Nicole H, who on New Year’s Day scored her third consecutive victory in the Interborough, is looking for a repeat in the Correction, which she won last year by 2 ½ lengths. All five of Nicole H’s inner track victories have been in stakes, beginning with the 2010 edition of the Garland of Roses. The 6-year-old daughter of Mr. Greeley also won the Grade 2 Distaff Handicap over the main track on April, 2011 and finished fourth in the 2012 running to bring her Big A record to 6-for-7.
“I don’t consider her an inner-track or Aqueduct specialist,” said Mike Hushion, who trains Nicole H for GEM racing. “She might be a little better in the cooler weather, but she’s run well other times of the year as well. She’s doing great – her last race, visually, looked like a public workout and her work on Monday [half-mile in a bullet 47.08 over the Belmont Park training track] was as good as any she’s had.”
Channing Hill, who was aboard for Nicole H’s victory in the Distaff, will ride the 4-5 morning-line favorite from post position 4.
The 4-year-old Cluster of Stars, a New York-bred daughter of Greeley’s Galaxy, has been impressive in both starts over the inner track. The Turtle Bird Stable color-bearer was a 5 ½-length maiden winner just short of a year ago, and returned on January 12 to win an optional claimer by 6 ¼ lengths over a muddy track. Her time of 1:10.65 earned her a Beyer Speed Figure of 92.
Javier Castellano comes in to ride Cluster of Stars, 8-5 on the morning line, from post position 3.
Michael Dubb, the leading owner on The New York Racing Association, Inc. circuit in 2012, will be represented by the entry of North Freeway and Singlet.
North Freeway, one of three supplemental entries to the Correction along with Nicole H and Ode to Sami, has also displayed a fondess for the Big A’s inner track. In three starts last winter, the 5-year-old mare took a pair of optional claimers and was beaten a neck in a $35,000 claimer, all at six furlongs.
In her two most recent appearances at Aqueduct, the consistent Singlet won the Garland of Roses over the main track and next finished third to Nicole H in the Interborough. The Anthony Dutrow-trained daughter of Real Quiet won the Dearly Precious and restricted Xtra Heat stakes last winter over the inner track, and also finished fourth in the Grade 3 Comely when stretched out to a mile over the main track.
David Cohen will ride the Rudy Rodriguez-trained North Freeway from post position 2, while Cornelio Velasquez will be in the irons as Singlet leaves from post position 5. The entry is 6-1 on the morning line.
Rounding out the field is Crespano, making her stakes debut after a trio of victories in optional claimers.
The six-furlong Toboggan, which will be run for the 119th time, attracted a field of six sprinters, with Johannesburg Smile listed as the 2-1 favorite in his first start for trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Mike Repole. Claimed for $100,000 out of a winning effort on January 1, the 6-year-old New York-bred son of Johannesburg has a pair of victories in restricted stakes and will be making his first graded stakes start on Saturday.
“One of the things Mike talked about before we claimed him was he thought his one-turn or sprint races in the past haven’t been too bad, so it might be something interesting to try,” said Pletcher, who has won the last two editions of the Toboggan with Calibrachoa, another Repole claim. “He’s run well at all kinds of distances, so I think he’s versatile enough that he could [sprint or route]. If he can get a hot pace scenario, it might work out well for him.”
Javier Castellano will ride from the rail.
Hushion has entered both P J’s Magical Wink, making his stakes debut following a fifth-place finish in a Parx Racing allowance on December 23, and multiple stakes-winner Mine Over Matter, a supplemental entry who on January 20 was second to Brigand in the Turnofthecentury for New York-breds.
“P J’s Magical Wink got buried on a bad rail last time out and we’re looking to throw that last race out. We’re hoping he can run back to one of his two previous wins,” said Hushion. “With Mine Over Matter, it was a little bit of an afterthought. I saw the way the race was shaping up and after talking to Mr. [Chester] Broman, we decided to enter. It’s a little bit quick back, but with a horse like him you don’t have that many options.”
Mine Over Matter, the second choice on the morning line at 5-2, will leave from post 5 with Junior Alvarado riding, while P J’s Magical Wink drew post position 4 with Channing Hill aboard at 12-1 on the morning line.
Completing the field are Isn’t He Perfect, most recently second to Last Gunfighter in the Evening Attire, and the Rudy Rodriguez-trained pair of Head Heart Hoof, winner of an overnight stakes last time out, and Sinai, winner of an optional claimer on January 10.