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SportsHorseracing

Steve Matthews' Aqueduct selections for Friday, April 12

Best bet: MANDATORY PAYOUT (2)

Best value: MYSTICAL SONG (8)

FIRST: Pink Twist was an even fifth in first start since three-month absence; forward move predicted. Out of Orbit is speedy and will prove very tough on a soft lead. Free Kitty consistently fired strong efforts; logical, short-priced player.

SECOND: Mandatory Payout logged fast late-pace figures in both starts; cutback to 7 furlongs amplifies late wallop. Creative Style owns speed and makes third start of form cycle; be no surprise. Mental Model is training with a purpose for second start for Chad Brown; need more?

THIRD: Ninety One Assault tallied solid final fraction when winning on Fair Grounds grass last out; more to come. Driven to Compete could play out as the dominant speed in turf debut; very dangerous. Lemonist, an uncoupled barn mate of second pick, exits fast-figured win at Gulfstream; right in the thick of this.

FOURTH: High Command hails from potent, second-out stable; throw deep in wide-open, NY-bred turf dash. Givetheman a Cigar is quick from gate and could prove very tough on a soft lead. Magnesite defeated half the field when a useful fifth in debut; switch to sod could play to strength.

FIFTH: Step to the Bank gets the meds and fired half-mile bullet since speed and fade in last; duly tightened. Light the Posse owns fast numbers and makes third start of form cycle; dangerous. Bassman Dave was a game second in debut; right in the thick of this.

SIXTH: Barrel of Destiny should pack intensified kick with cutback to 6 furlongs; rates close call. Questeq wheels back in a hurry after even fourth on March 31; return to grass is helpful. Shak's Hidden Gem compiled solid work tab for first start in eight weeks; must be factored into the mix.

SEVENTH: Domain gets confident price boost and owns fast back figures; outside post seals the deal. Big Muddy owns fast late-pace figures and fired half-mile bullet for first start for Michelle Nevin. Raging Fire was a fast-figured, front-running winner in last; very playable.

EIGHTH: Mystical Song was a strong second in lone start on Big A grass last fall and notched three tight works since last start; call in wide-open turf sprint. Riken, from a dam that has thrown two turf winners, could be primed for breakthrough at fat ticket with surface switch. Big Engine makes grass debut for Jason Servis; could easily take this but looms a likely underlay.

NINTH: Grand Banks is 0-for-24 but lands in weak field and logged six, tight works for first start since December; now or never. Rossellini has drilled three times since late-running seventh in debut on Tampa turf; improvement expected. It's A Lovely Day switches to grass for Jason Servis; playable if you get square price. Middle Out was a better-than-it-looks fourth in only grass start; right in the thick of this.

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