03/31/2014 8:43AM

Dave Litfin's Aqueduct handicapping notebook March 31

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Sunday, March 30, review

Even die-hard racing fans had to grit their teeth to get through this program, which was whittled to 50 runners – 5.55 per race – after scratches and conducted over a quagmire through rain and a stiff north wind (headwind backstretch).

The main track played fair to all paths and running styles assuming ability to handle the going. How slow is slow? Beyer Central had the surface approximately two full seconds (10 ticks) slower than par at six furlongs and progressively slower still in the seven longer one-turn races that utilized some, or all, of the chute.

For you traditionalists, the track variant was 32 for races up to and including 7 1/2 furlongs (why must we run more and more races at that distance?). For the two one-mile races, the variant was 43, which is about as high as you’ll ever see, except perhaps for races run on turf through a rainstorm.

In the opener, won wire to wire by Amulay ($3.80), second choice Mess in a Dress was trying to win for the third time in 10 days, but seemed in desperate need of some time off after backing up to finish last. It was the mare’s fifth start in 27 days, for three different trainers.

In the one-mile allowance feature for New York-bred fillies and mares, Broadway Music Gal ($9.20) “outdueled” Typhoon Teri through opening fractions of 26.00 and 52.32 seconds and was able to shake loose around the turn through six furlongs in 1:17.83.

That is not a typo.

Horses to Watch

SHE’S STONES SIS
Trainer: Bruce Levine
Last race: March 30, 8th
Finish: 3rd by 3 1/2
Beyer: 50
You might’ve thought she might be asked to use her best weapon – early speed – stretching out from six furlongs in this one-mile optional claimer . . . and you would’ve been wrong. She has run well previously on the turn-back.

Monday, March 31, preview

For the first time since Breeders’ Cup Saturday, Nov. 2, Aqueduct goes with an eight-race card. Money may make the mare go, as they say, but there simply isn’t enough horsepower to run on 10 of 11 days at this transitional time on the New York racing calendar, as we are doing through next Sunday.

The abridged program makes for some changes in the wagering menu.

The pick six (no carryover) begins with race 3.

The late pick four begins with race 5, which is a potential linchpin for multi-race exotic bettors, as it also anchors the early pick four and the 50-cent pick five.

There are 50 runners entered, but a number of scratches are expected because of another off track. Some contenders that look as though they prefer fast, dry footing include: Pete’s Fleet, the 8-5 morning-line choice in race 2; Very Cherry Candy (8-5) in race 4; and Miss Da Point (8-5) in race 7.

Potential wet track move-ups include: Rodinia (1st); Maybrys Challenge (2nd); Brown Mellisa (3rd); Hoppy Do and Grand Rapport (6th).