Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “What You Need to Know for Saturday, December 18, 2021

AQUEDUCT – EIGHTH RACE (Post time: 3:37 ET)

The New York Stallion Series Stakes (filly division) attracted a field of 11, with recent big figure earner Morning Matcha (8/5) and the all-weather stakes winning Howdyoumakeourmoney (3-1) expected to get much of the play. A victory by either one would not be surprising. However, we are going to look elsewhere because we are inclined to distrust the form at Parx and have no idea whether ‘Money needs synthetic to show her best.

Let’s instead take a close look at the second-time starting maiden Yo Cuz. Flat out given a race in her debut, the Bill Mott-trained filly broke slowly to fall far back and trail early, remained under a stout hold to the head of the lane, and then was asked to finish up a bit and responded quite well, closing a gap on her own courage before galloping out past the entire field by the time they reached the clubhouse turn. J. L. Ortiz rides her back, and with $500,000 on the line and with the educational run out of the way this daughter of Laoban will be allowed to show what she can do. With an extra furlong to work with combined with a significant forward move that we’re expecting her to produce, she’s worth a play in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics at or near her morning line of 9/2.



The morning line favorite at 2-1 in this middle distance turf event for juveniles is Misbehaved, most likely because he’s trained by Todd Pletcher, who has been on fire during the first two weeks of the Gulfstream Park championship season. And, in a race in which the other contenders doesn’t look particularly formidable, punters might be included to look past the colt’s three-race resume that includes as failure as the favorite in all three starts, most recently when ninth of 11 in a similar grass affair at Belmont Park last month. Perhaps the addition of blinkers will help, and on numbers he’s still better than the others in the field with prior experience, but if he wins at a short price, so be it.

Instead, let’s take a close look at the newcomer from Kelsey Danner’s barn, Scarab, listed at an enticing 8-1 on the morning line. The son of Cairo Prince sports a steady, healthy series of workouts that should have him plenty fit for a top performance first crack out of the box. His most recent work at Palm Meadows six days ago was clocked in :47.15 seconds around dogs on turf, the same final time assigned to his older stable mate Smokin’ Jay, winner of the Allied Forces Stakes at Belmont Park in September (we’re assuming they worked together). From a solid barn with good stats across the board, this homebred 2-year-old offers plenty to like and in a race that is begging to be won by a fresh face, he fits the bill.

Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “What You Need to Know for Saturday, December 18, 2021

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