Winning Move Stable’s Successful Affair will attempt to defend his title in the $75,000 Gallant Fox Handicap, the 5-year-old gelding will tackle five challengers Dec. 29 at Aqueduct.
A true test of stamina, the Gallant Fox is a 1 5/8-mile route on the inner track. It is open to 3-year-olds and upward.
Successful Affair has been lightly-raced in the latter part of this season, returning from a nearly seven-month layoff Dec. 5 at Aqueduct, where he was second by a neck to Nite Light in the Coyote Lakes Stakes. Nite Light is also entered in the Gallant Fox.
“He had a long year and was a little sore, so we decided to give him some rest and let him be a horse for a while,” trainer Gary Contessa said. “He really excels at 1 ½ miles, he’s a real marathon horse. I think his return (in the Coyote Lakes) was excellent. If he doesn’t get trapped on the rail at the eighth-pole he probably wins that race.
“He’s a nice, honest horse and he’s doing a lot better now. I’d love to see him get a chance in the new Breeders’ Cup Marathon race next year, but that’s a long way away.”
By Successful Appeal , out of the Private Terms mare Private Pouf, Successful Affair scored his only win this year on Feb. 23 in a 1 1/8-mile starter handicap at Aqueduct, winning by 2 ½ lengths. Bred in New York by Sez Who Thoroughbreds, he has been on the board in four of five starts in 2007.
Breaking from the rail, Successful Affair will get jockey Ramon Dominguez.
Edward Evans’ Nite Light is a 3-year-old colt by Thunder Gulch . He broke his maiden by 9 1/2 lengths in July and has been on the board in all four starts since then, winning his last two. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Nite Light won an allowance race at Belmont Park on Oct. 21, and then went gate-to-wire in the Coyote Lakes, holding off Successful Affair in the final strides.
Bred in Kentucky by Foxfield, Nite Light will be ridden by Mike Luzzi.
Angelic Aura and Malibu Moonshine, who were third and fourth, respectively, in the Coyote Lakes will also start. Both of those older horses were well back of Successful Affair in last year’s Gallant Fox.
Former Belmont Stakes (gr. I) starter Nolan’s Cat and Maryland Millions Classic winner Evil Storm complete the field.
$75,000 Gallant Fox Handicap (Race 3, 1:24 p.m.), Three-Year-Olds & Up, 1 5/8-Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Successful Affair (NY), 118, Ramon A. Dominguez
2. Angelic Aura (FL), 115, Charles C. Lopez
3. Evil Storm (MD), 115, Rajiv Maragh
4. Nite Light (KY), 117, Michael J. Luzzi
5. Malibu Moonshine (FL), 118, Channing Hill
6. Nolan's Cat (KY), 115, Alan Garcia