01/29/2013 1:50PM

Aqueduct: Violette has pick four pair worth a look


Trainer Rick Violette Jr. observed at last Friday’s board meeting of the New York Racing Association that “not everybody can eat steak and lobster year round.” Horseplayers looking to upgrade from hamburger to surf and turf, however, will give both of his runners a long look in Thursday’s late pick four sequence.

In race 7, a one-mile starter optional claimer originally on the menu a week ago, the New York-bred Go Get the Basil stretches out against open company after closing out his juvenile campaign with six-furlong scores at 23-1 and 10-1.

“He had two just awful performances with big excuses at Saratoga,” recalled Violette. “He displaced in the first race and came out of the second race with a temperature. I should have made a fortune when he broke his maiden win, but he ran in on me without betting a nickel.”

First time on the inner dirt, Go Get the Basil finished determinedly in winning a first-level allowance race, an effort that had him under consideration for last week’s Jimmy Winkfield, eventually won by stablemate Clawback.

Regarding Go Get the Basil’s top-figure allowance win, Violette said: “He bided his time, set sail and ran them down. I’m eager to stretch him out. This may be his strength.”

Two of Go Get the Basil’s half-siblings, Mr. Hopps (2011) and Hot Splash (2012), won two-turn races for the stable the past two winters.

Go Get the Basil, who is by 2005 Belmont Stakes runner-up Andromeda’s Hero, is among a handful of stretch-outs in the field along with Bold and Ready, Mr. Lit, Rambling, and Randi Persaud’s entry of Patriotic Duty and Summer Revival.

In race 8, Violette looks for an encore from Drinksonthehouse, who wired a first-level allowance route in her 5-year-old debut, which was her first start for the trainer and first past seven furlongs.

“The number came back pretty decent, but sometimes sprinters run big first time stretching out and don’t repeat the performance,” he cautioned. “But she’s doing great, and we’ll try to take advantage of her speed again.”

Stepping up to the second-level condition, Drinksonthehouse will break from the rail in an evenly matched field of eight fillies and mares.

Most of the others are competitive off their recent form, notably Silver Prize, a two-time winner at the fall meet for Jena Antonucci. Silver Prize set the pace in the Ladies Handicap first time on the inner track.