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Steve Matthews’ Aqueduct selections for Wednesday, April 18


Best value: LORD OF LOVE (8)

FIRST: Mertz is firing bullets for debut for Rudy Rodriguez; best guess in season’s first juvenile race. Pletcher entry: Disclude is from a dam that’s thrown two winners and mate Ma Meatloaf is by win-early sire; potent pairing. Three Birds debuts for solid Kentucky-based barn; very interesting.

SECOND: Contingent Payment logged three tight works for first start since moving to Gary Gullo barn; improvement predicted. Great Going owns speed and is training sharply; very dangerous. Big Auk is competitive on best efforts.

THIRD: Radiant Beauty is fleet-footed and working swiftly; main speed. Data Dependent packs potent kick and will be in the garden spot if top selection hits the wall in the lane. Bramble Queen owns three wins a second and a third from last five starts; right in the thick of this.

FOURTH: English Channical is quick from gate and makes first start since gelded; tight, recent work tab seals the deal. Forward Motion tallied fast late-pace figure when making debut on Big A sod last fall; very dangerous. Lem Me Tel Ya bested Forward Motion by a length when second in Nov. 30 dash; must be factored into the mix.

FIFTH: Camorra was a comfortable winner in well-bet debut March 23; more to come. Seeking the Blue trained well in South Florida this year after fast-figured maiden win at Big A in December; dangerous. Velvet Trinni is speedy and must be given a puncher’s chance at a price.

SIXTH: Scripted displayed newfound speed when a strong second in last; controlling front-runner in weak field. Princess Akris owns stalker’s style and could be ideally positioned if top selection hits the wall in the stretch. Forever Rising failed to fire after rough start in last; late-running threat on “A” game.

SEVENTH: Holding Aces took backward step in last after fast-figured win two starts back; rebounds. Ranger in Paradise packs potent kick on best efforts and is training sharply for first start in nine weeks; very interesting. S. S. Minnow ships in from Parx and owns swift back numbers; price will be tempting. Cerro is speedy and own fast figures but takes suspicious price plunge; proceed with caution.

EIGHTH: Lord of Love is rested and packs solid late wallop on “A” efforts; call based on price potential. Yummy Bear owns a win and three seconds in four starts on Big A sod; logical, short-priced player. American Guru has trained sharply since handy win in debut on Gulfstream grass; right in the thick of this.

NINTH: River of Dreams moves to turf after dominant score in the slop Feb. 25; transfers razor-sharp form. Glennrichment gets rider upgrade and returns to grass for Rodriguez; forward move expected. Acoustic makes first start since claimed by Mike Maker; worth long look. Sparty Boy was a fast-figured second on Churchill grass last summer; don’t ignore.

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