11/22/2011 2:45PM

Aqueduct: Scratches will have heavy impact on Fall Highweight


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – It might be best to wait until after scratch time to begin handicapping Thursday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Fall Highweight Handicap at Aqueduct.

Though 10 were entered for the traditional Thanksgiving Day feature, the gate could be only half full when the six-furlong stakes is run at 2:42 p.m. Eastern. First post for the nine-race Thanksgiving Day card is 11:25 a.m. with last post at 3:10.

Trainer Todd Pletcher entered three in the Fall Highweight but could end up skipping the race altogether. Driven by Success won’t run and Pletcher said Tuesday he is leaning toward running both Calibrachoa and Caixa Eletronica in Saturday’s Grade 1 Cigar Mile. If Pletcher elects to run one in the Fall Highweight it would be Bold Ruler Stakes winner Calibrachoa, who is better suited to six furlongs than Caixa Eletronica.

Neither Tony Dutrow, the trainer of Parent’s Honor, nor Carl Doran, the trainer of Escrow Kid, were committed to running their horses as of Tuesday, though they could reconsider.

Trainer John Terranova is planning to run General Maximus, and if the New York-bred repeats his effort in the Hudson Stakes last month at Belmont Park, he could be tough to beat. In the Hudson, his first start in four months, General Maximus chased the speedy Dr. Disco through a hot early pace and persevered past that rival in the final sixteenth.

That was his first race since General Maximus had an undescended testicle removed. Since the Hudson, General Maximus has breezed three times including a bullet five furlongs in 58.86 seconds over the Belmont training track on Nov. 12.

“We’re doing really well, he came out of that race great, and he drew a great post,” said Terranova, whose ridgling is in post 8 of 10. “He used to always draw inside. The last time and now this time he drew outside and he’s able to stalk the inside speed and I think that’s the way he wants to run.’’

The potential for an off track should not hinder General Maximus, who finished second to Giant Ryan – winner of the Grade 1 Vosburgh –in a third-level allowance over a sloppy Belmont main track in May.

General Maximus, who will be ridden by Corey Nakatani, should have ample speed to stalk with Sunrise Smarty, Nathan’s H Q, and Escrow Kid in the field.

Though Escrow Kid would be running back in 20 days, Doran said he would like to run because the horse “seems to be doing awesome.” However, Doran added he is fearful of a sealed or heavy racetrack, the kind he thinks works against speed horses.

Parent’s Honor would be the only 3-year-old in the field if he starts. With the exception of an inexplicable fifth-place finish at Penn National in July, Parent’s Honor has done little wrong sprinting including two straight allowance wins at Parx.

“His last two races were very good,’’ Dutrow said. “I’m sure against a lot different caliber of horse.”

If Parent’s Honor skips the race, Flat Bold becomes the top closer in the field. Frazil steps up in class after two strong starter handicap victories.

◗ Puzzling and Loure, one-two in a first-level allowance race at Saratoga, look like the ones to beat if Thursday’s $60,000 Capades Stakes stays on the turf at 1 1/16 miles as scheduled. If it is rained off to the dirt, Marion Ravenwood would become the one to beat in a race that would be shortened to a mile.

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