Trainers Bob Baffert and Tom Albertrani, who have major contenders, in the Wood Memorial Saturday at Aqueduct, will have a preliminary skirmish in the $150,000 Bay Shore for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs.
Baffert, who sends out possible favorite Bob and John in the Wood, saddles Too Much Bling, a grade II winner, in the Bay Shore. Albertrani, meanwhile, has recent Tampa Bay Derby winner Deputy Glitters for the Wood and another quick colt in Songster, who should vie for favoritism in the earlier heat.
The 2005 sprint champion Lost in the Fog won the Bay Shore last year. Only five were entered Thursday.
Songster, a $200,000 yearling purchase by Songandaprayer
, has not finished worse than second in a pair of starts. In fact, his two races up to this point have been track record performances.
On Jan. 28, Songster set the seven-furlong track record at Gulfstream Park of 1:21 2/5 in a winning career debut. A little more than a month later, he was a narrow second behind Exclusive Quality, who broke the seven-eighths track record in 1:21. Exclusive Quality went on to win the Swale (gr. II) at Gulfstream last Saturday.
"He's a lightly raced three-year-old colt as you can tell," Albertrani said. "He looks like a promising horse, but the Bay Shore looks like a major step up for him. He's got a lot of speed. We'll let him run his race and we'll see how far he takes them."
Songster did not race last year as a juvenile. According to Albertrani the colt "had some minor problems and it took him a little time to get going."
After tiring in last season's Hopeful (gr. I), Champagne (gr. I) and Nashua (gr. II), Too Much Bling appears to have found his niche as a sprinter. He's racked up consecutive stakes victories at Santa Anita this winter, taking the San Miguel and the San Vicente (gr. II). Making his wins even more impressive is the fact that he took the San Miguel after racing off the pace early, then won the San Vicente on the lead.
Jockey Garrett Gomez, whose last ride at Aqueduct was a victory aboard Purge in last November's Hill `n' Dale Cigar Mile (gr. I), will fly in for the ride.
"I would never say he is THE fastest three-year-old sprinter on the West Coast," said Baffert, who will arrive in New York on Friday night. "Every time you say something like that, another one pops out to prove you wrong. But I would say that he is one of the fastest.
"I think he'll run well in the Bay Shore. It's a tough race, but he's not running against Henny Hughes or First Samurai. And Garrett fits him to a T."
Devil's Concierge, a New York-bred colt by 1998 Carter champion Wild Rush, is undefeated in two starts, both against restricted company for trainer Rick Dutrow Jr.
Changing Weather has gone winless in five starts since an impressive first-out score at Saratoga in late August, but could be set for a big race for trainer Eoin Harty. The Storm Boot
colt has raced twice this season, finishing second to the Baffert-trained Da Stoops in the Sunshine Millions Dash and fourth to Too Much Bling in the San Vicente. $150,000 Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III, Race 7, 4:12 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 7 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Trainer, Jockey, Weight
1. Devil's Concierge, Richard Dutrow Jr , Eibar Coa, 116
2. One Way Flight, Steve Asmussen, Channing Hill, 120
3. Songster, Thomas Albertrani, Edgar Prado, 116
4. Trailing Twelve, Richard Violette Jr., Ramon Dominguez, 116
5. Too Much Bling, Bob Baffert, Garrett Gomez, 120