It’s an age old story. A person has dreams. Dreams of making it big. Seeing their name boldly lit above the theaters of Broadway. So, they hop on a plane, train, or bus and head for the big city. New York City. The road to fame and fortune is a long, strenuous journey, but with persistence it can be a magical journey straight to the top. The stars always come out to shine in the Big Apple. It’s the city that never sleeps. And in the competitive world of horse racing, it is no different.
Nine horses will enter the gate Saturday afternoon in the G. III Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct. This is the second local prep leading to the Wood Memorial Stakes on Apr. 9. Headlining the field are Whirlaway Stakes winner Toby’s Corner and the Todd Pletcher trained Stay Thirsty. Toby’s Corner is coming into the race on a hot streak winning his last three races. Stay Thirsty, winner of 1 from 4 starts, will be making his 3 yr. old debut.
$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. 8-1
2. Nacho Saint (KY), J Bravo, 116, K J Breen 6-1
3. Starship Caesar (FL), E R Da Silva, 116, B Parboo 15-1
4. Toby’s Corner (FL), E Castro, 120, H G Motion 5-2
5. Stay Thirsty (KY), R A Dominguez, 116, T A Pletcher 9-5
6. Isn’t He Perfect (KY), J Rodriguez, 116, D Shivmangal 30-1
7. Preachintothedevil (NY), J Alvarado, 116, G C Contessa 6-1
8. Norman Asbjornson (PA), J Pimentel, 120, C W Grove 20-1
9. Dawly (KY), C H Velasquez, 116, S Asmussen 12-1
The field took a hit earlier this week with the ankle injury to Crossbow, sidelining him indefinitely. However, this is a competitive field moving up in class. Stay Thirsty has not run since the Breeders’ Cup and the layoff may be a hinderance despite his strong works as of late. The Fed Eased and Dawly are coming off wins in sprint races, but if their connections did not believe they could handle two turns, they would not be entered. The Fed Eased may make some noise with Stay Thirsty looking for the perfect moment to strike. However, in the final furlong I expect local hero Toby’s Corner to defend his Aqueduct crown. 4 to win and looking for a bit of a price with a 4, 1 exacta.
It’s Round 2 at Turfway Park. WEBN Stakes winner Twinspired returns to the Turfway polytrack to take on eight rivals under the lights in the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes, the second local prep leading to the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes on Mar. 26. Turfway Park has not produced a Kentucky Derby winner since Lil E. Tee won the run for the roses in 1992 under Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day.
Twinspired is 2 for 2 on polytrack and trainer Mike Maker has changed jockeys with Corey Lanerie now in the irons. R Fast Cat, also trained by Maker, and Taptowne ran 2nd and 3rd in the WEBN and look to rebound in the Battaglia. However, they will have new competition shipping in from California and Florida.
Shug McGaughey sends Admiral Perry and William Morey sends Positive Response. Admiral Perry ran against derby hopefuls Uncle Mo and To Honor and Serve as a 2 yr. old and looks to improve off of a turf win at Tampa Bay Downs. Positive Response, winner of the California Derby, ran third in the El Camino Real Derby in his last start. This will be his first race outside of the friendly confines of Golden Gate Fields as well.
$100,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes (Race 9, 9:22 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Admiral Perry (KY), B Creed, 116, C R McGaughey III 5-1
2. Blue Laser (KY), J McKee, 122, M E Casse 7-2
3. Adulare (KY), I J Rosendo, 116, G R Arnold, II 8-1
4. Night Party (KY), F A Arguello Jr., 116, P Huffman 15-1
5. R Fast Cat (KY), V Lebron, 116, M J Maker 8-1
6. Positive Response (FL), J Couton, 122, W E Morey 5-2
7. Son of Posse (KY), R Mojica Jr., 116, R Vitiello 50-1
8. Taptowne (KY), R A Prescott, 116, W D Mogge 12-1
9. Twinspired (KY), C J Lanerie, 122, M J Maker 3-1
With a strong field and a polytrack surface, this race presents some interesting choices. Twinspired looked very good in the WEBN and could be poised to run big. However, he is breaking from the outside post and will need to find good position headed into the first turn. Admiral Perry is on the opposite end and will need a clean break and a clean trip to move on to the Spiral. However, I’m going out on a limb and selecting Adulare to rebound off of a disappointing performance in the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. Adulare ran 3rd in three consecutive races in Kentucky after breaking his maiden in January and a return trip to the Bluegrass State may just be what this colt needs. 3 to win. 3, 9, 1 trifecta.
We would like to wish all of the racing connections good luck this weekend in New York and Kentucky. We would also like to know……….who will you be pulling for?
Written by Big Brink