Scattered Clouds 43° Good Evening
Scattered Clouds 43° Good Evening

Steve Matthews’ Aqueduct selections for Sunday, Dec. 31

Best bet: BOBBY ON FLEEK (4)

Best value: POP THE HOOD (6)

FIRST: Power Boss is riding a forward line on the numbers and makes peak start of form cycle. Tilt compiled solid work slate for debut for Todd Pletcher; could be the goods. Egyptian Pioneer makes first start for Rudy Rodriguez; follow the money.

SECOND: Baby Boss displayed speed and hit the wall when 80 cents on the dollar in debut at Finger Lakes; better price today. Viradia regressed in last start after game placing in prior; rebound threat. Cathy Naz is improving and makes first outing with maiden-claiming tag; worth long look.

THIRD: Sandy Belle was a front-end winner in last and projects as the main speed once again. Nothingbutasmile earned improved pace figure in last; dangerous. Terralsole was an even third in first start since three-month absence last time; don’t ignore.

FOURTH: Bobby on Fleek gets confident price hike after dominant victory in last; more to come. Curtis is speedy and rested; very dangerous. Tribecca also is quick from the gate and will offer generous ticket; very interesting.

FIFTH: Dancingwthdaffodls was fourth in 12-horse field after bad start in debut; improvement predicted. Missimpazi took backward step in last after strong second in prior; bounce-back potential. Pretty River makes first dirt start after showing improved speed in last; price will be tempting.

SIXTH: Pop the Hood is rested and could speed pop contentious field at big ticket. Gorgeous Charli owns fast figures and an advantageous stalker’s style; dangerous. Polar Jet has won two in a row for white-hot Linda Rice barn; could easily take another. Tommy T fired half-mile bullet since game victory in last; right in the thick of this.

SEVENTH: Extinct Charm notched swift internal numbers in last start after logging fast final fraction two races back; call based on price in wide-open Alex M. Robb stakes. Sea Raven packs a powerful late wallop on best efforts and has the benefit of the rail; very playable. Papa Shot is 1-for-1 on the Big A main track; must be factored into the mix.

EIGHTH: Three Goals tallied improved late-pace figure when third in last; stretch to a mile plays to strength. Big Thicket was a fast-numbered fourth in last and now makes first start since claimed by Linda Rice; very dangerous. Cantakeitanymore made menacing middle move and flattened late when a tough-trip fourth in last; worth long look. This Cat Can Fly returns to dirt after even fifth in last; must consider.

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