03/29/2014 10:01AM

Dave Litfin's Aqueduct handicapping notebook March 29


Friday, March 28, review

Horses with tactical speed fared well on Thursday and Friday, the first two days of racing on the main track. Of course, the switch to the longer 1 1/8-mile oval enables sprints longer than six furlongs for the first time since last fall; not surprisingly, 13 of the first 18 races were at distances from 6 1/2 furlongs to one mile, utilizing some, or all, of the chute.

In terms of track speed, Beyer Central rated the surface generally three to four ticks fast on both days.

Mighty Ian ($5.40) was able to set a moderate pace in wiring Friday’s first-level allowance feature at 1 1/8 miles; that was also the only two-turn race scheduled to be run through this coming Monday, March 31.

Horses with tactical speed positioned toward the inside have fared well overall: Five winners Thursday were either first or second after the opening quarter-mile.

No fewer than eight winners Friday either led or were within two lengths of the lead at that first call; the only exception was Awesome Heart ($18), who got a nifty ground-saving ride from apprentice Taylor Rice, who has considerable finesse given her relative inexperience.

Awesome Heart, by the way, was coming off a maiden win with a 75 Beyer Speed Figure that was tops in the field; don’t let anyone tell you there are no overlays on top-fig horses nowadays.

Horses to Watch

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin
Last race: March 27, 2nd
Finish: 2nd by nose
Beyer: 66
This homebred from Darley Stable was bottled up along the rail in the upper stretch, altered course sacrificing momentum, and finished fastest in a one-mile maiden special.

Trainer: Pat Kelly
Last race: March 28, 8th
Finish: 2nd by 5 3/4
Beyer: 85
Solid second chasing favored Mighty Ian around the main track, on the heels of a four-wide middle move in his prior start. All three of his wins have come on the Big A turf course.

Saturday, March 29, preview

All nine races Saturday are around one turn at distances ranging from six furlongs to a mile. The forecast calls for light rain developing by noon, with an 80 percent chance of that evolving into a steadier rain through the afternoon. Additionally, 1 to 2 inches of rain are expected overnight, so it appears likely the track will be sloppy on Sunday.

What do these horses have in common? Mama Zee ($4.20), Bedouin Now ($9.70), Classic R and B ($24.40), Big Business ($5), Pure Attitude ($4.10), Possetivevibration ($15.40), Platinum Bombshell ($6.60), and Mighty Ian ($5.40).

Answer: All had either won or placed previously on the main track before winning Thursday and Friday.

With that in mind, here is the roster of horses on Saturday’s card that have won over the main.

5th race: Aliana, Gloria Victoria, Carameaway.

7th race: Zetterholm, Empire Dreams.

8th race: Risky Rachel, Hot Rendezvous, Cape Cod Carol, La Verdad, Vicki’s Dancer, Sunny Desert.

The featured Broadway Stakes pits the last two winners, Risky Rachel and Sunny Desert, against the speedy La Verdad, who shortens up after finding seven furlongs a bit beyond her reach in the Barbara Fritchie.

La Verdad, who has won her last five starts at today’s six furlongs by 26 lengths, will be doubly tough to catch if she gets some moisture in the track, as seems likely.