04/11/2014 8:49AM

Dave Litfin's Aqueduct handicapping notebook April 11


Thursday, April 10 review

The first turf race of the season served as a reminder that the horse-for-course factor very much applies to Aqueduct’s sharp-turned layout, as Ezpz Lemon Squeeze ($11.40) rallied from mid-pack to overtake Florida invader Starship Pleasant in the final strides of a 1 1/16-mile starter allowance. Ezpz Lemon Squeeze upped her record over the local course to 3-1-0 from four starts; she is 1 for 16 anywhere else.

A stiff tailwind down the backstretch gave early fractions a boost, most notably in the featured second-level allowance (race 8), in which Elena Strikes hooked up in a duel with a revved-up Love to Score (blinkers on) through a half-mile in 44.82 seconds. This was a perfect setup for Six Queens ($4), who tracked the embattled duo in the clear and surged past on the outside in the lane.

Six Queens, a lightly raced 5-year-old half-sister to multiple graded turf stakes winner Film Maker, has won 3 of 4 starts, all for Darley Stable and Kiaran McLaughlin.

McLaughlin swept the chalky late double ($10) when Mulheb ($4) dropped from the allowance ranks to a $25,000 restricted claimer and took the off-the-turf finale in a laugher.

Friday, April 11 preview

It’s advisable to await up-to-the-minute weather conditions before finalizing any strategies for the day, as the forecast calls for overcast skies and a 50 percent chance of showers. Naturally, this could affect race 1 and race 6, which are scheduled for a turf course that was labeled yielding on Thursday.

In race 3, it may be worth taking a shot against Star of Sarava, who at 4-5 on the morning line is the shortest-priced favorite on the card. While he beat several members of this field on the inner track, he was fully stretched to prevail with the aid of a St. Patrick’s Day speed bias. The 6-year-old gelding is susceptible to a bounce as he picks up an additional seven pounds in this $12,500 claimer out of the chute, and all six of his victories have been around two turns.

Whether race 6 stays on turf or winds up on the main track it may be a case of “What can Brown do for you,” as Chad Brown has Make It Anywhere in for dirt only, and Fizzy Pink set to make her United States and seasonal debut if it stays on.

Fizzy Pink’s only start came in her native Great Britain on the all-weather surface at Wolverhampton back in February 2013, but layoff imports for this barn often run well, and her final workout at Palm Meadows was a five-furlong breeze on turf in 59.40 seconds.
As will be the case with many a turf race in the coming days, layoffs abound in the field. Among the returnees in this maiden special weight is Truly Mizzed, the only entrant with experience over this turf course. Her trainer, David Donk, annually has his grass horses ready to go in early spring.

Race 8, the featured first-level allowance for fillies and mares, looks to be between Regent’s House and Lost in Success.
Regent’s House, the first winner out of dual champion mare and $3.9-million earner Ashado, is the only 3-year-old in the lineup. She was being considered for last week’s Gazelle in the wake of her impressive debut win March 9, but her connections opted for this more conservative spot.

Lost in Success returned from a three-month absence to win her 4-year-old debut by nearly six lengths on Feb. 2, but then came up flat as part of a 1-2 entry 26 day later. Given a six-week respite, and drawn on the outside in a short field, she may receive an outside stalking trip similar to the trip in her maiden win.