It’s only fitting that as the temperatures plummet this weekend the featured Itaka for state-breds 3 & Up going a flat mile will come down to a battle between the Rick Dutrow trained Stormin Normandy (8-5), Barclay Tagg’s Big Truck (7-2), who began to serve notice at this time last year, and old pro Gold and Roses (6-1), a natural at the distance on this track.

The question with Stormin Normandy is how effective will he be stretching out here. He’s faster sprinting, but owns a competitive figure score under these conditions last spring--the only time he’s gone a mile on the Aqueduct main track. Super sharp, he’s had two maintenance works over his home track and Edgar Prado takes the re-ride on the recent Hudson winner. Dutrow’s 38 percent efficient when seeking to repeat.

Big Truck, scratched from yesterday’s open, graded Discovery for this, finds a better spot, not only for the class relief but for the one-turn mile scenario. His most effective game seems as a middle-distance closing sprinter, he gained conditioning from recent turf routes and now returns to dirt, a profitable scenario for these connections.

Gold And Roses is 4-for-7 at the distance and 3-for-7 over this track but of greater significance is going in the right direction again following a recent barn change. The major issue, however, is that he finished behind the favorite in each of their last three meetings. But today’s distance might prove the great equalizer; might, the operative word.

Taking Stormin Normandy to win, no price restrictions, keying him first and second in the exotics with his rivals here.

Running Totals: (316) 95-65-43. Total Dollar Return: $650.20 [win selections only]