Updated on 09/16/2011 6:51AM

John Little, leader of pack in feature


A couple years ago, trainer Deborah Bodner had a horse in her barn who simply loved Aqueduct's inner and main tracks. That horse, Smart Coupons, won Aqueduct's Kings Point three years running and also won the Grade 3 Excelsior at the Big A for Bodner.

These days, Bodner has another Aqueduct lover on her hands in John Little, who is undefeated in three starts over the inner track.

John Little, a 4-year-old son of Blushing John, meets nine others on Thursday in Aqueduct's $54,000 feature, a mile race around two turns for older males.

John Little was a winner of three races in New Jersey before Bodner, who also owns the gelding, entered him in a race over the inner track on Dec. 13. John Little set the pace and won the first-level allowance race by 10 1/4 lengths. John Little's 98 Beyer Speed Figure represented a significant jump from the 58 he earned in his grass debut 12 days earlier.

Sixteen days after his inner track debut, John Little was back in the entries in a second-level allowance race. He pressed the pace and won the race by one length over eight rivals.

By now, bettors regarded John Little as the real deal when he was entered in another allowance race on Jan. 20. Sent off as the odds-on favorite, he won the race by 11 1/2 lengths, defeating three others.

Bodner is on vacation, so John Little will be saddled by her son and assistant, Richard, who said the gelding has matured. "He likes the inner track, but he's also realizing what he's supposed to do; he has turned into a racehorse."

Jose Velez Jr. has the mount. John Little drew the rail and will be prominent in early going.

Jarf, who has early speed and plenty of back class, is very much a threat.

Jarf makes his first start since finishing second in a Delaware Park stakes in July to Broken Vow, who won the Grade 2 Iselin Handicap in his next start. Jarf, a 6-year-old, has a steady workout pattern at Aqueduct for trainer Allen Iwinski.

Jarf drew post 6 and will be ridden by Richard Migliore.

There is a fair amount of speed in here, which could set things up nicely for Spectacularspencer.

Spectacularspencer, who was scratched from Sunday's Hollie Hughes in favor of this spot, won a $100,000 claimer at one mile in his last start on Jan. 31.

Trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., Spectacularspencer hasn't finished worse than third in 10 starts during the past 14 months.

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