When last seen, Eightyfiveinafifty was blowing the first turn in the Feb. 6 Whirlaway Stakes in a failed effort to stay on the Triple Crown trail. Trainer Gary Contessa has decided to keep the speedy 3-year-old going one turn and he will return against six rivals in the $200,000 Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III) April 3 at Aqueduct.
The seven-furlong Bay Shore is one of four graded stakes on an Aqueduct card that includes the grade I Wood Memorial and Carter Handicap, and the grade III Excelsior Stakes.
Eightyfiveinafifty, who is also co-owned by Contessa, did not finish the 1 1/16-mile Whirlaway after bolting, crashing through the outer rail, and dumping rider Jorge Chavez. The Forest Camp colt required 14 stitches to repair a leg cut during an incident that could have been much worse. Since then, Eightyfiveinafifty has fired a series of bullet works at Aqueduct and appears to be back on track.
“He has trained brilliantly for the Bay Shore,” Contessa said. “He seems to have his head together since his accident, and every workout has been strong. Hopefully, we will see his “A” race on Saturday. Once his wounds healed, he trained very well and seems to have had no ill effects from the incident in the last start.”
The bay colt drew headlines when he broke his maiden by more than 17 lengths at Aqueduct Jan. 9 while earning a 105 Beyer Speed Figure. That effort prompted Contessa to call him the “most talented horse I’ve ever trained.”
Eightyfiveinafifty will have Ramon Dominguez aboard for the Bay Shore. They drew post 1.
Contessa will also send out Team Stallion Racing and partner’s Castaneda, another speedy runner who won the Fred Capossela Stakes March 6 at Aqueduct in wire-to-wire fashion. The Yonaguska gelding broke his maiden by more than six lengths in February in his fifth try. Chavez has the call.
Carrying top weight of 120 pounds is Two Tone Farms’ El Rocco, a Pennsylvania-bred entering off an allowance win in the mud Jan. 19 at Philly Park in which he recovered gamely after clipping heels early. El Rocco was third in the grade III Sapling Stakes at Monmouth as a juvenile.
“It's a big step up from where he's coming from," trainer Bruce Levine said of going from an entry-level allowance to the Bay Shore. “But he's doing all right.”
Julien Leparoux has the mount on the son of Vicar.
One race after the Bay Shore is $200,000 Excelsior Stakes for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles. Carrying top weight of 121 pounds in the field of six is Edward Evans’ Nite Light, who won the Turfway Park Fall Championship (gr. III) last year. Nite Light was runner-up in the 2008 Excelsior. John Velazquez rides for Todd Pletcher.
$200,000 Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III, Race 7, 4:08 p.m.), 3YO, 7 Furlongs (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Eightyfiveinafifty (KY), R A Dominguez, 116, G C Contessa
2. Raynick's Jet (NY), D Cohen, 116, S M Asmussen
3. Noah's Dream (KY), K Carmouche, 116, H G Motion
4. Castaneda (NY), J F Chavez, 120, G C Contessa
5. Hurricane Ike (FL), C H Borel, 116, J W Sadler
6. El Rocco (PA), J R Leparoux, 120, B N Levine
7. Remand (KY), J R Velazquez, 116, J P Terranova II
$200,000 Excelsior Stakes (gr. III, Race 8, 4:40 p.m.), 3YO and Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Seniors Pride (FL), C Hill, 117, M Tannuzzo
2. Stargleam (KY), R Napravnik, 117, W Badgett, Jr.
3. Nite Light (KY), J R Velazquez, 121, T A Pletcher
4. Goldsville (FL), R A Dominguez, 117, M E Hushion
5. More Than a Reason (KY), D Cohen, 117, R Persaud
6. National Pride (KY), R Migliore, 117, K P McLaughlin