April 22, 2024

Aqueduct Notebook

Last updated: 3/1/05 5:47 PM


AQUEDUCT NOTEBOOK

MARCH 2, 2005

by Bernard T. Moore

The last weekend of racing in February at Aqueduct featured the Rare Treat
H. over the inner dirt track for fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles.
After a forgettable trip to Gulfstream Park last month, Rare Gift (Unbridled’s
Song) returned home to more familiar surroundings for Saturday’s feature and was
promptly installed as the 6-5 favorite in the race. Despite returning to the
course of her most recent victory, she was unable to get back on the winning
track as MISS FORTUNATE (Deputy Minister) came roaring from off the pace to post
decisive 2 3/4-length victory.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Miss Fortunate sat a good trip from off
the pace as Rare Gift and Say Hey Willie (Artax) knocked heads on the front end.
The winner seized the lead shortly after entering the stretch as the early
pacesetters began faltering towards her inside. She eventually drew clear under
a drive by jockey Shaun Bridgmohan in deep stretch to win by daylight as Lady
Libby (Sea Salute), the early trailer, closed belatedly in the stretch to gain
second, a nose in front of Rare Gift.

A five-time winner in her career, this was Miss Fortunate’s first victory
since shipping from the Midwest to New York, and her initial success over the
inner track.

AMAZING BUY (High Yield), who has been unbeaten since equipped with Lasix by
trainer Jennifer Pedersen, kept her winning streak intact on Sunday with a gutsy
front-running score in the Busher S., a race for three-year-old
fillies at 1 1/16 miles. Sent off the 9-5 favorite, Amazing Buy seized the lead under
regular rider Norberto Arroyo Jr. shortly after the start and was able to
dictate a controlled pace on the front end as eventual runner-up Neverlacken
(Smoke Glacken) applied only token pressure.

The pair paraded around the track
as a team and ultimately reduced the Busher to a match race as they began
distancing themselves from the rest of the competition on the far turn. Even
though Amazing Buy stole away to a daylight advantage in the stretch,
Neverlacken was diligent in her pursuit of the leader, as she steadily whittled
away at her deficit. However, her closing bid would fall a length short as she
had to settle for second. Third-place finisher Winning Season (Lemon Drop Kid)
trailed the field early on and was hindered by an unflattering pace scenario off
a layoff. As a result, she was able to offer only a feeble response in the lane
as the 2-1 second choice in the wagering.

Early speed was essential in sprints all week, as route races remained
relatively unbiased. There did not appear to be any path biases all week.

Richard Dutrow Jr. leads Scott Lake by two wins in the trainer’s standings.
Gary Contessa is just three scores behind Dutrow, with Mike Hushion and Bruce
Levine tied for fourth.

Rafael Bejarano upped his lead in his quest for leading rider as he now
holds a 16-win edge over Norberto Arroyo Jr. Shaun Bridgmohan continues to hold
down third place, followed by Richard Migliore and Mike Luzzi with Stewart
Elliott dropping to sixth.

HORSES TO WATCH

Thursday (2/24)

3RD – MAID OF SUNLIGHT (Crafty Friend) improved her effort stepping up in her
second career start. The three-year-old gave futile chase to an odds-on winning
favorite who had had things her own way on the front end. She was clearly
second-best in a race that finished up well late.

7TH – MERRILL GOLD (Gold Fever) finished a strong third off the Jose Martin
claim after a class hike. She held well attending the pace throughout and would
benefit from a drop into a claimer and/or a revert to rating tactics.

9TH – FREEDOM STORM (Acceptable) was understandably tired after chasing an
extremely fast pace in his inner track debut off a layoff. He should derive beneficial conditioning from this effort.

Friday (2/25)

3RD – GO HAILEY GO (Out of Place) was saddled with a tough task in her first
start against winners. She was allowed to lag too far behind the early pace in a
race that was fast throughout, but closed with interest late over a speed-conducive track.

7TH – WILD CEE (Wild Again) ran sneaky well making her second start off a
prolonged layoff. She exhibited much improved early speed to dispute a lively
pace prior to tiring in the stretch.

Saturday (2/26)

3RD – HOLIDAY RATES (Concorde’s Tune) vastly improved with the addition of
Lasix and blinkers on the drop into a 25K maiden claimer and exhibited surprise
speed in her second career start to contest lively fractions, winning the pace
battle but losing the war.

7TH – ANGLIANA (Giant’s Causeway) appears to be slowly rounding back into
form for a very lively barn at the meet. The sophomore raced evenly in a swiftly
run race reuniting with previous jockey Migliore. He should only improve with
age and distance and may eventually be switched to the turf, as both his sire
and dam excelled over the grass.

Sunday (2/27)

7TH – ZERO PROBABILITY (Gorky Park [FR]) was clearly second best behind an
odds-on favorite in a Gulfstream Park shipper who dominated the competition.
The sophomore filly held well contesting the pace in a race that quickened
noticeably late.