11/23/2012 3:58PM

Aqueduct: Ludo Bagman returns after six-month freshening


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – With the graded stakes portion of the season complete on this circuit, Sunday’s program at Aqueduct offers a winter preview with five claiming races and four races restricted to New York-breds.

The co-features are $54,000, first-level allowance sprints restricted to New York-breds, which also carry an optional claiming clause for $14,000.

The eighth race, for males, marks the return of Ludo Bagman following a six-month layoff.

When last seen, Ludo Bagman finished second to Saratoga Snacks in a first-level New York-bred allowance sprint at Belmont on May 31. Saratoga Snacks won two more races after that before finishing second in the $250,000 Empire Classic.

Ludo Bagman had raced once a month for six straight months and was in need of some time off following that race, according to trainer Richard Dutrow Jr.

“He needed a break,” Dutrow said. “He was getting worn out. He came back good.”

Ludo Bagman has the outside post in an 11-horse field, but Dutrow said, “he’s got enough pace to be where he needs to be.” Junior Alvarado rides.

Dutrow also sends out Jeter, who will break from the rail under Edgar Prado after finishing third in a similar spot Nov. 2. Dutrow is adding blinkers to Jeter’s equipment “hoping to make him run a little faster,” he said.

Dutrow is concerned about the rail draw for Jeter.

Dutrow has both Jeter and Ludo Bagman entered in a one-mile race here Wednesday, but said he planned to run both Sunday, which is not to say one or both couldn’t run back Wednesday if they don’t win.

Trainer Linda Rice sends out N.F.s Destiny, who finished second as the 3-5 favorite in an off-the-turf sprint at Belmont on Oct. 11.

Rice said that N.F.’s Destiny – named after the mare Noble Fire – has had her difficulties at the gate in her last two starts. Jockey Joel Rosario replaces Cornelio Velasquez.

Western Tryst and Readthebyline are others with a chance in this spot.

In the seventh, for fillies and mares, Drinksonthehouse gets a favorable post switch from the rail to the outside and finds a field with plenty of speed to set up her late run. Rosario rides for Mike Trombetta.

Princess Jenny and White Sangria go turf to dirt for trainers James Bond and Tom Bush, respectively. In their lone dirt tries, Princess Jenny was fourth over Aqueduct’s inner track, while White Sangria finished third in the mud at Belmont in June.