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SportsHorseracing

Steve Matthews' Aqueduct selections for Saturday, Dec. 22

Best Bet: DEGROM (8); Best Value: DOVEY LOVEY (3)

FIRST: Cottonwood Falls logged six tight works since making middle move and fading in debut; duly tightened. Kingdom's Queen was a clear-cut third behind a repeat winner in last; dangerous. Taking Aim owns a second and two thirds in three starts; must consider.

SECOND: No Distortion tallied rapid late-pace figure when a strong second in last; more to give. King Kranz wheels back in a hurry after solid third last week; very playable. Halloween Horror owns speed and fast figures; right in the thick of this.

THIRD: Dovey Lovey drew off to impressive, seven-length maiden win in last; pairs up. Malibu Mischief is fleet-footed and could play out as the main speed. Takecharge Mirella is riding a forward line on the numbers and makes peak start of form cycle; big-time player.

FOURTH: Pioneerof New York could be in the stalker's seat in field where pace meltdown appears likely. D's Sis is speedy but has lost ground in the stretch in all three starts; must take the good with the bad. Pendolino has worked three times since much-improved third in last; very dangerous.

FIFTH: Devine Dental projects as the controlling front-runner in ultra-contentious field. Someday Jones exits even fourth versus arguably tougher last time at Parx; dangerous. G Zap could impact the outcome if fractions get fast and furious.

SIXTH: Beach Front was a useful fourth in first start since seven-week layoff last time; more to come. Funny Guy has trained sharply since late-running fourth in debut; worth long look. Center City owns speed but lacks heart; mixed message.

SEVENTH: Our American Star tallied career-best late-pace and final figures when breaking maiden in 26th try last time; squeezes out one more. Wushu Warrior failed to fire when a sub-par fifth at 85 cents on the dollar in slop at Finger Lakes last time; dangerous on dry land. Suas was a fast-figured second in last; must be factored into the mix.

EIGHTH: Degrom was unfazed by poor start when a hard-charging winner at Parx last out; delivers another winning effort. Bonus Points overcame 20-length deficit when a determined winner in last at Laurel; very playable. Name Changer is fresh and owns fast figures on best efforts; right in the thick of wide-open Queens County Stakes.

NINTH: Ramblin' Ma'am adds blinkers after being compromised by slow fractions and wide trip in last; rates close call in bulky field. Fiveinthemorning makes peak start of form cycle and owns fast late-pace figures on "A" efforts; very dangerous. Wanna Be Regal fired half-mile bullet for first start in nearly a year; don't ignore. She'saprettylady makes first start with maiden-claiming tag; very interesting.

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