Edited from a Delaware Park release
This Saturday's grade III Leonard Richards has shaped up a wide open affair. The $250,000 mile and a sixteenth affair has attracted a field of twelve 3-year-olds. The race will be televised on CBS with an approximate post time of 5:27 p.m. The race is the second leg of the NTRA's first "Summer Pick 3" of the season. The other two races in the pick three are the Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park and the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.
ZWP Stable's Cherokee's Boy rates as the slight early favorite. The Maryland-bred trained by Gary Capuano sports a lifetime record of six wins, a second, and three thirds from 13 outings with earnings of $414,929. His record in 2003 is three wins from five starts with earnings of $186,000. In his last start the son of Citidancer ran eighth in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico on May 17. Previously, he won the mile and an eighth $150,000 Federico Tesio Stakes by 2 3/4-lengths at Pimlico on April 19. His other two victories this year came against state-bred stakes competition at Laurel Park.
Capuano is happy with the way Cherokee's Boy is approaching the race. "He came out of the Preakness really good, knock on wood," he said. "That was my main concern. He is training great coming into this race, so I am pretty happy with everything so far."
With the presence of the speedy Don Six, who has won three races in front-running fashion, Capuano is confident that Cherokee's Boy can adapt to any pace scenario.
"He is pretty tactical," he said. "He has got speed if you need it and he can lay just off the pace if you want him to. He does pretty much everything and he tries hard. He gives it his all, even if he is not good enough and he still runs his race."
Herbert & Carol Schwartz's Go Rockin' Robin, the recent upset winner of the grade II Peter Pan Stakes, rates as the second choice. In his last, the New York-bred trained by Scott Schwartz notched a six-length score in the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan at Belmont Park on May 24. Previously, the son of Distorted Humor won a mile and an eighth Aqueduct allowance on May 2. He has a career record of four wins, three seconds, and five thirds from 15 starts with earnings of $268,138.
The wild card in the race is David Reynolds' Mt. Carson. The Kentucky-bred trained by E. Rodney Jenkins will be stretching out for the first time since running sixth in the 1 1/16-mile Laurel Futurity (gr. III) on November 16. Since then, the son of Lord Carson has sprinted four times and he has won his last two. In his last start Mt. Carson won the six furlong $100,000 Hirsch Jacobs Stakes by 2 1/4-lengths at Pimlico on May 17. Previously, he won a six-furlong allowance at Delaware Park on April 30. Mt. Carson has proven he can get two turns. Last year, he won the one mile $100,000 Dover Stakes at Delaware Park on October 26.
His trainer is not overly concerned about going from six furlongs to a mile and a sixteenth because he has proven he can do it and because of his natural speed.
"He won at Delaware going a flat mile in the Dover," said Jenkins. "I think if he is relaxed he will get the mile and a sixteenth. I have been sprinting him and he has been doing well in that, but there is really nothing around for him other than this race. He is doing good, so we will see. He has enough natural speed, so he should be up close enough."
Jenkins had been on the fence about running Mt. Carson in the Leonard Richards. However, Mt. Carson's regular jockey helped make up his mind to run.
"Ramon (Dominguez) is going to ride him and that really made my mind up," said Jenkins. "I was not going to run him, if Ramon (Dominguez) had another call."
The field for the $250,000, grade III Leonard Richards Stakes, from the rail out, with trainer, jockey, weight, and morning line odds:
1--Gang, Randy Allen, Anthony Mawing, 117, 20-1
2--Awesome Time, Nick Zito, TBA, 115, 20-1
3--Go Rockin' Robin, Scott Schwartz, Mike Luzzi, 122, 5-1
4--Gimmeawink, Tim Ritchey, Rodrigo Madrigal Jr., 115, 10-1
5--Region of Merit, Christophe Clement, Edgar Prado, 122, 6-1
6--Ironton, Michael Petro, Nick Petro, 115, 30-1
7--New York Hero, Jennifer Leigh-Pedersen, TBA ,122 10-1
8--Mt. Carson, Rodney Jenkins, Ramon Dominguez, 115, 8-1
9--Don Six, Frank Generazio Jr., Jose Caraballo, 115, 6-1
10--Christine's Outlaw, George Weaver, TBA, 115, 12-1
11--Cherokee's Boy, Gary Capuano, Ryan Fogelsonger, 122, 9-2
12--Lone Star Sky, Tom Amoss, TBA, 115, 5-1