[Posted by the TimeformUS Handicapping Team]
Our search for the most sizzling of prospective Pace Meltdown scenarios takes us this week to Aqueduct. The weather there may be freezing, but the pace in the 7th race on Friday figures to be hot, hot, hot! Here's the Pace Projector:
What we particularly like about this one is that the projected fast pace includes two of the top morning line choices, including the favorite, Sovereign Default (#11, 3-1). This horse has shown some high speed against better, and was claimed back by Linda Rice for 20K after she lost her to David Jacobson for 50K early last year. Although Ms. Rice is quite proficient with horses first off the claim (an 87 trainer rating in that category), it can't be a great sign that it's been 184 days since she took him, and now she drops him to his lowest claiming level ever. To make matters worse, he breaks from the outside post in a two-turn race with a host of speedy types to his inside that figure to make him work hard early on to attain his preferred position. Those include El Oh El (#6, 6-1), who got away with an extremely slow pace in his last that he's unlikely to see again here. We know that he's capable of going much faster early, as evidenced by the lightning fast pace figures he earned in a sprint two races back.
If either of these falter, the second group right behind them are more than capable of keeping things more than honest.
[NOTE - An earlier version of this post referenced Smokin Candy as a horse who could pick up the pieces late. Smokin Candy has scratched, and we've updated this post with another closing-type horse we expect to run well]
Excluding Sovereign Default, Awake At T Wire owns the best last-out speed figure in this field by a five point margin.
Awake At T Wire is exiting back-to-back races against open $20,000 claimers in which he had to deal with smaller fields and paces ranging from even to slow. Today, this closer gets much more favorable circumstances, and his Late Pace Rating of 83 is clearly the best in this field.