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Steve Matthews’ Aqueduct selections for Friday, Dec. 30

Best bet: SKY CHAPARRAL (6)

Best value: BACKSIDEOFTHEMOON (8)

FIRST: Luna Rising owns speed and makes first start with maiden-claiming tag; call in weak opener. Congaree Drive was an even fourth in debut; dangerous. Groton St Scout gets class relief after tough-trip fifth in last; must consider.

SECOND: River Date was geared down in the stretch when a 10-length, front-end winner in last; more to come. Nominal Dollars was a clear-cut second in last and could be ideally positioned in the stalker’s seat; very dangerous. Hard Study exits fast-figured placing and has yet to take a backward step on the numbers; right in the thick of this.

THIRD: Bonita Bianca returns to NY-bred ranks after rough-trip third in Grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes last time; call in compact field. Tiznow’s Smile logged swift number when a gate-to-wire winner in last; big-time player. Messer Misfit is speedy, adds blinkers and starts from the fence; very interesting.

FOURTH: Promise the Sky gets added ground after being victimized by bad start in sprint debut; improvement predicted. Sicilia Mike owns fast numbers but has finished second in all four starts; continues trend? Bartleby tallied rapid figure when a pole clear for second last time; could easily take this.

FIFTH: Lucky Lotto gets confident, two-level price hike after determined win last month; owns four victories on inner track. Indycott drops two levels after poor effort Nov. 4; more than good enough on “A” game. Tuscan Getaway compiled four tight works since willing second on grass last time; big-time player.

SIXTH: Sky Chaparral was a hard-charging winner in last and now makes first start since claimed by David Jacobson; more to come. Saratoga Giro is fleet-footed and could prove very tough on a soft lead. Samadi Sky has logged fast figures in last three starts; must respect.

SEVENTH: Super Psyche owns fast late-pace figures but has finished second at short odds in last four starts; must take the good with the bad. Arthur Avenue is rested and makes first start since gelded; very playable. Oh So Sinister regressed in last after late-running second in prior; rebound threat.

EIGHTH: Backsideofthemoon packs potent late kick and was a winner the last time he raced on the inner oval; call based on price. Changewilldoyagood owns speed, starts from the rail and has a victory on the winterized surface; dangerous. Stormin Monarcho is fleet-footed, owns fast figures and makes first start since claimed by Rudy Rodriguez; need more?

NINTH: Redneck Gold was pace and position compromised when a solid third in last; more to give. Here Comes Rosie tallied fast-figured third three starts back and gets class relief today; very interesting. Gregg’s Beauty is speedy and pulls weight from the field; don’t ignore. Cheering for Al exits game placing in last; logical player.

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