The second straight day at Aqueduct focuses on a $90,000 maiden special weight race for 3-year-olds and up over 1 3/8 miles on the turf. The field of 9 will go off as race 6 of an 8-race card with an approximate post time of 3:17 p.m. ET.
#9, North Dakota, Manuel Franco, 9-2
North Dakota has posted two straight third-place finishes, including his last here in a maiden special weight on Nov. 16. It tells you something right there that trainer Shug McGaughey is bringing him back six days later! Manuel Franco gets the mount for the first time in North Dakota’s fifth career start. The pick.
#7, Bad Dude, Eric Cancel, 4-1
This will be Bad Dude’s second start after a sixth-place finish in a maiden claiming race at Belmont Oct. 18. Eric Cancel gets the call in the saddle today for trainer Philip Serpe. Taking a shot here if not a lot to go on, but I believe in Cancel’s ability for a significant improve. Runner-up.
#4, Betterment, Jose Lezcano, 3-1
This will be Betterment’s fifth career start (0-1-1) in which he is coming off his best finish, second-place, in a maiden special weight race on Oct. 26. This will be his first start at Aqueduct, but will be Jose Lezcano’s second straight mount for trainer Mark Hennig. Lezcano getting a ride under his belt, especially after the gutty performance in the last, will do wonders for this horse. Contender.
#1, Malthael, Joel Rosario, 3-1
Malthael finished in the money (0-2-2-) in four starts prior to his last, which was a disappointing sixth-place finish in a maiden special weight at Belmont Park Oct. 26. In his only race at Aqueduct a year ago, he finished fourth in a maiden special weight on Nov. 21, 2018. Joel Rosario returns after one missed start for trainer Christophe Clement and that should work in Malthael’s favor as he looks for his first victory in his 10th career start. In the mix.
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By Lou Monaco