03/18/2017 11:51AM

Saturday’s TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Mills would benefit from a more contested pace

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Aqueduct | Race 7 | Post Time 4:20 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 

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Testosterstone (#7) has to be considered the horse to beat. Ever since getting claimed by Gary Sciacca last fall, he has seemingly improved with each start. His last two races in particular have been arguably the best efforts of his career. Last time, despite racing three wide around both turns, he still finished with great determination to just miss in a duel to the wire with Splashtastic.

However, Testosterstone is going to have to maintain that top form because he faces some serious foes once again. Foremost among those is Stormin Monarcho (#2), who finished third behind Testosterstone last time. Stormin Monarcho was allowed to set an extremely slow pace that day, which helped his chances, but he did appear to get bumped and take an awkward step in the last eighth of a mile. He was not winning, but he may have finished a few feet closer if not for that trouble.

Mr Palmer (#3) comes into this race from a different direction, but he, too, is in top form. He was able to wear down the talented veterans Adirondack King and Doyouknowsomething last time, and either of them would be a top contender against this field. Yet it must be noted that Mr Palmer is one of many horses who have improved by leaps and bounds for trainer Joe Parker at this inner-track meet. The ordinary Mr Palmer wouldn’t have much of a chance in this race, so you have to wonder how much longer this barn can keep its improbable streak alive.

Clearly, there are many runners who can win this race, so I tried to focus on the one who I think will offer the best value.

While MILLS (#9) finished behind a couple of today’s rivals in that same Feb. 19 race at this level, an argument can be made that he put forth one of the better efforts that day. The pace was extremely slow (indicated by blue color-coding in TimeformUS PPs), and Mills was not only rating well off the pace but sustaining a wide trip at the back of the pack. Despite getting spun out wider into the stretch, he still finished quite well to get up for fourth. This time, there figures to be a more honest pace with speeds such as Stormin Monarcho, Mighty Moses, and Jay’s Way signed on. He figures to go off at the biggest price of the aforementioned runners, and he is my top pick.

THE PLAY

Win/Place: 9

Exacta Key Box: 9 with 2,3,5,7

Trifecta: 9 with 2,3,5,7 with 2,3,5,7