04/10/2014 8:27AM

Dave Litfin’s Aqueduct handicapping notebook for April 10


Wednesday, April 9, review

With the start of turf racing delayed at least one more day, management’s struggle to round up horses continued. A mere 53 betting interests (5.88 per race) remained after scratches, and with the exception of Very Accomplished ($11.40), there were no double-digit win payoffs; five winners went off at 9-5 or lower.

As was the case Sunday, there was no apparent running-style bias, but it seemed as though the outside was the place to be.

Don’t adjust your monitors or your timing devices, because it seems the fractions were correct for Seeker (5th race, $4.70), who was simply dreadful when claimed from a last-place finish March 7 but seemed back to his old self first time out for David Jacobson. That he was allowed to amble along through molasses-like splits of 24.97 and 49.19 seconds certainly helped, and he had plenty left to sprint home the seventh and final furlong in 12:27 despite drifting out.

Call for the Clock (8th, $5.60) had earned his lifetime-best Beyer Speed Figure (84) while going from the inner track to the main track last April to win a New York-bred optional claimer at 24-1. The 78 he got for running down a stubborn Indy Tune in the day’s nominal feature was his best number since then.

Horse to Watch

Trainer: Michelle Nevin
Last race: April 9, 8th
Finish: 2nd by 2 1/2
Beyer: 73
Stepped up to a second-level optional claimer first time off a claim, argued the early pace, shook clear into the stretch, and held gamely while racing along the deeper inside footing. The 6-year-old gelding earned his lifetime-best Beyer (81) in winning at Belmont last June.

Thursday, April 10, preview

Rain earlier in the week forced yesterday’s first scheduled turf race to the main track. Hopefully, we will be on the turf for the first time since last fall with a starter allowance (race 4) for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles. However, race 9, originally scheduled for turf, has been taken off.

Race 4 might boil down to two mares who have had repeated success around the Big A turf’s hairpin turns, Downtown Hottie and Ezpz Lemon Squeeze. The former is 3 for 8 over the layout, compared with 2 for 41 elsewhere; the latter is 2 for 4 over the course and just 1 for 16 otherwise.
Five fillies and mares go in the second-level allowance feature at seven furlongs (race 8). Elena Strikes and Six Queens will vie for favoritism after winning their seasonal debuts nicely at Gulfstream Park.

In her first start in six months, Elena Strikes won by better than seven lengths over Risque Reality; that performance was flattered when Risque Reality came back to win here last Sunday.

Six Queens, a sparingly raced 5-year-old, has won two of three starts. She has been given seven weeks to recover from a comeback win Feb. 21 that earned the top Beyer (87) in the lineup.

Don’t overlook Hot Rendezvous, an improved New York-bred who flew under the radar to win four times at 4-1 or better from November through February. She was off slowest most recently in the Broadway after breaking in the air, altered course to the rail in the stretch, and finished strongly behind La Verdad before galloping out full of run.