03/11/2010 12:00AM

Aqueduct roundup



The Ladies

Safe to say one of the few bright spots this winter has been the deepest female jocks' room in memory.

Rosie Napravnik and Maylan Studart combined to win five races in the March 3 pick-six sequence. Napravnik kicked things off with a daring, rail-skimming ride on Afrikaner ($3.30), who squeezed through the narrowest of openings - one that many "macho" male riders wouldn't go through. She also brought in Slamm'n Lou ($13.20) and Peace Town ($15.40).

Studart rode Metulla ($27) for Neal Terracciano and then Kim Karakorum ($8.60) in the anchor leg for Jeff Odintz.

All you needed to do was link those five with Dreamed Day ($4.10) for a $54,651 payday. An easy game just got easier.

Two days later, Jackie Davis notched her first two wins as a journeyman, coaxing a win from Nolite Timere ($9.40), who was 1 for 39 going in, and getting O'Sotopretty ($13) back on track for Naipaul "Paul" Chatterpaul. For good measure, 10-pound apprentice Amber Cobb completed the exacta on 7-1 shot For Free, outfinishing 4-5 shot Gracious Victory, who was ridden by some guy named Dominguez.

Heading into the final three weeks on the inner dirt, Napravnik was 30 for 270, with a $1.70 return on investment.

Though Davis and Studart don't get the same quality of mounts, they've been well worth following: Davis was 15 for 170 ($2.92 ROI) after lighting up the toteboard with Alykela ($129.50) in last Sunday's nightcap, and Studart was 10 for 82 ($3.21 ROI).

David Jacobson

Not nearly as hot as the ladies - unless, that is, you've needed to fill out some intrarace exotics recently. Jacobson-trained runners were 12 of 15 in the money from Feb. 24 to March 7. In addition to wins last week from Best Book ($4.10) and Haitian Sensation ($9.30), exactas were completed by logical but square-priced contenders Theartofcompromise (5-1), Gold Vendetta (9-2), Half Metal Jacket (7-2), and Chippewa Court (4-1).

For the meet, Jacobson is 20-15-19 from 98 starters into the final 14 racing days, for a solid $1.82 ROI.


A multiple graded stakes winner, he's pretty hot as a sire. Though he never won past seven furlongs, he was responsible for Gotham runner-up Yawanna Twist and the aforementioned Metulla, who scored in a two-turn mile. In addition, he sired Fred "Cappy" Capossela winner Castaneda ($14.20 in a four-horse field).


The pendulum swung from closers to speed during the first week of racing in March.

The week began with a track that moderately favored closers Wednesday. The Thursday card had a preliminary Racing Flow Bias Rating of 253, which translates to the most closer-favoring surface of the 2009-10 winter meet and the severest closing bias since a 275 rating March 1, 2009.

The inner dirt still favored closers (156 Racing Flow) Friday, particularly in the three routes, all of which were won by horses coming from the rear-half of their fields.

However, on Saturday, Gotham Day, which marked the first graded-stakes racing of the year, the edge began to shift back to early-pace horses: Five of six sprint winners led or were within a length of the lead at the pace call.

Six of nine winners led or were within two lengths of the pace-call lead Sunday.


Three-year-old fillies get their first graded-stakes chance of the local season in Saturday's 18th running of the Cicada, a Grade 3 at six furlongs for $100,000.

In three of the runnings, it's taken a triple-digit Beyer to win it - Personal Bid (100) in the inaugural running in 1993; Wild Gams (101), the first year it was shortened from seven to six furlongs in 2006; and Heart Ashley, who rocketed to a 104 figure last year.

Par is just over 90, a level thus far attained only by prospective Cicada starter Bickersons (97) in the Forward Gal at Gulfstream Park first out this year.

Among the 18 nominees to next Saturday's 30th running of the Kings Point for older New York-breds at 1 1/8 miles are Almighty Silver, a three-time winner at the meet; Driven by Solar (see this week's Horses to Watch); Icabad Crane, a sharp second in open company last out to odds-on Well Positioned; Manteca, runner-up in the 2009 Kings Point; Mighty Morris, coming off back-to-back allowance wins; Naughty New Yorker, a 56-race veteran who recently surpassed the $1 million earnings plateau; and Stud Muffin, the 2008 Empire Classic winner.


Wollaston Bay went wire to wire at $9.40 in the 2007 running of the Capossela but had gone winless in 10 subsequent starts the ensuing three years. Three years later, a couple of hours after Castaneda wired the 2010 "Cappy," the 6-year-old sprinter led basement $7,500 claimers a merry chase at a $15.20 mutuel, as the second leg of a pick four that returned $3,938 for $2.

"It's kind of ironic he won the Fred Capossela three years ago, and then he comes back three years later on the same day the 'Cappy' is run," said winning trainer Gary Sciacca. "He'd come back, get hurt, come back, get hurt again . . . but when he's good, he's good."


So how does Awesome Act's Gotham win stack up with past winners?

Making his first start of the year, and first on dirt, Awesome Act received a 98 Beyer, considerably lower than the stakes-record 113 recorded by I Want Revenge last year.

On the other hand, it's only slightly below the historical Beyer par of 101, and the same number turned in two years ago by Visionaire, who went on to win the Grade 1 King's Bishop at Saratoga. Awesome Act appears to have the scope for continued development on dirt, the surface he was bred for, after all.

"It's the first hurdle, so the dream lives on," said winning trainer Jeremy Noseda. "We'll be back for the Wood Memorial."

Obviously, the waters get considerable deeper for Awesome Act on April 3.


Driven By Solar

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Last race: March 5, 2nd

Finish: 1st by 3

Four-year-old colt by Freud has swept his three starts since returning from a 10-month layoff, capped by a second-level optional claiming win for New York-bred sprinters in which he outdueled 2-5 Mr. Grievance and earned a 92 Beyer, a 12-point improvement over his previous best.


Trainer: Mike Trombetta

Last race: March 4, 3rd

Finish: 1st by 4

Purchased as a juvenile last year for $130,000, the Laurel-based colt broke slowest from the rail in his career debut, quickly recovered to prompt the pace from second position, and drew off under mild urging to record an 85 Beyer.


Trainer: Mike Hushion

Last race: March 6, 5th

Finish: 1st by 1 3/4

Returning to dirt for the first time since October 2008, he led early, was eased back to fifth down the backstretch, steadied in traffic when straightened away into the lane, and ran to daylight for a second-level allowance win.

Ironman Jon

Trainer: Mike Hushion

Last race: March 7, 7th

Finish: 1st by 13 1/4

After a front-running debut win at six furlongs on a track that favored closers Feb. 6, he stretched out from the far outside post and romped to an easy first-level allowance win going a mile and 70 yards. The Beyer jumped from a 71 to a 95. His connections are looking at the Grade 3, $200,000 Excelsior on April 3.

Stormin Bolt

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin

Last race: March 6, 8th

Trainer: 1st by 7

A $7,500 yearling purchase, this gelded son of Roaring Fever pressed the favorite through the opening half-mile, then drew away steadily to win his debut vs. New York-bred maiden sprinters.