01/06/2012 5:29PM

Aqueduct: J J’s Lucky Train sharp for Rise Jim

Barbara D. Livingston
J J's Lucky Train, with Jose Ferrer riding, wins the Bay Shore

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – On Feb. 4, Aqueduct will host the Grade 3, $150,000 Toboggan Stakes. Sunday’s $75,000 Rise Jim Stakes figures to offer a preview at half the purse.

Six stakes winners comprise the seven-horse field in the six-furlong Rise Jim field, led by J J’s Lucky Train, who returns to Aqueduct where last April he won the Grade 3 Bay Shore Stakes over the main track. J J’s Lucky Train is winless in five starts since, most coming in races at distances beyond his best.

J J’s Lucky Train is probably at his best going seven furlongs, but he has run well enough at six to make him the horse to beat in this competitive spot. As a 2-year-old, J J’s Lucky Train won an allowance race by 5 3/4 lengths over Royal Currier. In his most recent start, J J’s Lucky Train was beaten 1 3/4 lengths by Royal Currier in the $75,000 Valley Forge Stakes on Dec. 20 at Parx, where Royal Currier is the track-record holder for six furlongs.

In the Valley Forge, J J’s Lucky Train, trained by William Anderson, was stuck on the inside and was part of a three-ply pace duel, all of whose particpants were passed in deep stretch by Royal Currier, who is 3 for 4 at Parx. The Valley Forge also was J J’s Lucky Train’s first start off a three-month layoff.

“It’s very difficult to win on the rail at Parx and we got stuck down there,” Anderson said. “I thought he ran a huge race, but Royal Currier just loves that racetrack.”

On Jan. 5, Anderson sent J J’s Lucky Train out for a strong gallop, known as a two-minute lick, but the horse was so strong that he actually was timed in 1:01.80 for a five-furlong workout.

“He came out of the race super,” Anderson said. “I think seven-eighths is probably his ideal distance, but the other day at Philly he showed speed and he’s always been a stalk-the-pace sprinter going three-quarters.”

Caixa Eletronica is another who probably is better at distances other than six furlongs, but he did win a starter handicap at Saratoga in the summer going this distance. He is dropping out of three graded stakes races – including two Grade 1 starts – in this spot, where he is nicely drawn in post 7.

“It’s probably not his best distance. He’s obviously going to be forwardly placed,” said Michael McCarthy, the New York-based assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. “The horse shows up and tries hard every time. He is in good order. We’re going to go over there with a positive attitude with the only question mark being the distance.”

Frazil and Ravalo are the two horses with the best record at six furlongs. Frazil has won three straight, including the Gravesend over the inner track where he beat three horses. He has won three of his last four starts over the inner track.

The 8-year-old Ravalo is a 13-time stakes winner who has won twice over the inner track, including a maiden race in January 2007. He also won an overnight stakes here in Feb. 2008 and is coming off a neck victory in a stakes race at Penn National on Nov. 23.

New York-bred stakes winners Law Enforcement and Pretty Boy Freud as well as Regal Revenge, the only non-stakes winner, complete the field.