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2022 NYSSS Fifth Avenue Preview & FREE Picks | Will Les Bon Temps Roll Or Bust As Race Favorite?
Les Bon Temps (NYRA / Joe Labozzetta)

2022 NYSSS Fifth Avenue Preview & FREE Picks | Will Les Bon Temps Roll Or Bust As Race Favorite?

Mike previews the 2022 NYSSS Fifth Avenue from Aqueduct, then gives his top picks & long shots. After winning the 2022 Maid of the Mist Stakes as a 13/1 long shot last time out, is Les Bon Temps vulnerable as the 8/5 morning line favorite in this race? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!

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The track press release:

A field of 11 will assemble with aspirations to give their bankroll a massive boost in Saturday’s $500,000 NYSSS Fifth Avenue for eligible New York-sired 2-year-old fillies going seven furlongs at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Leading the charge is Deuce Greathouse, Cindy Hutson and Brett Setzer’s Les Bon Temps, who will attempt to let the good times roll following a last out 13-1 upset in the Maid of the Mist on October 30 at Belmont at the Big A. The Mike Maker-trained daughter of Laoban made her debut for her current conditioner when third in the Joseph A. Gimma in September, finishing 2 1/2 lengths in arrears of Gambling Girl. For previous trainer Norm Casse, Les Bon Temps was a winner on debut going five furlongs in May over a sloppy and sealed Churchill Downs main track before earning black type in her stakes debut in the July 4 Debutante at Churchill Downs.

Bred in the Empire State by Southern Equine Stables, Les Bon Temps is out of the unraced Tapizar mare Winsanity – a half-sister to stakes-winner Ready Signal.

Les Bon Temps will be piloted by Jose Lezcano from post 1.

Trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. will send up Wynwood Thoroughbreds and Make A Run Stable’s homebred Forces Sweetheart, who ships to the Big A by way of South Florida off a sharp debut triumph at Gulfstream Park. The daughter of The Lieutenant was a six-length winner of her November 5 debut, where she was entered for a $50,000 tag.

Joseph, Jr. expressed interest in the NYSSS Fifth Avenue before she made her first start.

“She had trained pretty decently going into that race and obviously she had won well,” Joseph, Jr. said. “It’s going to be a big step up in class for her, but she’s eligible for this race and we were hoping she would run well in her first race so we could take a chance in here. We’re giving it a go.”

Forces Sweetheart is out of the six-time winning Eskendereya mare Esken Lady, who is a half-sister to Russian Group 1 winner Boy the Nile. She is a direct descendant of 1992 Canadian Broodmare of the Year Ballade as well as Darby Dan foundation broodmare Soaring.

Edgard Zayas will ride from post 3.

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Trainer Mark Hennig is hopeful that added ground will be the difference maker for Seidman Stables’ homebred Clover Street, who will attempt to break her maiden at stakes level.

The bay daughter of Teuflesberg was a distant second on debut going six furlongs over a sloppy and sealed Big A main track on October 1 before finishing third over a fast main track at the same oval on November 4.

“She’s got the style that might fit a race like this, especially with the stretch out,” said Hennig, who won the 2006 NYSSS Fifth Avenue with Laurentide Ice.

Clover Street is the first progeny out of the Bellamy Road mare Fortune Street – a half-sister to dual graded stakes winner Boardroom.

Breaking from post 2 with the addition of blinkers, Clover Street will be ridden by Manny Franco.

Clay Scherer, Carson McCord, Gregory Hoffman, Harriette Waldron and Sonny Dotson’s Midtown Lights enters off a triumphant main track debut for trainer Brad Cox. The chestnut daughter of freshman sire Redesdale made her first two starts on grass and finished a respective fifth and third going six furlongs at Belmont at the Big A. She made the third time the charm when contesting over a sloppy and sealed Big A main track on December 3, lengthening her advantage in the stretch to break her maiden by 1 1/4 lengths.

Hall of Famer Javier Castellano will retain the mount from post 4.

Trainer Domenick Schettino will saddle Janet Durrschmidt’s homebred Little Linzee, who seeks her first victory since a triumphant debut in a turf maiden special weight in July at Saratoga. The gray or roan daughter of Honorable Dillon tried graded stakes company in the next out Grade 3 Matron where she finished a distant eighth. She replicated that result in the next out Maid of the Mist, where she stumbled at the start and came up empty when asked.

Breaking from post 9, Little Linzee will add blinkers for pilot Katie Davis.

William D. Hart, Sr.’s homebred Small Pebbles will seek her second stakes victory, after capturing the Shesastonecoldfox in October at Finger Lakes for her former trainer Linda Dixon. Following that effort, the Bustin Stones bay joined the barn of Carlos Martin and finished a last-out sixth in the Key Cents on November 20.

Nazario Alvarado will return to the saddle from post 7.

Completing the field are Bustin Hot [post 5, Oscar Gomez], Dream On Cara [post 6, Dylan Davis], Central Speed [post 8, Eric Cancel], Fema Funds [post 10, Kendrick Carmouche], and Sweet Liberty [post 11, Jackie Davis].

The NYSSS Fifth Avenue is carded as Race 7 on Saturday’s 10-race program, which also features the $500,000 NYSSS Great White Way, the $100,000 Alex M. Robb and the $100,000 Bay Ridge. First post is 11:50 a.m. Eastern.