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SportsHorseracing

Steve Matthews' Aqueduct selections for Saturday, Feb. 29

Best Bet: VINEYARD SOUND (2); Best Value: IRISH VALOR (7)

FIRST: Summer Belief owns speed and could play out as the controlling front-runner with aggressive ride from the fence. All About Reyana drew off to eye-catching maiden score just 15 days ago; very dangerous. La Negrita, another last-race maiden winner, logged four tight works in the interim; must be considered.

SECOND: Vineyard Sound withstood pace pressure when a front-end winner in last; more to come. Cavaradossi tallied fast final fractions when winning last two starts and mate Coach Villa owns swift back numbers; potent pairing. Jerome Avenue is quick from the gate and gets favorable cutback to sprint; right in the thick of this.

THIRD: Boom Boom Kaboom fired 5-furlong bullet last week and projects as the dominant speed with heads-up handling. Double Shot gets additional sixteenth after hard-charging placing in last; very dangerous. Pave It regressed in last after clear-cut second in previous start rebound threat.

FOURTH: Ready to Escape looms the swiftest of the swift in speed-laden field. Blacktop Legend is riding a two-race winning streak and could be in the garden spot if top selection gets hooked on the lead. War Tocsin is training sharply for first start since November; very interesting.

FIFTH: Desert Lights notched improved late-pace figure when a determined winner in last; more to give. We Should Talk wheels back in a hurry for new barn after hard-fought score last week; worth long look. H Man drops and packs potent late kick on "A" game; don't ignore.

SIXTH: Scuttlebuzz has trained with a purpose since sharp third in key-race debut; experience is key in field of mostly newcomers. Forest Spirit compiled sneaky-good work tab for first start; follow the money. Mr. Buckley is another firster that's training swiftly; must be factored into the mix.

SEVENTH: Irish Valor turns back to shorter route after being pace and trip compromised in last; call based on price potential. Freaky Styley owns a win and three seconds from four starts; likely underlay. Captain Frost is fleet-footed and could prove very tough on an unchallenged lead.

EIGHTH: Ekhtibaar is fleet-footed and could capitalize on soft lead at marathon distance; pace makes the race. Adventist comes from the clouds but looms the likely beneficiary if top selection hits the wall. Leitone owns speed and hails from Jason Servis stable; be no surprise.

NINTH: Big Thicket took backward steps in last two starts after fast-figured win on Dec. 28; bounces back on Saturday. San Juan Diego gets much-needed cutback to sprint; very interesting. Wushu Warrior is fresh and owns solid numbers on best efforts. Flash Drive was done in by swift splits at Parx last time; speedy and dangerous.

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