It’s a tale of two race cards at Aqueduct on Friday as three legs of the early pick five are for maiden 2-year-old fillies and the late pick four has a trio of allowance or optional claimers for 3-year-olds and up.
It’s an interesting program, but four of those six races are scheduled for turf. It rained in the area Monday and Tuesday, should be pleasant Wednesday and Thursday, and the forecast calls for rain again Friday.
The race 8 feature is a second-level optional-claiming turf sprint, which has 10 horses, plus four-main-track-only runners on standby, including Pete’s Play Call and Still Krz.
Regardless of surface, Battle Station, who has won on firm turf, good turf, and in the slop, looks well spotted. Trained by Wesley Ward, he knocked out his New York-bred conditions with victories in the Rego Park and Bertram Bongard stakes and then won an open first-level allowance at Saratoga before being sent to Kentucky Downs for the $257,000 Franklin-Simpson, a 6 1/2-furlong turf stakes.
Battle Station raced in contention to the stretch but then tired to finish 10th, beaten seven lengths, in the 11-horse field. He has been working steadily at Keeneland and looks ready to go with John Velazquez named to ride.
If the turf course were firm, Stolen Pistol would be a key figure, but he does not appear to be at his best over softer footing.
Dr. Shane won a first-level allowance on turf last Friday and was entered back in this race Sunday by trainer Danny Gargan. Although the quick turnaround is a concern, he is capable on turf or dirt.
Race 7, a second-level optional claimer for New York-breds over 1 1/16 miles on turf, offers a nice matchup between the 3-year-olds Gambler’s Fallacy and Way Early.
Gambler’s Fallacy has rallied from far back to win his first two starts, both for trainer Chad Brown. He won his debut over good turf and then came back to win an allowance over a yielding course.
Way Early, who is trained by George Weaver, finished second in the Grade 2 Penn Mile and fourth in the Grade 3 Kent at Delaware Park over the summer before dropping into a first-level statebred allowance at Saratoga, which he won. He returned from a two-month layoff to miss by a nose in an open first-level allowance three weeks ago.
Race 2, a maiden race for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs on turf, features the expensive sale purchases And She’s Gone and Lady Grace, who will be making their first starts.
Bred by Claiborne Farm, And She’s Gone sold for $725,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September sale to Royal Oak Farm, a breeding facility outside Lexington, Ky. The daughter of War Front and the Arch mare Bend is now owned by the Chadds Ford Stable of Phyllis Mills Wyeth and is trained by Graham Motion.
And She’s Gone is a half-sister to both $1.1 million earner Clearly Now – who won the Swale, Bold Ruler, and Belmont Sprint Championship – and to Bendable, winner of the Desert Stormer and Beverly Lewis stakes.
Lady Grace was purchased by owner Tracy Farmer out of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales April auction of 2-year-olds for $300,000. Trained by Mark Casse, the daughter of Kantharos is a half-sister to Sis City, winner of the 2004 Demoiselle and the following year’s Ashland and Davona Dale.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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