Next Saturday's Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct, already an intriguing race with several top prospects, will draw this year's first European invader in Goshin's Lad, an English-trained colt who has won a pair of recent dirt races over Lingfield's all-weather track.
Trained by Gerard Butler and owned by noted bloodstock agent Mike Ryan's Beetle N Wedge Partnership, the Kentucky-bred son of Nicholas will be turned over to an American trainer after the Whirlaway, with the hope of continuing on the Kentucky Derby trail.
Goshin's Lad actually has a sensational pedigree and is bred to run all day. Nicholas' sire is Danzig, and his dam is by Tom Rolfe, out of a full-sister to two-time Jockey Club Gold Cup winner and champion mare Shuvee. Goshin's Lad's dam, Maratha, is by Devil's Bag out of the multiple stakes-winning filly grass champion De La Rose. With a beautifully balanced dosage profile of 5-5-18-5-3, Goshin's Lad has a dosage index of 1.12.
In his last start, on Jan. 12, Goshin's Lad finished a fast-closing fourth, beaten 2 1/4 lengths in a 7-furlong handicap. Prior to that, he scored relatively easy victories at a mile and 6 furlongs.
"He should have definitely won his last start," Butler said. "I train my horses to come late with one big run. He didn't break well, and dropped way back, but made up a lot of ground in the final furlong. He does have speed, though, and the thought was that he would be more suited to American racing. The surface at Lingfield this year is fantastic, and horses are coming out of there full of confidence. The surface really suits a long-striding colt like him who has beautiful action. He just floats over the ground. If he ran over eggs, he wouldn't crack one. We realize we're taking a huge bite here, but this is a very good horse, who has really improved in December and January."
Goshin's Lad is scheduled to depart England Monday morning and arrive in the States at about midnight, where he will begin quarantine.