03/19/2012 1:18PM

Aqueduct: Main track opens for business

Barbara D. Livingston
Strike the Moon is coming off a poor showing in a Grade 3 stakes.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – A change of scenery – even if it’s only a few feet away – is definitely in order for the New York Racing Association, which moves its racing Wednesday from Aqueduct’s winterized inner track to the main track.

Though it has been a mild winter weather-wise, it has been a harsh couple of weeks on the inner track, with nine fatalities having occurred in the final 17 days of the meet. Overall, there were 18 fatalities during the 74-day session.

While horsemen have not blamed the inner track for these fatalities, perhaps the main track might be better suited for the warmer temperatures that are forecast this week. Sunday, with temperatures in the 60s, the inner track became laboring, perhaps contributing to a spill in the eighth when Mob Wife became exhausted and fell suddenly, unseating jockey Ramon Dominguez, who will be out for an indefinite period of time with a collarbone injury.

NYRA officials announced last week that it would open the main track on Wednesday – two weeks earlier than scheduled – in part because of the mild weather conditions

Five of the Wednesday’s nine races will be conducted at six furlongs, including the $75,000 Lynclar Stakes for fillies and mares. A field of seven was entered, but High Quality, listed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite, will scratch because of a gluteal muscle pull, according to trainer Tony Dutrow. The Lynclar is the next-to-last leg of a pick six wager that starts with a $40,342 carryover.

Strike the Moon seeks to bounce back from a dismal sixth-place performance in the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie last out at Gulfstream Park. Strike the Moon raced just behind – and in between – dueling leaders and 1-2 finishers R Holiday Mood and Funny Sunny before retreating at the quarter pole. She finished sixth, beaten 12 lengths.

“We never really could figure out why she didn’t run her race,” trainer Michael Trombetta said. “She was tucked in pretty tight between horses and pulled herself out of there a little bit. She didn’t have her best game on that day. We’re hoping the trip up there can get us back on the right track.”

Strike the Moon won a maiden race over the main track, but did that in front-running fashion. Trombetta said he would prefer to see her come from off the pace on Wednesday.

“I want her to have a little bit of a target to run at,” Trombetta said. “She may do better that way.”

Isn’t She Grand, who has won three of her last five starts, Maple Forest and Sunshine Gal all have some speed.

Aquitania and Honchis’n Ponchis prefer to come from off the pace.

Aquitania had a four-race winning streak snapped when she finished third in the Interborough Stakes over the inner track on New Year’ Day. She finished fourth in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie at Laurel, a race in which she was part of the early pace. In both starts, Aquitania had the rail, a post she drew again on Wednesday.

Trainer Hamilton Smith said in the Interborough Aquitania “had nowhere to go. In the Fritchie, he used her a little too much early to try to get off the fence.”

Honchis ‘n Ponchis has finished in the top three in nine of her last 10 starts.