Dennis Drazin's Withers (gr. III) winner Sunny Ridge
will figure to be a main contender in the next stop on New York's Triple Crown trail as a likely entrant in the $400,000 Gotham (gr. III) March 5 at Aqueduct Racetrack
A gray New Jersey-bred gelding by Holy Bull, Sunny Ridge took to the inner track in game fashion in the Withers, returning from a solid juvenile season with capped by a close second in the Delta Jackpot (gr. III) Nov. 21.
Sunny Ridge, trained by Jason Servis, has already collected 18 points towards a berth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), also including his second-place finish to Greenpointcrusader in the grade I Champagne last fall, with a career record of 3-2-0 from six starts.
The undefeated Shagaf
, set to venture north from sunny South Florida for trainer Chad Brown, will look to thwart another victory by Sunny Ridge. Owned and bred by Shadwell Stable, who also campaigns leading Derby contender Mohaymen
, the Bernardini
colt avoided traffic and drew clear to win his November unveiling at Aqueduct by six lengths.
The Gotham, worth 50-20-10-5 points to the top four finishers towards a spot in the starting gate on the first Saturday in May, is expected to serve as Lady Sheila Stable's Matt King Coal
's comeback race for the Linda Rice barn. Unraced since his sharp 5 3/4-length maiden-breaking score at Belmont Park
Oct. 29, the Florida-bred son of Cool Coal Man
has worked steadily since returning to the work tab earlier this month, including a pair of six-furlong moves in mid-February.
Grade 3-placed Laoban
is likely to make his East Coast debut for McCormick Racing and Southern Equine Stable. The maiden son of Uncle Mo
will ship from his Los Alamitos training base, where he has posted three consecutive bullet works for trainer Eric Guillot.
Treadway Racing Stable's lightly raced Adventist
will look to improve his record in the Gotham for trainer Leah Gyarmati. By Any Given Sunday, Adventist graduated to the stakes level following an eye-catching, 11 1/4-length romp in a six-furlong maiden event over the Big A's inner track in December.
Also expected for the Gotham are the Mark Casse-trained Conquest Big E
, a $700,000 yearling purchase for Conquest Stables, looking to rebound from his fourth-place effort in last month's grade II Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park
. Todd Pletcher is likely to send Rally Cry
from the trainer's Florida winter base for Paul Pompa Jr., following a third-place finish to Shagaf in an optional claiming contest at Gulfstream in January, while the New York-bred Governor Malibu
is probable to take on open company for the first time in the Gotham for owners Jump Sucker Stable and Oak Bluff Stable and trainer Christophe Clement.
Team D's Get Jets is possible for trainer Tony Dutrow while My Meadowview Farm's Moon Over a Beauty
is possible for either the Gotham or Sunday's Jimmy Winkfield for the Rick Violette barn.