Spring has officially sprung as the first New York turf stakes of the season will be run Saturday, April 24 at the Big A. The 29th edition of the $100,000 Fort Marcy Handicap (gr. IIIT) will be joined at 1 1/16th miles.
Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens will seek to earn back to back Fort Marcy victories when he saddles Bowman's Band and Chilly Rooster for this year's edition. He won in 2003 with Saint Verre. Bowman's Band will be trying the grass for just the second time, having finished third 11 races ago in his last turf effort.
Slew Valley has been hitting the board in graded turf tries with consistency, including last year's Man o' War (gr. IT) and Sword Dancer (gr. IT). The 7-year old, conditioned by Gary Sciacca, enters off an optional claiming win after three losing efforts at Gulfstream Park. "It's a shame he didn't win one of those races last summer," said Sciacca. "the horses that were beating him were running the races of their lives."
The well-traveled Toccet, winner of the 2002 Remsen, resurfaces in the Fort Marcy after wintering in California. He is unplaced in two graded turf tries.
Rogue Agent also seeks his first grass win, as does Remind, who placed in four graded stakes events last year and won the listed Storm Cat at Keeneland last fall.
The field for the Fort Marcy, in post position order with jockeys and weights:
1) Toccet (Mike Luzzi, 113)
2) Slew Valley (Jorge Chavez, 119)
3) Union Place (Aaron Gryder, 113)
4) Rogue Agent (Norberto Arroyo Jr., 111)
5) Chilly Rooster (Shannon Uske, 113)
6) Charge (Edgar Prado, 113)
7) Bowman's Band (Jose Santos, 112)
8) Remind (Jerry Bailey, 115)
9) Steadfast and True (John Velazquez, 113)
10) Black Silk (main track only; Norberto Arroyo Jr., 118)