Silver Train, the surprise winner of last year's TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), heads a field of eight in Saturday's Carter Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct in pursuit of his first win of the year. The 4-year-old son of Old Trieste was assigned top weight of 120 pounds in the seven-furlong race that is a furlong longer than what he negotiated in the Sprint, when he upset subsequent Eclipse Award winner Lost in the Fog.
The $300,000 Carter for 3-year-olds and up will be Silver Train's second start of the year, coming five weeks after the Buckram Oak runner ran a weak seventh in the seven-furlong Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Sprint Championship Handicap (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park. Richard Dutrow Jr. trains, and Edgar Prado will be in the saddle again.
The Carter will serve as a coming out time for Mass Media, the second high-weight, at 118 pounds, who was unplaced in last year's Carter. The 5-year-old son of Touch Gold
was retired after the 2005 racing season and scheduled to enter stud, but instead was returned to trainer Bobby Frankel. He closed out last year with a runner-up effort in the Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct in November and won the Forego Stakes (gr. I) at seven furlongs at Saratoga two races earlier. Owned by Gary and Mary West Stables, Mass Media will get a new rider in Ramon Dominguez.
Sir Greeley, the Richter Scale runner-up, gets in the Carter under 116 pounds. The 4-year-old son of Mr. Greeley came within a neck of Mister Fotis in the Richter Scale in what was his third start of the year. His previous start resulted in a mile win at Gulfstream Park in which he led most of the way. Garrett Gomez rides the Jimmy Jerkens trainee for the first time.
The other five contestants carry anywhere from 113 to 115 pounds and two of them, Kazoo and Call the Lord, are trained by Dutrow for a partnership that includes IEAH Stables. An 8-year-old son of Tabasco Cat, Kazoo led all the way to win the Toboggan Handicap (gr. III) a month earlier at Aqueduct. Richard Migliore rode him then and will ride him Saturday.
Call the Lord also won his last start, an optional claimer at Aqueduct in mid-February. A 4-year-old by Lord Carson, he will be ridden again by Pablo Fragoso.
Like Kazoo, Happy Hunting and Big Apple Daddy will be going for their second consecutive stakes wins. A 5-year-old by Seeking the Gold
owned by Phipps Stable, Happy Hunting is looking for his fifth straight win and is dropping down in distance from the 1 1/16-miles of the Aqueduct Handicap (gr. III) in January at Aqueduct. Trainer Shug McGaughey secured a new rider in Mike Smith.
Big Apple Daddy, a 4-year-old by Precise End
, won the restricted Hollie Hughes Handicap at Aqueduct in mid-February for owner Ervin Rodriguez and trainer Bruce Levine for his second consecutive win. Orlando Mojica is back in the saddle.
Bishop Court Hill, a son of Holy Bull
and the Toboggan runner-up, started the year with a wire-to-wire score in the Paumonok Handicap in January at Aqueduct for Melnyk Racing Stables. Trainer Todd Pletcher, who won last year's Carter with Forest Danger, will have Jose Santos in the irons again.
Carter Handicap (gr. I) Estimated Post 5:14
Following is the post position, horse, weight, and scheduled rider
1. Bishop Court Hill 115 Jose Santos
2. Happy Hunting 115 Mike Smith
3. Sir Greeley 116 Garrett Gomez
4. Mass Media 118 Ramon Dominguez
5. Kazoo 115 Richard Migliore
6. Silver Train 120 Edgar Prado
7. Call the Lord 114 Pablo Fragoso
8. Big Apple Daddy 113 Orlando Mojica