04/03/2014 6:24PM

Dave Litfin's Aqueduct handicapping notebook April 4


Thursday, April 3 review

After a very live rail produced several front-end longshots and a pick six carryover Wednesday, the main track appeared fair through Thursday’s nine races, all of which were run around one turn. There was $184,965 in fresh money chasing the $29,263 leftovers from the previous afternoon, and those who navigated through a relatively tame sequence of winners, only one of which was better than 2-1, received $3,375.

Nice work, if you can get it.

Truth be told, it was mostly grim fare. After all, when all you can get on a 6-year-old maiden like Magnificent Moon is 4-5, who crushed his hapless opponents in the finale, what can be said for the remainder?

Thankfully, as we all wait for the turf course to green up, there were a couple of bright patches:

In the “What Do You Need To Know Department,” Life in Shambles ($15.40) and odds-on choice Peter Island, the first New York starters of 2014 for Christophe Clement and Shug McGaughey, respectively, linked for a $54.50 exacta in race 6, the co-featured first-level allowance for 3-year-olds.

In a fitting tribute to the late Dominic Galluscio, Marriedtothemusic ($4), one of the fastest sprinters the popular conditioner ever trained, ran seven pursuers off their collective feet for Linda Rice. They’ll have to go some at this short spring meet to better his 1:08.98 for six furlongs.

Griffin Rock
Trainer: Bruce Levine
Last race: April 3, 5th
Finish: 2nd by 1 3/4
Beyer: 74

Although this (very) late bloomer started off 1 for 44, he won two straight to begin his 6-year-old season this year. It might’ve been three in a row, but he raced in a bit of traffic behind the leaders. He ran on willingly in this $12,500 mile behind favored Sovereign Default (who was able to set a slow pace) and had better than four lengths on the rest.

Friday, April 4 preview

In advance of Saturday’s Wood Memorial and Gazelle, those looking to get a handle on how 1 1/8-mile races are playing will go to school on race 5, which will be just the second race of the meet at the distance, and the first since Mighty Ian waltzed through an easy pace last Friday. It’s not an especially easy race to make heads or tails of, as probable pacesetter Joan’s Choice, 7, was just claimed by David Jacobson out of a no-excuse return when caught late second time out this year, and Tech Fall, fourth in the 2011 Dwyer, makes just his second starts since June of 2012, which was also two trainers ago.

Race 7 looks like a potentially live maiden special weight sprint where the probable choice is Fame and Fortune, a 4-year-old full sister to last year’s Whitney winner, Cross Traffic. This will be her first start since a debut 364 days ago, when she was second to Sweet N Discreet – the Sunshine Millions Distaff winner who was second most recently in the Grade 2 Sabin Stakes. Among her opponents are the Darley Stable entry of first-time starters Kate Greenaway, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, and Mrs. Patmore, trained by Tom Albertrani. Sea Trial, first-time Lasix in her seasonal bow for the Phipps Stable and Shug McGaughey, bears watching as well.