The racing at Aqueduct heats up over the holiday weekend, starting with Thursday’s $150,000 Fall Highweight (G3), with six graded stakes to be contested including four on Saturday.
The headliner on Saturday will be Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) champion Groupie Doll, who will take on the boys in the $350,000 Cigar Mile (G1).
The Thanksgiving Day card gets underway at 11:25am ET, with final post on the nine race card at 3:10 ET, giving horseplayers plenty of time to get to the dinner table.
The Fall Highweight drew a field of six led by Poseidon’s Warrior (8-5), who is looking to rebound off a 14th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita. The colt is also entered Wednesday night at Penn National in the $200,000 Fabulous Strike where he is the 5-2 morning line favorite.
Second choice is Caixa Eletronica (9-5) who is seeking to snap a five race losing streak. The seven-year-old trained by Todd Pletcher is winless since taking the True North (G2) at Belmont Park back in June.
Rick Dutrow will send out Willy Beamin (6-1), who checked in second in the Discovery Handicap (G3) on Saturday. The quick turnaround is not an issue as the gelding won the King’s Bishop (G1) on Aug. 25 after he won the state bred Albany just three days earlier.
Dutrow will also saddle the speedy This Ones for Phil (5-1), who has been on the bench since running second in the Diablo at Belmont Park back in May.
Completing the field is Hudson winner Mine Over Matter (8-1) and Small Town Talk (15-1), who was second in the Frank “Poncho” Martin in his last outing on Oct. 19 and is also entered in the Swatara Stakes at Penn National on Wednesday evening.
Friday’s $200,000 Go for Wand (G2) drew a compact field of five fillies and mares who will go one mile on the main track.
The Dutrow trained Fantasy of Flight is the 7-5 morning line favorite and is coming off a gate to wire score against third level optional claimers in her first start off a 5 ½ month layoff. She has landed in the exacta in six of her eight career starts including a runner up finish in the Dogwood (G3) last June.
Her main rival figures to be Willet (5-2), a winner of four of seven in her career including a score in the state bred Iroquois in the mud at Belmont Park on Oct. 20.
Nefertini (7-2) is coming off a third place finish in the Turnback the Alarm (G3) for trainer Alan Goldberg, and R Gypsy Gold (7-2) was fifth in that race and is winless in three starts since taking the Endear at Belmont Park in July.
Dutrow will also saddle Hard Life (12-1), the highest price in the fields. The four-year-old filly was not a threat in a sixth place finish on the turf last out against second level optional claimers. She was claimed for $15,000 back in May and has run as cheap as $6,250 and broke her maiden for just a $8,000 tag at Golden Gate Fields last year.
The Cigar Mile for three-year-olds and upward headlines the Saturday card, which also includes the $350,000 Gazelle (G1) for three-year-old fillies, the $250,000 Remsen (G2) for two-year-olds, and the $250,000 Demoiselle (G2) for two-year-old fillies.
Among those facing Groupie Doll in the Cigar Mile are 2010 Cigar Mile winner Jersey Town, Buffum, Associate, and Stay Thirsty. Trainer Bob Baffert said he will send either Coil or Capital Account, and Dale Romans said he will make a decision on Monday on running Shackleford in the race or he may run him in the Clark Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs.
Thursday Aqueduct Race 8 The $150,000 Fall Highweight (G3)
1. This Ones for Phil 5-1
2. Caixa Eletronica 9-5
3. Willy Beamin 6-1
4. Mine Over Matter 8-1
5. Poseidon’s Warrior 8-5
6. Small Town Talk 15-1
Friday Aqueduct Race 9 The $200,000 Go For Wand (G2)
1. Willet 5-2
2. Nefertini 4-1
3. Fantasy of Flight 7-5
4. R Gypsy Gold 7-2
5. Hard Life 12-1
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