Steve Matthews' Aqueduct selections for Sunday, Feb. 5
Best Bet: JOHN'S PROTEGE (6); Best Value: FAMISHED (4)
FIRST: Abreu entry: Check Engine Light was an improved third in last and mate Alice Kramden is training consistently for first start since July. Tryinmyheartout tallied deceptively fast late-pace figure in debut; very interesting. Gifted and River Oaks are an uncoupled pair from the streaking Bill Mott barn; what a game.
SECOND: Texila was a front-running maiden winner in last; main speed once again. April Antics could be in the garden if top selection hits the wall. Sweet Sensation is another that would be aided by pace meltdown.
THIRD: Royal Poppy has trained with a purpose since maiden score in December; gets black type. Girl Trouble has won three in a row at Parx; logical, short-priced threat. Malibu Moonshine has yet tot taste defeat in three starts; right in the thick of this.
FOURTH: Famished logged fast late-pace figure when an "eased up" winner in last; pairs up. Quickflash set swift fractions when winning most recent; dangerous. O'Trouble has won four of last six starts; must consider.
FIFTH: Warrior in Chief regressed in last after hard-fought placings in previous two; rebounds. Cool Quartet drops after wide trip in last; worth long look. Perceived is off form but drops and owns fast back numbers; mixed message.
SIXTH: John's Protege fired half-mile bullet since claimed on Jan. 15; quick dividends for new barn. Braciole has finished second in last two; runner-up again? Outasite is fresh, owns fast numbers and drops to lifetime low; hard to toss.
SEVENTH: Sheriff Bianco fires strong efforts with machine-like consistency; puny price is the problem. Bourbonic gets class relief and adds blinkers; very interesting. Back Ring Luck makes first start for David Jacobson; must be factored into the mix.
EIGHTH: Majority Partner is rested and could be ideally positioned in the stalker's seat. Hang Tight drops and gets favorable cutback; price will be tempting. Fenway owns speed but lacks staying power; must take the good with the bad.
NINTH: Writer's Regret is favorably posted and could be ideally placed off dueling speed; pace (and price) makes the race. Daufuskie Island owns fast numbers on "A" efforts; worth long look. Tin Pan Alley fits the classic Chad Brown profile; if underlays appeal to you.
TENTH: Quality Stones could play out as the swiftest of the swift with aggressive handling. Happy Sophia, a hard-charging winner in last, could be the prime beneficiary if top selection is dueled into defeat. Shinfull, another that would benefit from pace battle; is riding a two-race winning streak; must consider. Kant Hurry Love also won last start and is speedy and could make life miserable for those that wager on top selection; you've been warned.