As the derby world anxiously awaits the debut of last year’s 2 yr. old champion Uncle Mo, his trainer Todd Pletcher sends out his stablemate Stay Thirsty in this weekend’s G. III Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct.
Stay Thirsty, a dark bay colt sired by 2006 Preakness winner Bernardini, will make his 3 yr. old debut on Saturday going two turns at 1 1/16 miles. With Ramon Dominguez in the irons, Pletcher should be looking for a strong performance off of a long lay off; he finished 5th behind Uncle Mo in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. With an accomplished pedigree, distance should not be a problem. Stay Thirsty has been training stride for stride with Uncle Mo drilling five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 on Feb. 27. But with such a long lay off, will the horse be ready to shine in the Big Apple or will the time between races hold him back? He needs the race and with time ticking away, now is the time to run.
Standing in Stay Thirsty’s way is the current king of New York, Toby’s Corner. This talented colt is coming off of an impressive victory in the Whirlaway Stakes over a sloppy track at Aqueduct. It was also his third victory in a row. Trainer Graham Motion worked Toby’s Corner once since his last victory going five furlongs in 1:02 2/5.
Pletcher has a fearsome threesome with Uncle Mo, Stay Thirsty, and Brethren. However, only Brethren has raced this year. With Uncle Mo pointing toward the Wood Memorial, it will be interesting to see how Stay Thirsty performs in New York because it is very unlikely that the he returns to the Empire State after this weekend.
So, will Stay Thirsty become the new king of New York or will Toby’s Corner win his 4th straight race and solidfy himself as a derby threat? Or will one of the other 7 horses in the field score an upset win en route to Kentucky?
$250,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III, Race 10, 5:12 p.m.), 3YO, 1 1/16 Furlongs (Dirt)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. The Fed Eased (FL), J Valdivia Jr., 116, R A Violette Jr.
2. Nacho Saint (KY), J Bravo, 116, K J Breen
3. Starship Caesar (FL), E R Da Silva, 116, B Parboo
4. Toby’s Corner (FL), E Castro, 120, H G Motion
5. Stay Thirsty (KY), R A Dominguez, 116, T A Pletcher
6. Isn’t He Perfect (KY), J Rodriguez, 116, D Shivmangal
7. Preachintothedevil (NY), J Alvarado, 116, G C Contessa
8. Norman Asbjornson (PA), J Pimentel, 120, C W Grove
9. Dawly (KY), C H Velasquez, 116, S M Asmussen
We will be covering the Gotham Stakes and the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes from Turfway Park in our weekly edition of the Morning Line. Strap yourselves in, it’s going to be another great weekend of racing.
Written by Big Brink