A field of eight accomplished sprinters, led by multiple graded stakes winner Tale of Ekati , Kodiak Kowboy , and Fabulous Strike, will line up in the starting gate in the $300,000 Carter Handicap (gr. I) April 4 at Aqueduct.
Also going to post in the seven-furlong Carter is True Quality
, who turned back Fabulous Strike in the General George Handicap (gr. II) earlier this year, as well as impressive allowance winner Biker Boy
, a 13 1/2-length wire-to-wire victor last month at Gulfstream Park. The Carter is the last of four graded stakes on Aqueduct’s program which also includes the $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I). Post time is set for 5:51 p.m. (EDT).
Charles Fipke’s homebred Tale of Ekati seeks his third grade I victory and fifth graded stakes score in New York. His success in the Big Apple began in the seven-furlong Futurity (gr. II) in September of 2007 at Belmont. Prominent on last year’s Triple Crown trail, Tale of Ekati also won the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct this time last year and followed up by finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I) and sixth in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
The son of Tale of the Cat
—Silence Beauty, by Sunday Silence then won the one-mile Jerome Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont in October and closed out his 3-year-old campaign with a Cigar Mile (gr. I) score, in which he crossed the wire behind Harlem Rocker but was placed first by disqualification. The Barclay Tagg trainee began his 4-year-old season in February with a fourth-place finish in the Richter Scale (gr. II) at Gulfstream.
“I wanted to get a good race in him before the Met Mile (gr. I, at Belmont on May 25) and I thought the Carter was a good spot to run back,” said Tagg. “I didn’t like the way he handled the track at Gulfstream Park and he seems to like Aqueduct – I know he likes Belmont. I was disappointed with that race (the Richter Scale), but sometimes they get away badly and all that just because they don’t like the footing. That said, I don’t think he’s necessarily a seven-furlong horse.”
Edgar Prado, aboard for the Wood and Cigar victories, will get the mount once again. They will break from post 7.
Carrying top weight of 123 pounds will be Tea Party Stable’s Fabulous Strike. The 6-year-old gelding has garnered three graded stakes wins in his career, the last coming over Aqueduct’s inner track in the Dec. 27 Gravesend (gr. III) when defeating True Quality by 1 3/4 lengths. In the Feb. 16 General George at Laurel Park, True Quality got revenge on his rival by going gate-to-wire to win by 1 1/2 lengths.
Trained by Todd Beattie, Fabulous Strike’s biggest victory came in the Vosburgh (gr. I) in 2007. Ramon Dominguez will ride.
True Quality, a 4-year-old son of Elusive Quality
is in the best form of his career for trainer John Campo Jr.
“He’s is three for four and he’s doing good,” Campo said. “If he gets a nice trip and everything goes well, then, hopefully, we’ll get to take another picture.”
Regular rider C.C. Lopez will get the return mount on True Quality.
Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm’s Kodiak Kowboy ran fifth in his only start at Aqueduct in last year's Cigar Mile. Winner of the Bashford Manor (gr. III) and Saratoga Special (gr. II) as a juvenile, and the Amsterdam (gr. II) and Sport Page Handicap (gr. III) last year, Kodiak Kowboy has earned more than $850,000 in his career. The 4-year-old Posse
colt is trained by Larry Jones. John Velazquez will ride from post 8.
Biker Boy will be going for his fifth consecutive win for Nick Zito. The last three came in allowance company, including his March 18 romp on Gulfstream’s slop at the Carter distance. The 4-year-old Came Home colt will be ridden by Javier Castellano.
Also in the Carter field is King Leatherbury’s 6-year-old gelding Ah Day
, who returned from a lengthy layoff to win the March 7 Toboggan (gr. III) at Aqueduct when coming from well off the pace to get up by a head.
$300,000 Carter Handicap (gr. I, Race 10, 5:51 p.m. EDT), 3-Year-Olds and Up, 7 Furlongs (Dirt)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Ah Day (MD), 117, Sheldon Russell
2. True Quality (KY), 118, Charles C. Lopez
3. Fabulous Strike (PA), 123, Ramon A. Dominguez
4. Driven by Success (NY), 114, Michael J. Luzzi
5. Understatement (KY), 114, Joseph Talamo
6. Biker Boy (KY), 115, Javier Castellano
7. Tale of Ekati (KY), 121, Edgar S. Prado
8. Kodiak Kowboy (KY), 118, John R. Velazquez