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Steve Matthews’ Aqueduct selections for Monday, Jan. 2, 2017

Best bet: EL AREEB (8)

Best value: WISDOM OF OZ (7)

FIRST: Ice Tea is riding a forward line on the numbers; call in weak opener. Goatzingis fired 3-furlong bullet for first start since August; price will be tempting. Goldenmeyer should move forward after even fourth in debut.

SECOND: Tipit adds blinkers and makes third start of form cycle; set for best. Stormin Stephen runs late and would be aided by fast fractions. Just Afleet logged only win on inner track; must consider.

THIRD: Myfourchix owns fast figures and is training sharply for first start since May. Kalabaka packs potent late kick and holds sharp current form; very dangerous. Catsadiva regressed in last after determined win in prior; rebound threat.

FOURTH: Dublin Girl has earned fast figures in both starts; more to come. Majestic Mac was a solid third after tough trip in debut and hails from potent second-out stable. Robin’s Destiny exits game placing when favored in last; right in the thick of this.

FIFTH: Shadow Rider drops, owns fast figures and has the benefit of the rail with short run into first turn at the mile distance. Instant Replay compiled tight work tab for first start in 45 days for Rudy Rodriguez; very dangerous. Casiguapo has been idle since April but logged career-best number when fresh and rested; don’t ignore.

SIXTH: Beach Hut was pace and position compromised in last and now makes first start since claimed by David Jacobson. Chelios drops and gets favorable cutback to sprint; more than good enough on “A” game. Mighty Zealous has won two straight at Finger Lakes; dangerous.

SEVENTH: Wisdom of Oz owns fast late-pace figures on best efforts and hails from the streaking Bruce Levine barn; call based on price in wide-open dash. Head Shrinker, also from Levine stable, owns a win and a second in two starts on inner track. Five Star Rampage was second to a much-the-best winner in last; right in the thick of this.

EIGHTH: El Areeb has won last two starts at Laurel by a combined 14 lengths and projects as the speed of the speed with aggressive ride; ready for prime time. Bonus Points could be the prime beneficiary if fractions get fast and furious. Takaful has delivered fast-figured efforts in both starts; logical, short-priced player.

NINTH: Samurai Warrior made strong run into fast final fraction when more than 13 lengths clear for second last time; more to give. Thirsty Actor adds blinkers and could play out as the controlling speed; very dangerous. Asphalt Paving notched swift late-pace figure in lone dirt start; worth long look. Put the Boss Back goes back to dirt and makes first start since gelded; very interesting.

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