11/27/2012 2:12PM

Aqueduct: Last-out maiden winners have shot to win right back in Thursday features


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – It isn’t often advisable to back a horse coming off a win in the lower-level maiden-claiming ranks when he meets winners for the first time.

However, there could be two exceptions to that rule in the co-features Thursday at Aqueduct.

In Thursday’s seventh, Sokitumi Samurai, a 12 1/2-length winner in an off-the-turf maiden $25,000 claimer on Sept. 19, could play out as the primary speed when he steps up into a $58,000 starter optional claimer at a mile in which his five rivals all appear to want to come from off the pace.

In the eighth, Appealetta could be dangerous from on or off the pace in a $59,000 first-level allowance race for New York-bred fillies and mares at a mile.

In his Sept. 19 victory at Belmont, Sokitumi Samurai was racing as a gelding for the first time, according to trainer John Parisella. He pressed a solid pace and drew off convincingly in easily his career-best performance. Two horses from that race have come back to win, albeit in low-level claiming races.

“I know he beat nobody,” Parisella said. “But I gave him two months. I just feel he’s improved that much. He’s doing everything right. He’s got a beautiful pedigree, a beautiful way of going. To be honest with you, I’d be disappointed if he got beat.”

New York’s leading rider, Ramon Dominguez, has the call from post 4.

Washington Rules, a perennial bridesmaid trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., and Bomber Boy, stepping up first off the claim by Rudy Rodriguez, are the major threats.

In the eighth, trainer Tom Bush steps Appealetta into allowance company two months after she won a $20,000 maiden claimer going six furlongs at Belmont under Javier Castellano.

That was Appealetta’s second start following a procedure to correct a throat issue. In her first start back, she finished second at Saratoga seven months after the procedure. The horse that beat her, Fruttidimare, won a first-level allowance at Suffolk next out. Third-place finisher Anchovy has won 3 of 4 bottom-level claiming races since then.

Though Appealetta looks like she could be forwardly placed in a bulky field seemingly void of speed, Bush would prefer to see her sit, if possible.

“My impression when she broke her maiden with Javier and he took her off the pace was she really did finish well that day,” Bush said. “If we can be off the pace a little bit going long, she might stretch out. She’s built like a filly that would go a little longer. I’m hoping I’m right.”

Castellano will again be aboard Appealetta, who breaks from post 8.

Aptphilly, in for the optional claiming tag of $14,000 and away since June, could be the horse Appealetta will follow early.

Erin Enchanted, third at this level at 49-1 last out, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite.