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Mud adds to Aqueduct's pick six's difficulty

3/17/2008

OZONE PARK, N.Y. -- For those who missed out on Aqueduct's million-dollar pick-six pool on March 5, a second opportunity awaits you on Wednesday. After the wager went unhit on Friday and Saturday - and with no racing Sunday through Tuesday - there is a carryover of $236,310 entering Wednesday's card.

Two weeks ago, when there was a carryover of $265,874, an additional $1.05 million was wagered into the pool. With Gulfstream and Santa Anita both dark Wednesday, handicappers will likely gravitate to Aqueduct's pick six.

Two weeks ago, there were only 50 betting interests - 41 after scratches. Wednesday, there are 57 betting interests in the sequence with nary a single on the card. Rain was forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday, meaning a wet track is likely.

Here's a look at the sequence:

Race 4: Statesman and Remorse ran one-two in this bottom-level condition on March 2, but be leery of either repeating those top efforts 17 days later. Instead, this race may boil down to David Jacobson's entry of Raceland and Kong's Revenge and the Ed Barker-trained 10-year-old gelding Explosive Count.

Raceland scratched out of a similar spot going long on Saturday. He takes the sharpest drop of anybody in this field. Stablemate Kong's Revenge comes off a win for $10,000 in his first start for Jacobson.

Explosive Count, a 23-time winner, has 4 wins and 2 seconds from his last 7 starts, loves the mud, has a versatile running style, and gets red-hot apprentice Sebastian Morales.

Race 5: Celtic Revenge and Naima finished second and fifth, respectively, in the same starter allowance on Jan. 24. Naima had a brutal trip that day, and came out of the race requiring 12 stitches, according to trainer Tom Bush. Two starts back, at this level, she was a 5 1/4-length winner and could find herself stalking Chanced, who must go from the outside post. Bush said he believes Naima can handle a wet surface. Celtic Revenge did have a wide trip and was fortunate to avoid a horse breaking down at the quarter pole. Be wary if the track is wet. Deep-pocketed players may want to add E. Judith, who drops to the lowest level of her career and could fall into a sweet stalking trip under Morales.

Race 6: Bettors should actually consider singling Ambidaxtrous, who was a bust at 1-2 just 17 days ago. Trainer Tom Bush explained that Ambidaxtrous "ran off'' with jockey Rajiv Maragh that day, and he is making a change to Mario Pino in hopes of getting her covered up early.

"That's what we're hoping to do, but it's not always the best style on the inner track,'' Bush said.

Others to consider are Sunset Heights, who had trouble in her debut sprinting last November and returns with series of steady works for a capable layoff barn, and Maria's Muse, who has improved with blinkers.

Race 7: This starter handicap is open to horses who have started for $16,000 claiming at least once since 2005. Bailero has only run that cheaply once in 55 career starts, winning by 4 1/4 lengths last Nov. 7. In his last two outs, Bailero was second to Warwick Wonder, who came back to win by 8 1/2 lengths Saturday, albeit for $7,500, and Silver Prospector, who was winning for the third time in four starts. Mithaal has only run for less than $16,000 once and that was two years ago. An off track is a concern.

Race 8: Sweet Vendetta has improved with blinkers, winning a maiden race by seven lengths before finishing second to Little Belle in the Busher Stakes, but a wet track would be a concern. Serious Vow won by 11 3/4 lengths when able to dictate a soft early pace; she may find things hotter up front in this $65,000 overnight stakes, but her barn is going very well lately.

Race 9: Would want to use as many as possible in this full field of New York-bred maiden fillies that includes six first-time starters. Evaluator finished third when sent off at 6-5 in her debut. Sweet Slam has been well-bet in all three starts and is out of a dam who won her debut in mud. Firster Karkaroum Cheyenne's sire and dam both won their debuts. City Vicar has good connections and steady works for her unveiling.