04/11/2013 2:01PM

Aqueduct: Windsurfer not being hurried

Barbara D. Livingston
Last year, Windsurfer won a maiden race at Gulfstream before finishing sixth in the Louisiana Derby.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Windsurfer will likely end up in a graded stakes sooner than later, but rather than rush him into one as they did last year, his connections opted for the more conservative approach and found a cozy spot in Friday's $69,000 second-level allowance feature at Aqueduct.

Windsurfer returned from a nine-month layoff to win a first-level allowance race by 7 3/4 lengths on Feb. 15 at Gulfstream Park. There were graded opportunities such as the Skip Away at Gulfstream or the Excelsior at Aqueduct, but WinStar Farm and trainer Todd Pletcher exercised restraint.

"We felt like we wanted a little more foundation. He only has had the one race in a while," Pletcher said. "Last year, we went from the maiden ranks to a graded stakes, and it didn't work out."

Last year, Windsurfer won a maiden race at Gulfstream before finishing sixth in the Louisiana Derby.

Windsurfer ran back in an allowance race at Churchill on Kentucky Derby Day, finishing fourth before going to the sidelines.

In his return, he got away with modest early fractions and cruised to an easy victory and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 103.

"He has always trained like a graded stakes horse to us," Pletcher said. "It was more surprising he didn't perform like that before. That was more of what we've been expecting."

Jose Lezcano, who won three of the first four races on Wednesday's card, will ride Windsurfer in Friday's race at 1 1/8 miles.

Windsurfer's major competition figures to come from Readtheprospectus, a New York-bred gelding by Read the Footnotes who has won four consecutive races, including an open-level allowance race last out over Aqueduct's inner track.

Ea, the 9-year-old gelding who won the Coyote Lakes Stakes at 1 1/2 miles in January, returns after a third-place finish the Moro Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 16. He is one of four horses entered for the optional claiming price of $62,500.

Aussi Austin, Spa City Fever, Keep Me Informed are also in for the claiming price.