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Danger’s Hour Preview: Turf Action Returns to Aqueduct
Aqueduct turf racing (Credit: NYRA)

Danger’s Hour Preview: Turf Action Returns to Aqueduct

OZONE PARK, NY – A field of nine older males are entered for Saturday’s $100,000 Danger’s Hour Stakes, marking the return of turf stakes action to Aqueduct.

The Danger’s Hour is a 1-mile inner turf course route open to horses ages 4 and up. This year’s edition is the penultimate event on a 9-race card and has a local post time of 5:19 PM.

Here’s a look at the full field for the Danger’s Hour:

1. Zoomer 3/5 – A Main Track Only entry, his only chance to compete will be if the expected cloudy weather turns wet enough to force the race off the grass. Trainer Robert Klesaris claimed him back for $62.5k just 1 start after losing him for the same amount; his past record with the barn was 8-1-1-1, all at various allowance levels.

2. Rinaldi 9/2 – He makes his 2021 debut for trainer Jimmy Bond, who has a strong 18% win rate on turf with a strong $3.39 ROI. He owns 3 stakes wins (all turf routes against New York-breds) and when last seen, he nearly wired the open company Artie Schiller Stakes over this course and distance, ultimately missing by 3/4 of a length. Bond wins 16% at a $2.48 ROI with runners after similar layoffs.

“He’s a solid horse who always shows up,” Bond said. “I think he’s better on two turns. Sometimes with softer turf… he likes to rattle his feet. That’s the only negative. I don’t think he’s as good as he is on a firm turf, but it’s all about the competition and how he handles it.”

3. Price Talk 8/1 – He crossed the wire first in each of his first 3 starts, though he was disqualified and placed fifth for bumping a rival in his debut. His final effort saw him finish third by a length in the Gio Ponti Stakes, a local 1 1/16-mile route, in his first try at this level that earned him a fourth straight career-high Beyer Speed figure (89). He’s cross-entered in an optional claiming turf route on Friday’s card.

4. Decorated Invader 5/2 – A Grade 1 winner at age 2 and a champion of 3 stakes (2 graded) last year, he makes his 2021 debut in this spot that is clearly a prep for bigger events this year at Belmont Park and Saratoga. He was last seen finishing third in the Hollywood Derby (G1) at Del Mar last November; trainer Christophe Clement’s barn wins 19% of starts with runners returning from similar breaks.

“I’m excited about it; he’s training well and it’s all good,” Clement said. “He had a nice winter break. Him and (Grade 1-winning stablemate) Gufo had the same work pattern. They’ll both run at Belmont in the spring and I’m excited about both of them. Decorated Invader has been doing really good.”

See the day’s full plays from Ricky’s Rockets!

5. Tiberius Mercurius 50/1 – He makes his first start for new trainer Tom Albertrani back on familiar ground; he initially broke his maiden over this course and distance in November 2019 but was disqualified and placed second. He then shipped to California and compiled a record of 5-1-0-1 before being sent to Albertrani, who becomes the sixth trainer to saddle him in just his 13th career start.

6. Penalty 15/1 – He steps up to the stakes ranks for the first time despite hitting the board just once (finishing third) in his past 4 starts, but his back class explains why. Both career turf victories were mile-long routes over future graded stakes winners Largent and Halladay, who’s also one of four stakes champs to beat him since his last win; the others are Ivar, Front Run the Fed, and Flying Scotsman.

7. Analyze It 7/5 – He returned from 22 months off to win last September’s Red Bank Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park and was the 2/1 favorite in the Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (G1) a month later, though he finished eighth. He’s one of two entries from the Chad Brown barn, which saddles 28% winners returning from similar breaks, and he won the local 2018 Transylvania Stakes (G3) going 1 1/16 miles.

8. Delaware 10/1 – Brown’s second entry is winless since the British-bred arrived stateside in 2020, putting together a 6-0-1-1 record that includes finishing third by a neck in last November’s Artie Schiller. He impressively won a pair of mile-long stakes in France, including a Group 3, and should relish cutting back and returning to Aqueduct after running eighth in February’s 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Stakes (G3).

9. Hieronymus 8/1 – The Godolphin homebred makes his NYRA circuit debut while returning from a 10-month break; when last seen, his 3-race win streak end as he finished fourth in the War Chant Stakes at Churchill Downs. He won a pair of Fair Grounds turf route stakes in February 2020 and has trained steadily for his first start back for trainer Brad Cox, who wins 22% with horses after similar layoffs.

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