I want to wake up in that city that doesn’t sleep.
New York City. The Big Apple. The Metropolis of the United States. This great city impacts finances, media, culture, art, fashion, entertainment, and food all over the world. It is also home to great sports franchises including the Mets, the Jets, the Giants, the Knicks, the NY Rangers, and possibly the greatest sports franchise of all time the New York Yankees. New York also boasts terrific horse racing from historic tracks such as Belmont Park, Saratoga, and Aqueduct. Cold temperatures and dreaded storms rocked the east coast this week, and New York racing looked to be in jeopardy. However, recent cancellations have given maintenance crews ample time to prepare the track at Aqueduct for live racing this weekend; highlighted by the $100,000 Whirlaway Stakes Saturday afternoon.
Named for Calumet Farm’s prized colt, Whirlaway, who was trained by Ben A. Jones, swept the Triple Crown in 1941 under jockey Eddie Arcaro. The race has been a staple on the New York racing scene since 1980 and is a stepping stone to the Wood Memorial Stakes. Interesting to note, no winner of the Whirlaway Stakes has gone on to win the Kentucky Derby. The closest to accomplish this task was Prairie Bayou in 1993 finishing 2nd to Sea Hero.
Despite history, seven three year olds will enter the gate for a chance to move on to future prep races and break the 31 year old curse. The early favorite is Rescind the Trade, trained by Richard Violette. Rescind the Trade has a win over the track but will be tested by second choice JJ’s Lucky Train (2nd in the Count Fleet) and third choice Preachintothedevil (winner of the Champagneforashley Stakes). Trainer Todd Pletcher will send New York Bred Sky Music; winner of 2 of 4.
It will be a tough race considering the weather conditions, the distance (1 1/16 mi.), and the maturity level of the seven starters. We here at the Derby Post will once again be keeping a close eye on all of the horses as it is still early in the derby season. However, we look to see Sky Music bounce back from two disappointing starts and possibly Toby’s Corner to show signs of his bloodline (his sire is Bellamy Road) while going two turns. Also, we have to pull for JJ’s Lucky Train for our hometown family friend Jimmy Jackson.
$100,000 Whirlaway (Race 8, 3:49 p.m.), 3YO, 1 1/16 Miles (Inner Track)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1 Toby’s Corner (FL), E Castro, 118, H G Motion
2 Arthur’s Tale (KY), C C Lopez, 116, T Albertrani
3 Rescind the Trade (FL), A Garcia, 118, R A Violette Jr.
4 Norman Asbjornson (PA), J D Acosta, 122, C W Grove
5 Preachintothedevil (NY), J Alvarado, 118, G C Contessa
6 J J’s Lucky Train (KY), J C Ferrer, 120, W D Anderson
7 Sky Music (NY), D Cohen, 118, T A Pletcher
Good luck to all of the owners, trainers, jockeys and other connections of the seven starters this weekend. We hope that all of the horses finish strong and return to the barns in good health.