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SportsHorseracing

Steve Matthews’ Aqueduct selections for Saturday, Jan. 7

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Best Bet: DON DULCE (6)

Best Value: CAUSE FOR SURPRISE (7)

FIRST: Playthatfunnymusic gets rider upgrade after rough trip on New Year’s Day; call in weak opener. Chico Grande is rested and owns speed and fast figures; very dangerous. Watch the Tie is right in the thick of this on best efforts.

SECOND: Massena logged swift final fraction when a change-of-pace third in last; call based on price potential. Gorelli makes peak start of form cycle and owns swift back numbers. Stony Brook was just a neck behind a repeat winner in last start; dangerous.

THIRD: Highway Star is riding a three-race winning streak and could offer value in compact Ladies Handicap field. Chorus Line has won three of last four starts; front-end danger. Wonder Gal fired 5-furlong bullet since game third behind top selection in Go For Wand last time; must consider.

FOURTH: Storm Pursuit exits fast-figured, front-running score in last and projects as the main speed once again. Gambler’s Ghost also is fleet-footed but must avoid pace battle with top selection. Monster Mash drops and owns swift back numbers; prime beneficiary if top pair engage on front end.

FIFTH: Alex the Terror takes sizable price plunge and makes peak start of form cycle; forward move predicted. Sir Bond packs a solid late wallop on best efforts; big-time threat. Rockford logged fast figures on the inner surface last winter; must consider.

SIXTH: Don Dulce was a hard-charging winner in last and makes first start since claimed; pairs up for new connections. Castaway displayed improved speed in last and could prove very tough on an unchallenged lead. Our Caravan is a hot commodity at the claim box and owns rapid numbers on “A” efforts; could easily take this.

SEVENTH: Cause for Surprise notched solid internal numbers when making middle move and flattening last time; more to give today. Data Driven was a fast-figured second in same last race as top selection; very dangerous. Gorgeous Charli is speedy and riding a three-race winning streak; right in the thick of this.

EIGHTH: Divine Interventio tallied swift late-pace figure when a last-to-first winner in most recent start; more to come. Imasuperstar was a front-running winner in last and has hit the board in all five starts. Roll Tide Roll, another that’s ultra-consistent, owns four wins and six seconds in 11 lifetime starts; must respect.

NINTH: Conquest Prankster was a top-figured second on Sept. 23 and logged three tight works for return from 83-day layoff. Blame the Thief makes third start of form cycle after clear-cut placing in last; very dangerous. Blue Belt was victimized by pace pressure when a game third in debut; big-time player. Mo Focused was gelded after running third at 55 cents on the dollar in debut; must be factored into the mix.

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