03/06/2012 4:11PM

Aqueduct: Several favorites likely to connect on Thursday card


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Students of form have hit the jackpot at Aqueduct the past two winters. Heading into the last four weeks of the current meet, inner track-track favorites are 235 for 569, a 41.3 percent hit rate that rivals last winter’s 42.5 percent and includes a run of 12 consecutive wins by odds-on propositions Feb. 19-24.

Here’s a look at the morning-line choices on Thursday’s card. If history is any indication, at least three are winners listed and quite possibly more.

First race: The winner of the opener paid $3.30 or less seven of 12 racing days Feb. 18 through Mar. 4, but you’ll do a bit better with Pleasantfriday, a lukewarm 2-1 choice after winning last Friday’s first race and being claimed by Linda Rice. Oddly enough, the 15-1 outsider is, wait for it . . . Chalk Player.

Second race: Russian Ally is another Rice-trained favorite from the rail – a tepid 3-1 in a wide-open maiden sprint where his chief competition could be uncoupled stablemate Tycoon Cat.

Third race: Skiddles n’ Bob ships in from Florida, which is almost enough to make her 8-5 in and of itself. Throw in a top-figure maiden win two starts back for Stanley Hough, and she looks like a place to hang your hat in the early pick four.

Fourth race: What would you take on a maiden who has already lost three times as the favorite, breaks from the far outside post in a one-mile race with a short run to the first turn, and was pulled up last time? How does 4-5 on Indigene Charm sound?

Fifth race: In the “featured” $51,000 starter/optional claimer, Blushing Martha, a rallying third in her local bow for Eric Reed, is a slim 9-5 choice over Ode to Sami (2-1). Ode to Sami ships north with a trainer change to Gary Contessa, after three improved races at Tampa Bay Downs.

Sixth race: Quiet Eyes (9-5) and Even Got Quiet (5-2) are stretch runners in a maiden claimer with no early speed, at least on paper. New shooters Greeley Pack, King Kreesa, Robert’s Breach, and Rockheaded all bear watching for that reason.

Seventh race: Going first time off a claim by Richard Dutrow Jr., Saginaw (2-1) may rule a slight choice over David Jacobson’s uncoupled duo of Understatement (5-2) and Poni Colada (7-2).

Eighth race: At 8-5 it’s either Bernie the Maestro or Ruffino, but David Cohen is named on both, so only one from the Jacobson-trained entry will run.

Ninth race: Carrot Thief (3-1), a late-running sprinter in four starts so far, stretches out to a mile for Pat Quick. She may be a slight choice over Mommy’s Dearest (7-2).