Momentum is with Runaway Lute in Fall Highweight

Aqueduct’s traditional Thanksgiving Day feature, the Fall Highweight, anchors the action on Thursday. A field of nine sprinters will pack on a few extra pounds for this Grade III, $200,000 handicap. Post time for the six-furlong Fall Highweight, the eighth of nine races on the day, is 3:20 p.m. EST. Be sure to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game all weekend long!

#5 RUNAWAY LUTE (7-2, morning-line favorite) has come into his own in his brief four-year-old season. He was a solid third off a long layoff before romping over allowance foes next time out. Laid up for another three months, RUNAWAY LUTE returned a game winner of the Hudson Stakes when last seen. The Fall Highweight is a step up in class for him, but he’ll carry a relatively low weight of 126 lbs. The speed figures stamp RUNAWAY LUTE as the one to beat, and he’ll retain Javier Castellano. He should get a good stalking trip in this one.

#4 CELTIC CHAOS (4-1) will be rolling late under Eric Cancel. He has just one win in six starts this year but four third-place finishes, including the Hudson behind RUNAWAY LUTE. However, he’s just 1-for-7 lifetime at Aqueduct.

#8 LIFE IN SHAMBLES (8-1) is a little camera-shy as well (2-for-17 since 2017) but merits consideration here. He was a game winner of his most recent start and was third in this race a year ago. Jose Lezcano has the call.

#9 HEARTWOOD (4-1) turned a corner over the summer, winning two straight starts, before diving into the deep end of the pool in the Forego and Phoenix Stakes. He was a fine second in an ungraded stakes at Churchill last time out and runs consistent speed figures good enough to contend here. Manny Franco will be aboard.

The play: $4 exacta 5/4, $3 exacta 5/8,9 ($10)

DFJ analysis: Manny Franco looks like a solid pickup based on volume this Thanksgiving. He’ll ride in eight of the day’s nine races and has the call on HEARTWOOD (4-1) in the Fall Highweight.

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