A compact field of six line up in Saturday’s $100,000 Haynesfield, a one-mile test on the main track led by defending champion Honor Up and the ultra tough Mr. Buff.
Honor Up won this race last year by a nose and will be making his second start off a seven-month layoff for trainer Michelle Nevin. The five-year-old breaks from the three post at 4-1 on the morning line with jockey Manny Franco aboard.
Standing in his way is the 4-5 morning line favorite Mr. Buff, who is coming off back to back wins. He won the Jazil in the slop here on Jan 25 and won the state bred Alex M. Robb two back, both wins at nine furlongs.
Trained by John Kimmel, the gelding will break from the rail with his regular rider Junior Alvarado.
“Obviously, he’s doing quite well,” Kimmel said. “He’s run pretty well at a mile, too. I think he’ll handle the mile just fine.”
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Grade 1 placed Syndergaard (3-1) will be making his first start since running fourth in the state bred Commentator last May. The John Terranova trainee went 0 for 5 last year including a tough nose loss in the Haynesfield to our top pick.
Let’s head out to Aqueduct for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Aqueduct Race 8 The Haynesfield Post time 4:50 ET
3 Honor Up 4-1
1 Mr. Buff 4-5
2 Syndergaard 3-1
4 I Love Jaxson 5-1
The five-year-old is the defending champ of this race, winning it by a nose last year paying $6.80. He is 0 for 3 since that win, a third in the Carter ‘Cap (G1) and a fifth in the state bred Commentator before hitting the bench. He returned last out against state bred non-conditioned allowance foes here in the slop on Dec. 30. The Nevin trainee tracked the early pace while saving ground, angled out four wide and weakened to finish sixth. The winner Sicilia Mike came back to beat open Alw-1 company on Feb. 8 and the third-place finisher Tribecca beat Alw-2 optional claimers in his next outing on Feb. 9. He stretches out to a mile for his second start off the bench and figures to move forward off his comeback effort. He has done some of his best running here landing in the exacta in six of eight starts and is going to offer more value than our second choice in here.
The morning line chalk has won three of his last four starts, taking the Jazil last out in the slop at nine furlongs. It was his seventh win in a dozen starts over the main track here. However, his last four wins have come at nine furlongs and he is just 1 for 8 at a mile. In addition, in his win in the Jazil he took the field gate to wire over a racing strip that was playing to inside speed that day. He owns four triple digit Beyers in his last 10 starts and no one else in the field has done it once. The gelding will be tough to keep out of the exacta, but we may have a shot of beating him for the top spot.
This guy missed in the 2016 Champagne (G1) by just a nose as a juvenile but never lived up to his hype with just one win in a dozen starts since then, that victory coming against state bred Alw-2 optional claimers. He was beaten just a nose in this race last year and ran decent last out in the Commentator in a fourth-place finish where Mr. Buff was third. Now six, he has been working sharply in the mornings for his return off the bench here for the Terranova barn that is 6 for 19 (32% with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff.
WIN: Honor Up to win at 3-1 or better.
EXACTA: 1,3 / 1,2,3
TRIFECTA: no play