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SportsHorseracingBelmont Stakes

Steve Matthews' Aqueduct selections for Sunday, Dec. 23

Best Bet: VINCENTO (7); Best Value: ALTESINO (9)

FIRST: Havana Affair was dueled into defeat last time; softer front-end flow on Sunday. Arewehavingfunyet looms the prime beneficiary if top selection hits the wall in the lane. Caribbean Girl ships in from Finger Lakes after winning two of last three; price will be tempting.

SECOND: Somebody is riding a forward line on internal and final figures; call in weak field. Pragmatist needed last and drops to lifetime low; very interesting. Novus was a clear-cut second behind a tons-the-best winner in last; must be factored into the mix.

THIRD: Joe's Smokin Gun is riding a two-race winning streak; fires once again. Blessed Halo is quick from the starting gate and can prove very tough on an unchallenged lead. Heavy Meddle was compromised by wide trip in last; right in the thick of this on "A" game.

FOURTH: Science Fiction was a front-running second in last; more to give in third start of form cycle. Big Mischief makes first start since claimed by Brad Cox; very dangerous. Appreciate compiled tight work tab for first start since eased in October; worth a look in soft field.

FIFTH: South Sea ships in from Parx after firing half-mile bullet drill last week; call based on price potential. O Shea Can U See was a top-figured winner in last; regresses at short ticket Sunday. What a Catch could impact if fractions get fast and furious.

SIXTH: Trumpit moves to main track for potent turf-to-dirt barn; breakthrough effort predicted. Abraxan owns two seconds and a third from three starts; must be factored into the mix if able to escape AE list. September Gurl was a useful third in debut; dangerous. Star Sweep is training with a purpose for first start; follow the money.

SEVENTH: Vincento has trained impressively since winning two in a row this past fall; keeps on giving. Point to Remember was second to repeat winners in last two starts; big-time threat. Uncle Sigh consistently delivers strong efforts; be no surprise.

EIGHTH: Always Sunshine was done in by pace pressure when a game third in Fall Highweight Handicap; return to rating tactics is key. Gold for the King was given more than a month to recuperate after fast-figured score in last; very dangerous. Life in Shambles made determined rally to win Fall Highweight last time; right in the thick of this.

NINTH: Altesino drops and makes peak start of form cycle; logged only win at the Big A. Nolinski is speedy and will prove very tough on an unchallenged lead. Hopper Dropper packs late kick and could be in the garden spot if pace meltdown ensues. Infield Is In made a forward move on the numbers when a wide fifth in last; don't ignore.

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