Grand Couturier Returns in Fort Marcy Handicap

(from Aqueduct report)
Marc Keller’s Grand Couturier, third-place finisher in Saratoga’s Sword Dancer (gr. IT) last summer as a 3-year-old, makes his season debut in Sunday's $100,000-added Fort Marcy Handicap (gr. IIIT) at 1 1/16 miles on the turf at Aqueduct.

A busy closing day for the Aqueduct 2007 meet includes the return of 2003 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness (gr. I) winner Funny Cide in the King's Point Handicap for New York breds. The winner of $3.4 million races with blinkers for the first time for trainer Barclay Tagg and faces five sharp rivals in the 1 1/8-mile King's Point.

Eight were entered in the body of the Fort Marcy, while five additional horses were entered for the main track only. Heavy rains pelted the area early Friday morning.

Grand Couturier was only beaten 3 1/2 lengths by Go Deputy in the Sword Dancer. The Fort Marcy’s distance, however, is far short of the colt’s best.

“He wants to go a mile and a quarter to a mile and a half,” said trainer Bob Ribaudo. “We need to get started somewhere. I had hoped to run him in Florida, but I had problems with his feet while he was training over that racetrack. He progressed nicely later in the meet, but I decided to wait for the Fort Marcy.

“He’s doing well. He’s not a big strong horse, in fact he’s built more like a filly. You just can’t work him on the dirt and get into him too much; I’ve been giving him a lot of long gallops.”

Ribaudo said he hopes Grand Couturier progresses to Belmont Park’s Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) on June 9.

Baron Von Tap had a productive winter in Florida for trainer Howie Tesher and should give a good account of himself. Pa Pa Da finished second in this race a year ago and relishes Aqueduct’s turf course.

$100,000 Fort Marcy Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 4:25 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Ecclesiastic (KY), 114, Cornelio H. Velasquez
2. Golden Commander (NY), 116, Edgar S. Prado
3. Woodlander (KY), 114, Alan Garcia
4. Pa Pa Da (NY), 114, Jose L. Espinoza
5. Grand Couturier (GB), 116, Javier Castellano
6. Baron Von Tap (KY), 115, Eibar Coa
7. Cosmic Kris (KY), 114, Fernando Jara
8. Broadway Producer (MD), 113, John R. Velazquez
Main Track Only
9. Evening Attire (KY), 120, (No Rider)
10. Malibu Moonshine (FL), 118, Channing Hill
11. Monopoly Pricing (KY), 118, (No Rider)
12. Take the Bluff (KY), 118, (No Rider)
13. Tall Story (KY), 117, (No Rider)

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