01/18/2011 4:05PM

Aqueduct late pick four worth the wait


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – The best comes last at Aqueduct when racing resumes Thursday following a two-day break, with the four most lucrative races on the card comprising the late pick four.

The sequence kicks off with the richest race of the afternoon, a $43,000 optional claimer with second-level allowance conditions for New York-bred fillies and mares at one mile. Rogue’s Jewel, who came from off the pace to win the New York Oaks at Finger Lakes last summer, will try to get through this condition after three consecutive runner-up finishes for trainer Carlos Martin.

Rogue’s Jewel breaks from the rail with leading rider Ramon Dominguez, and may go favored over seven rivals including Amiga Del Sol, Fivefifteen, Landlash and Opus A. After a remarkable performance to win the East View Stakes on the inner track last winter, Opus A underwent surgery to repair a broken cannon bone soon afterward and was sidelined for a full year. She broke awkwardly and trailed throughout her recent comeback at six furlongs, but stretches back out and has turned in a pair of bullet workouts recently for Rick Violette Jr.

A field of 11 New York-bred sprinters were entered in race 7, a $40,000 first-level allowance for fillies and mares at six furlongs. Bella Lady, a debut maiden winner for Bruce Brown earlier this winter, turns back after a pace-pressing try going two turns. The Hook and Ladder filly rates as a slight choice with David Cohen.

My Sire’s Fire, another daughter of Hook and Ladder, is the one to catch after leading to deep stretch last out for Rodrigo Ubillo. Song of Broadway, re-claimed two starts ago by Linda Rice, appears the stronger half of an entry along with Crafty N P, the field’s only two-time winner on the inner track.

Budget-minded players may opt to single the Paul Pompa Jr.-owned entry of Sensationalist (trained by Rick Dutrow) and Drink With Pride (Todd Pletcher) in race 8, a $42,000 starter allowance at one mile. Sensationalist stretches out after runner-up finishes to subsequent stakes winner Calibrachoa and Black Pen. Drink With Pride makes his third start back from a layoff after setting the pace in a similar spot.

Dorian Will, Hillswick, Narbona Pass, Rein King and Rock America also were entered.

Good to Be Me heads a field of 10 in race 9, a $39,000 maiden route.