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Aqueduct: Pianist may be odds-on to rebound
By Dave Litfin
Three-year-old fillies get the holiday stakes party started in Wednesday’s $80,000 Stardusk, an overnight event scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on turf. The Stardusk is race 4, and begins the pick six at 1:47 p.m. Eastern.
Pianist, fourth as the 9-10 favorite in a division of Keeneland’s Valley View last month, may be odds-on again for trainer Chad Brown, who looks to add to his leading total of 55 grass wins in New York this year.
Pianist won 3 of her first 4 starts this year by a combined 14 lengths under regular rider Javier Castellano, including the Given overnight stakes at Belmont. In the Valley View, however, she came up empty after prompting the pace and barely held fourth in a photo.
“For some reason she didn’t show up,” said Castellano. “She was right behind the pace, and when I asked my horse, she never gave it to me.”
Castellano stays aboard Pianist, and that opened a spot on the promising Channel Lady for Ramon Dominguez, who has a commanding 12-win lead at the fall meet after a five-bagger on Sunday.
Channel Lady returned from a layoff at Saratoga with an impressive allowance victory for Todd Pletcher, and she was most recently second behind her stablemate Peace Preserver as the 3-2 choice in the Pebbles Stakes.
Graham Motion ships in from Fair Hill with the foreign-bred trio of Absolute Crackers, Angegreen, and Nayarra.
Absolute Crackers was trounced in stakes at Chester and the Curragh in May, but made short work of allowance foes at Keeneland with first-time Lasix in her United States debut six weeks ago.
Angegreen, second in the Group 2 Italian Oaks, and Nayarra, winner of last year’s Group 1 Gran Criterium, both showed class at San Siro, but they come off subpar efforts.
Baffle Me, who sprung a front-running upset in the Banner Gala overnight stakes for Mark Hennig in her turf debut, figures to be involved in the pace along with Pianist and Silent Indian, who comes off the best race of her career at Laurel Park for Bob Triola.
Thunderous Lady rounds out the field.
Fall Highweight attracts six
Six sprinters entered the Grade 3, $150,000 Fall Highweight, the traditional Thanksgiving Day feature, including two – Poseidon’s Warrior and Small Town Talk – who are cross-entered in Wednesday’s Fabulous Strike and Swatara, respectively, at Penn National.
From the rail out, the field (with weights) is: This Ones for Phil (130 pounds), Caixa Eletronica (133), Willy Beamin (133), Mine Over Matter (129), Poseidon’s Warrior (135), and Small Town Talk (129).
First post Thanksgiving Day is 11:25 a.m.
Just a handful of 4-year-old fillies entered Friday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Go for Wand Handicap.
From the rail out (with weights), the field is: Willet (115), Nefertini (114), Fantasy of Flight (116), R Gypsy Gold (115) and Hard Life (113).
The one-mile Go for Wand is race 9 on a 10-race card that begins at noon.
Groupie Doll in for Cigar Mile
Groupie Doll, already a shoo-in for champion female sprinter, will be among the throngs of holiday travelers Thanksgiving Day when she vans to Aqueduct for a start against the boys in Saturday’s Grade 1, $350,000 Cigar Mile Handicap.
Groupie Doll was assigned 118 pounds, two fewer than Coil, an expected starter, and Shackleford, whose connections opted for Friday’s 1 1/8-mile Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs.
“She’ll get a vacation after this regardless, but she’s got something left,” said trainer Buff Bradley of Groupie Doll, whose opponents will likely include Stay Thirsty (118), Hymn Book (117), Jersey Town (117) and Buffum (116).
Obviously Pianist is a major contender. Wouldn't take a short price though to beat Channel Lady or even Absolute Crackers.
- 1.Posted 12/05/2013 01:44PM
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