02/28/2013 4:51PM

Byron King: Sisterly Love looks good in Top Flight

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Bob Coglianese
Sisterly Love should appreciate the easier company she faces in the Top Flight.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In pondering Saturday’s two richest races – the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap and $400,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct – I see chalk and chaos, respectively.

Chalk, as in Game On Dude likely winning at a short price in the Big Cap, and chaos in what looks like a crowded scramble to the first turn in the 12-horse Gotham at 1 1/16 miles.

So I’ll leave those two races as races to watch, not races to bet, and focus instead on races that offer more wagering appeal.

First up is the Top Flight Handicap from Aqueduct, one of two graded races that support the Gotham Saturday. There, the choice is Sisterly Love, most recently third in the Houston Ladies behind Joyful Victory and Brushed by a Star.

She lost for the first time in that race after winning her previous three starts and being purchased privately, so some of the shine of being an unbeaten horse is off Sisterly Love. But she lost little in defeat in Houston Ladies, running behind two graded-stakes-winning fillies in her first race going two turns.

With that lesson behind her, she should appreciate the easier company she faces in the Top Flight. The bulk of the opposition comprises Aqueduct winter horses, hardly the elite of the division, and one of the few who are a notch better, Summer Applause, figures to be overbet coming off a troubled trip that no one missed and making a noticeable barn change to that of trainer Chad Brown.

Summer Applause, one of the top 3-year-old fillies of last year, also competed in the Houston Ladies, not that she did much racing – near the leaders, anyway. Soon after the start, jockey Miguel Mena lost his irons, and though he recovered them, the incident cost her position.

How much it cost her is impossible to determine. But the betting public will likely treat the race as an entire toss-out, when there are no assurances she would have been right with the top group without trouble.

Remember, this is a filly who was sidelined after running fourth in the Kentucky Oaks for surgery to remove a chip from a knee. Only time will tell if she can return to her form of old.

Given that uncertainty, Sisterly Love seems the better wager, especially since she’s 3-1, a tick higher than the 5-2 odds on the morning line for Summer Applause.

Res Judicata offers value in Swale

A fatter price looms on 8-1 Res Judicata in the Grade 3 Swale at Gulfstream. A fast but relatively unknown colt, he enters the Swale having not raced this year, but he has other strengths that, at least at his price, warrant a forgiving attitude toward his inactivity.

He has two wins and a second in four starts, and his efforts late last year at Parx were deceptively good.

In a restricted stakes race there Nov. 18, he won as much the best with first-time Lasix. And then a start later, on Dec. 8, he ran a close second in a swiftly run renewal of the Pennsylvania Nursery for statebred runners

Although the winner of that race, Officer Alex, has twice disappointed in open company, third-place finisher Siete de Oros later finished a close second to Vyjack in the Jerome and then third behind Revolutionary in the Withers.

Granted, Res Judicata is far from a clear-cut winner in a deep and quality field led by Forty Tales and Undrafted, the second- and third-place horses in the Grade 2 Hutcheson. But the distance suits, and being a stalker, he looks positioned to get a favorable trip.

Don’t be surprised, either, if he drifts above his 8-1 morning line.

Favorites vulnerable in Gazebo

Another intriguing sprint stakes race for 3-year-olds is the Gazebo at Oaklawn, a race that features the return of Titletown Five, a colt who won a maiden race at Churchill Downs by nine lengths Oct. 28 after three close losing efforts, including a neck loss to Violence in a race at Saratoga.

But having returned to breezing less than a month ago after undergoing knee surgery for a chip, he might not have the foundation to immediately produce a peak effort.

Get Happy Mister, another one of the favorites after going perfect in four starts at Arapahoe Park in Colorado, could also be short on fitness, having not raced since Aug. 19.

The vulnerability of Titletown Five and Get Happy Mister leave me encouraged about the prospects of Malibu High, who is cutting back to a sprint after fading to fifth in the Risen Star.

Trainer Cecil Borel also reunites the horse with his brother Calvin, who is 2 for 2 aboard Malibu High.