Steve Matthews’ Aqueduct picks for Dec. 16

Best Bet: TAKE ISSUE (8)

Best Value: FREZETTI (2)

FIRST: Steve’s Philly was a change-of-pace second last time; rates close call. Kentucky Road bested a next-out winner when a clear-cut second in last; very dangerous. Trapper Jane was just a neck behind top selection in debut; must consider.

SECOND: Ferzetti finally found the winner’s circle last time and could pair up in weak field. Barrier to Entry is speedy, drops and gets favorable cutback in distance. Rose Quartz is training sharply and logged only win on inner surface; worth long look.

THIRD: Taghleeb consistently logs field’s fastest final fractions. Majestic Affair could play out as the controlling speed with aggressive ride. Lucky Lotto owns three wins and two seconds in five starts on winterized strip; more than good enough on ‘A’ game.

FOURTH: Harlan’s Glory drops and makes peak start of form cycle; call based on price potential. Uncle Duncan owns fast figs but will offer paltry price; not how we play the game. Gunlock drops two price levels and returns to dirt; mixed message.

FIFTH: Sol the Freud was a hard-fought third in last; softer setup today. Street Swag has won three in a row at FL; demand value on slumping stable. Laila’s Jazz has won three of last four in upstate NY; must consider.

SIXTH: Out of Nowhere was a hard-charging second on turf last time; transfers razor-sharp form to dirt. Riot Worthy made solid late run for second in last and should be aided by today’s added ground. Acapella has failed as the favorite in all three starts; handle with care at short ticket.

SEVENTH: Copernicus tallied both wins on inner track and was gelded since claimed from last start. Rico Capote is a front-end threat on best efforts. Watch the Tie compiled tight work tab for first start in 65 days.

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EIGHTH: Take Issue is 2-for-2 on inner strip and gets favorable cutback to 6 furlongs. Slam Chowder also is 2-for-2 on winterized oval and was a tough-trip fourth in last. Here’s Zealicious, another inner-track lover, gets confident price hike. Shotgun Love fired half-mile bullet since determined win in last; must consider.

NINTH: Fortunate Sky owns solid final fractions and was compromised by wide trips in last three starts. Cadey’s Rambo drops and returns to dirt after displaying improved speed in last; very interesting. Giulio Cesari owns speed and strong final numbers on ‘A’ game; price will be tempting. Alaapatique needed last and is competitive on best.