01/15/2013 4:19PM

Aqueduct: Promise Me a Cat gets tough draw on rail

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Barbara D. Livingston
Promise Me a Cat will carry more weight and start from the rail in an optional claimer Thursday at Aqueduct.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Depending on your point of view, Promise Me a Cat is either the one to beat or a vulnerable morning-line favorite in Thursday’s feature for fillies and mares at six furlongs.

Promise Me a Cat, the lone entrant in for the optional $62,500 claiming price, returned from a layoff for Carlos Martin in this same condition during the last week of the fall meet. She was never headed at odds of 3-5 and handed runner-up Centrique her only defeat from her last six starts. Moreover, the third and fourth finishers, Score Boyera and Celtic Chant, came back to win as well.

On the other hand, Promise Me a Cat got clear through leisurely early fractions from the outside post that day and now moves to the rail while toting 123 pounds, five more than Hot Roots, Well Kept, Smokin’ Alice, Sentimental Lass, and Los Ojitos, who are drawn outside her in that order.

The outside post could benefit Los Ojitos, who closed out 2012 with a pair of third-place finishes in stakes. Prior to that, she had relocated from Southern California to win two of her first three dirt starts for trainer Nick Canani, beginning with a maiden victory at Saratoga.

“She was on the far outside that day, so maybe that will help her to break on top again in this spot,” Canani said.

Los Ojitos races with blinkers on, an equipment change with which Canani-trained runners have won five races from their last 11 starts.

“We noticed she was shying a little from the whip, and she’s working really well in the blinkers,” he said. “Her best distance may be seven furlongs, but I don’t think she’ll have any issues [at six furlongs]. The one time she tried it at Belmont was against Ullapool and Willet, and that turned out to be a loaded, loaded heat. I think this is a great spot for her.”

Well Kept picks up leading apprentice Jose Ortiz and gets anywhere from 5 to 10 pounds from the field as she returns from a layoff for Leah Gyarmati. Well Kept, a close fourth in the Dream Supreme overnight stakes Oct. 7, has campaigned exclusively in stakes races since winning her maiden and first-level allowance conditions in 2011, including a placing in the Ruthless last winter and a fourth in the Test at odds of more than 70-1.