg has elected to run him back so soon after finishing third in that race.

“I put him in here when they extended the inner-track meet,” said Schosberg, referring to the fact the opening of the main track as pushed back a week.

Schosberg also liked the way Fortitude hung in there after chasing front-running winner Windafull around the track from third while racing along the rail.

“He didn’t have the lead, he didn’t need the lead. He maintained his position, didn’t give up and kept on going,” Schosberg said.

Fortitude will likely be forwardly placed again under Irad Ortiz Jr.

Most Happy Fella, who chased Windafull from second before fading to fourth, is a potential pace factor breaking from the rail under David Cohen. Most Happy Fella, who could inherit the favorite’s role, is one of three horses in for the optional claiming price of $25,000.

Jet Set Cat is also in for $25,000 after being claimed by Gary Sciacca last out for $14,000. Jet Set Cat got bumped at the start of that Feb. 17 race and jockey Pablo Fragoso was unseated. Jet Set Cat has come back none the worse for wear, according to Sciacca. Before that race, he was a front-running winner of a New York-bred optional claiming race when he was offered for $14,000.

“I was going to wait for the next $14,000 [claimer], but he’s doing really good so I thought I’d take a shot,” Sciacca said.

Ruben Silvera will ride Jet Set Cat from post 5.

Cap the Moment, who rallied to be second to Windafull in that March 3 race, will attempt to end a 12-race losing streak.

Swag Daddy, a multiple New York-bred stakes winner in 2011, drops to the lowest level of his career for leading trainer Rudy Rodriguez, his last starter before he begins a three-week suspension.

◗ Elghayoor and Railtown Girl, the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained fillies who finished one-two in the Dearly Precious Stakes on Feb. 17, top a seven-horse field entered for Saturday’s $100,000 Cicada Stakes at six furlongs.

Tony Dutrow also has an uncoupled entry of Disco Barbie and I’m Mom’s Favorite. Highestmaintenance ships up from Florida for trainer Todd Pletcher. Kiss the Lady and Sense of Reality complete the field.