01/14/2010 12:00AM

Aqueduct roundup



Richard Migliore

Through the first seven racing days of 2010, Migliore won with 6 of 25 mounts, a 24 percent success rate eclipsed only by that of Ramon Dominguez (14 for 46, 30 percent). But whereas Dominguez usually rides the favorite (28 of 46 mounts), The Mig had been aboard only three, and his average mutuel stood at $14.10 after riding three Mark Hennig-trained winners at $12.80, $17.20, and $9.30, along with Dakota Dunes ($14.20) for Greg DiPrima, National Pride ($13.60) for Kiaran McLaughlin, and Indian Burn ($17.40) in the Ruthless Stakes for John Hertler.

Meanwhile, Dominguez rode 13 winners in four days here last week: 10 of them were favored, and five of those were odds-on.

John Hertler

In addition to Indian Burn, who went last-to-first in the Ruthless first time out since her maiden win at Belmont's fall meet, Hertler also saddled Citifiesta ($10.40) to win a New York-bred allowance sprint by six lengths last week.

Throw in Devilishameye ($42.60) and Mel's Gold ($46) in December, and Hertler's return on investment at the winter stand was a gaudy $5.82 heading into this week.

Carlos Martin

Six straight in-the-money finishers last week trained by Martin carried the familiar light blue-and-white colors of Flying Zee Stable, including winners Smooth Transition ($7.10), Idle Gossip ($6.10), and Olde Glamour ($4.50), and runner-ups Navedano (5-1) and Smokey Eyes (5-1).


Not So Hot: Outside Posts

Horses breaking from the five outermost posts (8-12) in sprints were a combined 3 for 82 (4 percent) heading into the week - and two of the winners came last Sunday from odds-on choices Fortyninegeorgest ($3.80) and No More Stress ($3.40).

Horses breaking from the five outermost posts (6-10) in routes had fared only slightly better at 5 for 87 (6 percent), while horses breaking from the rail were 7 for 26 (27 percent).

Overall during the five-day period Jan. 6-10, 8 of 27 sprints (30 percent) were won wire to wire, and 7 of 18 route winners (39 percent) leading past every pole.

Broken down on a daily basis, there were no discernible biases in terms of paths or running styles.

Though most winners led or were within two lengths of the early lead on Jan. 6, the aforementioned Shotgun Bandit made up an eight-length deficit at six furlongs, and Embrace Change ($3.50) was next to last and 11 lengths from the front before rallying to win going away.

On Thursday, Jan. 7, 3 of 7 sprints were won on the engine, along with a pair of pace prompters, but Unicorn Girl ($27.40) rallied from fifth in a field of eight, and Cherokee Trick ($14.60) was last of 11 through the opening half-mile before surging late to get up under Rosie Napravnik - who can arguably be mentioned in the same breath with Julie Krone when it comes to the best-finishing female riders of all-time.

Both Jan. 7 routes were won from off the pace, but Najarans Star ($5.40) and Smooth Transition were both favored.

The three sprints on Friday, Jan. 8, were won in different fashions: wire to wire (Idle Gossip), from just off the pace (Always Mine, $10.20), and from dead last, 13 lengths behind in a field of 12 (Zip to the City, $7.50).

Five of the first six routes on Jan. 8 were won from on or near the lead, until Starship Angel ($7, consult this week's Horses to Watch) reared at the break and spotted her field a head start before coming from a dozen lengths behind to get up under a never-say-die ride from Napravnik.

The weekend programs of Jan. 9-10 featured more of them same mix-and-match potpourri, with the most noteworthy aspect being the dullness of the racing strip and a bevy of slow final clockings.


Last week, the long and short of it was the Busanda and Ruthless for 3-year-old fillies.

This weekend, older runners of both sexes get their shot in a pair of 1 1/16-mile routes.

Saturday's 91st Evening Attire Stakes was formerly the Aqueduct Handicap, but renamed for the legendary gray gelding who won 15 of 69 starts - among them nine graded stakes, including the Aqueduct's 2002 running. The Beyer par from 1991 through 2007 was a robust 105, but expectations can be lowered a few lengths because it is no longer graded.

Similarly, Sunday's Affectionately - named for the mare known as the Queen of Aqueduct during her heyday in the early 1960s - is a Grade 3 no more. Among the 20 nominations for the 35th running are Yet Again, who won it at a $19.40 mutuel last year and drilled a best-of-morning half-mile in 47.40 seconds in preparation for a defense of her title, and Song of Solomon, a full sister to Nashua-Remsen winner Rockport Harbor, who improved to 3 for 3 around two turns with a facile score over second-level allowance routers on the second day of the winter meet.

The six-day holiday week concludes Monday with the 26th running of the Jimmy Winkfield, formerly the Best Turn from 1985-2004, and renamed in honor of the jockey who won back-to-back runnings of the Kentucky Derby in 1901-02. A six-furlong dash for 3-year-olds, the Jimmy Winkfield has been won by such notable runners as Java Gold (1987) and Da Hoss (1995).


Favorites have been right around the universal average at 61 for 180 (34 percent) heading into this week.

They have some catching up to do, however, in order to match their record of 267 for 679 (39 percent) at the 2008-09 winter session.



Trainer: Gary Contessa

Last race: Jan. 9, 2nd

Finish: 1st by 17 1/4

Sidelined by a hock injury after a promising debut vs. subsequent Hopeful winner Dublin, he returned from a layoff to win a maiden sprint by a country mile with a 105 Beyer Figure. The colt by Forest Camp will reportedly remain in New York and attempt to stretch out in the Whirlaway Stakes on Feb. 6.

My Forest Baby

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Last race: Jan. 9, 4th

Finish: 1st by 5 3/4

Purchased for $115,000 as a yearling, the 3-year-old trained toward his debut at Palm Meadows, and was a poorly kept secret as he rolled to a decisive pace-pressing triumph over special-weight sprinters at odds of


Starship Angel

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin

Last race: Jan. 8, 8th

Finish: 1st by 1

Following a breakthrough performance to garner her first-level allowance condition by nearly 10 lengths at the Meadowlands, she was fractious in the gate and reared at the break to spot second-level rivals several lengths, and sustained a prolonged rally to get up in deep stretch.

Volare Cantare

Trainer: Tony Dutrow

Last race: Jan. 8, 2nd

Finish: 1st by 12

An OBS sales graduate by the hot young sire Roman Ruler, she finished off the board when unveiled in a $180,000 sprint stakes at Monmouth Park in September, but improved sharply to wire a maiden special weight route at a mile and 70 yards while under a hand ride.