Las Vegas, NV - Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park, New York will play host to the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap on Thursday, November 27. Horses three years old and upward will be featured when they dash six furlongs on Aqueduct's dirt track searching for the winner's share of the $300,000 purse.
A field of 11 have been confirmed for the Fall Highweight - race 8 on Aqueduct's Thanksgiving Thursday Card. Post time is 2:42 PM. Here is a look into the past performances of all 11 combatants for this Grade 3 stakes.
Strapping Groom - David Jacobson pupil and defending runner-up in this race will hit the track for the first time since a fifth in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap here April 5 which followed a two race win streak - the Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap here 6 1/2 lengths in March and the minor Gravesend Handicap by last December. He won the Grade 1 Forego Stakes at Saratoga August 31 at 15-1 odds, had a somewhat disappointing fourth in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler at Belmont Park October 26 and a third in the Grade 1 Vosburgh September 28 as well. Strapping Groom has won four of his last eight starts but races for just the third time this year. He hopes to return to his 2013 form with Javier Castellano guiding him from gate 8 as the 2-1 co-favorite. Strapping Groom is a coupled entry along with...
Salutos Amigos - another David Jacobson trainee had a three race win streak earlier this year (no stakes) and went on to consecutive thirds - the Grade 2 True North Handicap and the Grade 3 Belmont Sprint Championship. He followed that with a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming, a fourth in the Grade 1 Vosburgh Stakes September 27 and a terrific win by 3 1/4 lengths in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap at Belmont Park October 25. Last time out was a seventh in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. He has 12 starts this year with four wins, a second and three third place finishes and has won five of 23 career starts. Salutos Amigos leaves from post 6 as the 2-1 morning line co-favorite with Cornelio Velasquez in the reins.
Bakken - Chad Brown trained colt has just six career starts with three wins (two gate-to-wire) and a second place finish. The wins include an Allowance Optional October 2, an Allowance at Aqueduct last November 23 and a MSW at Belmont Park October 13, 2013. Last time out was an OK eighth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. He's also recorded a somewhat disappointing fifth in his stakes debut - the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita on December 26 and a good second in the Grade 2 True North Handicap in June. Joel Rosario rides the 5-2 second choice from post 4.
River Rocks - John Terranova trained colt has three wins and a second place finish in four starts this year and has five wins, three seconds and a third place finish in 12 career starts but is coming off a somewhat disappointing fourth in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap at Belmont Park October 25. Before that was a good second to Vyjack in the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap on this track September 27 which followed three straight Allowance scores. He has three wins and two seconds in his last six starts overall and enters this weekend in decent form. Irad Ortiz rides from gate 9 at an intriguing 4-1 odds.
La Verdad - Linda Rice trained filly has 10 wins and two second place finishes in 15 career starts and has looked good in her last two starts - a win last time out in the minor Iroquois Stakes October 18 followed a good second in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap September 20. Before that was a fifth in the Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes August 23 after a fifth in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss Handicap July 28 - both results at Saratoga and a four race win streak - the minor Dancin Renee Stakes July 3, the minor Critical Eye Stakes May 31, the Grade 2 Distaff Handicap in April and the minor Broadway Stakes in March. She had a five race win streak earlier in her career as well. La Verdad seems to be over a mini-slump that plagued her in the summer and is expected to be competitive Thursday. Manuel Franco has the mount from post 7 at 6-1 on the morning line.
Captain Serious - Michael Hushion pupil has eight career starts with three wins, a second and two third place finishes. He made his graded stakes debut July 5 and finished a good second in the Grade 3 Dwyer Stakes and followed that with a third in the Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes July 26. His last win came in his stakes bow - the minor Mike Lee Stakes in May after, an Allowance score April 26 and a MSW win at first asking April 5. He has struggled a tad in his last three starts - a fourth last time out in the minor Hudson Handicap at Belmont Park October 18 after a third in an Allowance Optional Claiming October 2 and another fourth in the minor Albany Stakes in August. Captain Serious will add blinkers for the first time looking to get back into the win column with Jose Ortiz aboard from post 3 at 12-1 odds.
Tightend Touchdown - Jason Servis pupil has placed in 13 of his last 15 starts ahead of this weekend - six wins, five seconds and two third place finishes. Last time out was a somewhat disappointing sixth in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint which followed a third in the Grade 3 Turf Monster Handicap September 1, a second in the Grade 3 Parx Dash and a win in the minor Pennsylvania Governor's Cup at Penn National May 13. His best result was a good second to end his 2013 campaign - the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint. Before that were seconds in the Grade 3 Turf Monster and behind Ben's Cat in the 2013 Parx Dash. Tightend Touchdown has 10 wins, seven seconds and two third place finishes in 27 career starts and will be looking for a bounceback effort at 15-1 odds with Joe Bravo in the saddle from the rail.
Mewannarose - will make his graded stakes debut Thursday after 12 career starts yielded four wins, two seconds and two third place finishes. Last time out was an OK second in the minor Tale of the Cat Stakes at Saratoga August 22 after an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Monmouth Park in May, a fifth in a similar race and an Allowance score here in March. He has looked OK the last eight months but makes a huge step up in competition from post 10 with John Velazquez aboard the 20-1 shot.
Weekend Hideaway - Philip Serpe pupil enters off consecutive sixth place finishes - the minor Hudson Handicap at Belmont Park August 18 and the Grade 1 Forego Stakes at Saratoga August 30. Before that was a two race win streak - the minor John Morrissey Stakes August 15 and an Allowance July 11 and a pair of thirds in minor stakes action at Belmont Park. He has two other graded stakes starts in his career - a third in the 2012 Grade 3 Futurity Stakes and a fifth in the 2013 Grade 2 Hutcheson. Weekend Hideaway has 18 career starts with six wins, three seconds and three third place finishes and enters in sketchy form. Jose Lezcano gets the call from post 2 at 20-1 odds.
Bama Bound - makes his stakes debut Thursday after an astounding 15 starts this year produces six wins, three seconds and a third place finish. Last time out was a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Parx November 3 after two straight Allowance scores. He makes an enormous step up in competition as the 30-1 co-longest shot in the field with Roberto Alvarado aboard from the outside post.
Crafty Dreamer - will make his graded stakes debut Thursday after 15 career starts produced four wins, five seconds and two third place finishes. He enters off a seventh in the minor Hudson Handicap October 18, an Allowance score September 7 and consecutive fifths - one coming in the minor Commentator Handicap at Belmont Park in May. Crafty Dreamer looks for his first stakes score with Dylan Davis in the irons from post 5 at 30-1 on the morning line.
Race 8 on Aqueduct Racetrack's Thursday card with a Post Time of 2:42 PM.
||I. Ortiz, Jr.
||J. Terranova, II
||R. Alvarado, Jr.