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Steve Matthews' Aqueduct selections for Thursday, Nov. 18


Best value: ALPHALFA (7)

FIRST: Connagh's Quay was conditioned over the jumps last out; amplified wallop with return to flat. Action Jackson makes first start since gelded; very dangerous. Conquer the World was a willing third in debut; logical contender.

SECOND: Hard Traveler ships in from Maryland after firing half-mile bullet on Nov. 7; first start versus NY breds seals the deal. Curlin's Wisdom moves to grass for Bill Mott; forward move predicted. Barrel of Quests, from a dam that's dropped two turf winners, is training sharply for debut; could be the goods.

THIRD: Troubleshooter tallied swift final fraction when an impressive winner in last; more to come. Microscope notched all three wins on Big A loam; price will be tempting. Nicky the Vest logged fast-figured wins in both starts but has been sidelined since February; mixed message.

FOURTH: Bar Fourteen adds blinkers and projects as the speed of the speed with heads-up handling. Halpert is riding a forward line on the numbers; very interesting. Justintimeforwine notched only win on Big A sod; don't ignore. Sidd Finch packs solid late kick on best efforts.

FIFTH: Saratoga Chrome, second at 75 cents on the dollar last time, looms a short price once again; good race to punt. Russiarussiarussia was second in debut for Chad Brown; be no surprise. Thefabulous Moolah sheds the blinkers and gets added ground; not the worst place to land.

SIXTH: Awesome Indra, a hot commodity at the claim box, makes first start for profitable connections. Saratoga Beauty, another that has been repeatedly claimed, could be ideally positioned in the stalker's seat. Big Al's Gal drops in price after winning by more than seven lengths on Halloween; fire sale?

SEVENTH: Alphalfa should possess intensified kick with cutback to 6 furlongs. Outrageous Bet, another that turns back in distance, could be in the garden if pace gets hot and hectic. Steelersfanforlife makes second start since 11-month layoff; worth long look at long price.

EIGHTH: Noble Journey switches to grass after dominant, front-running maiden score in last; pairs up. Tackle packs potent late wallop and will be aided by return to route; very dangerous. Grape Nuts Warrior makes third start of form cycle; right in the thick of this.

NINTH: Juggler makes first start with maiden-claiming tag after firing crisp half-mile drill on Nov. 2; close call in wide-open nightcap. Workingman's Dude was a much-improved third in last; developing and dangerous. El Veinticuatro would benefit from fast fractions; must consider. Kong Loves a Fight adds blinkers and drops for second start; must be factored into the mix.

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