Classic handicapping quandary in today’s Aqueduct feature, a “two other-than, optional claimer” at a flat, one-turn mile: Will it be one of the sharp New York “winter” horses, or a classy shipper from the south coming back home that gets it done? We’re thinking the latter. We’re also using a rarely mentioned handicapping tenet that helps solve such vexing puzzles as this: the old safety-in-numbers angle.

Doc Cheney (5-1) is part of a three-ply entry from the combined sheds of Nick Zito and Dick Dutrow, coupled due to common ownership. Flashy Bull (7-2) is the class-tested sort from the Kiaran McLaughlin entry. Each has license to improve and win here.

Doc Cheney has demonstrated that he can rebound in a big way from a poor performance. In fact, he earned a lifetime best figure off a poor effort when second in last year’s Grade 3 Withers Mile. The winner, eventual three-year-old champion Bernardini, won the Preakness Stakes in his next start. The pattern repeats here with Doc coming in off a poor turf try. Convenient, too, that Zito is a profitable 24% when his charges switch from turf to dirt. The 4-year-old has tactical speed and enough kick to get home. He will be the bigger price of the two.

Flashy Bull is Grade 2 placed and is making his third start off a layup, winning his Gulfstream Park finale last out. He comes up to the route perfectly off graduating distances, breezed a sharp 5 furlongs for this, and hails from a trainer-jockey (Alan Garcia) team that has won with three of their last seven starters in New York.

Flashy Bull was second in the Grade 2 Remsen to major stakes winner Bluegrass Cat in his lone Aqueduct appearance. He might be ready for stakes company again with a sharp effort today. He faced some of the three-year-old division's best before going to the sidelines last fall.

We’re taking Doc Cheney to win at 4-1 or greater, and an exacta box with Flashy Bull.