With race riders playing “horse-back poker” with their rivals, small-field racing and handicappping can be trappy. One can’t count on how the race shape shaking out the way it looks on paper. Having attracted a field of six, today’s Furlough Stakes at Aqueduct, for older fillies and mares that have not won a graded stakes from 2006 forward, is just such an event.

Half the field has an excellent chance to win the six-furlong sprint; the sharp favorite, Smart And Fancy (8-5), second favorite May Day Vow (5-2), the co-fastest filly going three-quarters of a mile, and Last Romance (4-1), not as accomplished sprinting as the other two but may hold a class edge and is returning as a first-time four-year-old.

Smart And Fancy comes from the high percentage Anthony Dutrow shed. She’s four for six at the distance and runs fast figures with consistency. Drawn inside with tactical speed, Ramon Dominguez should work out a perfect, ground-saving trip.

May Day Vow has earned a similar high sprint figure and, significantly, over today’s track. She’s won both starts on Aqueduct’s main track and has worked brilliantly for this. Her high early speed might be a problem here but she’s nicely drawn as the outside speed in a short field.

Last Romance is interesting. She’s been training steadily since February for her return for Dutrow’s brother, Rick, and was beaten only two lengths in last year’s Grade 1 Acorn mile. Given her newly found four-year-old maturity, her freshness puts her in the game early and she could out-kick both of they hook up right in front of her. She’ll need be wound tightly, however.

Post-time odds are always a determining factor before placing a wager. No more so that in this heat, such is the competitive nature of the event. Taking Smart And Fancy to win, exacta boxes with the other two fillies, and a trifecta part wheel with Smart And Fancy first with the others second and third.