Alfred G. Vanderbilt Stakes (gr. I) winner Poseidon's Warrior has been pegged the 135-pound highweight for the grade III Fall Highweight Handicap at Aqueduct Race Course Nov. 22, the traditional Thanksgiving Day feature at the Big A.
First race post time will be 11:25 a.m., with the nine-race card set to conclude by 3:10 p.m.
The 4-year-old Speightstown colt, who pulled off a 36-1 stunner in the Vanderbilt at Saratoga, subsequently finished third in the Vosburgh Invitational Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park and then a dull 14th in the Xpresbet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park.
“Initially, we thought it would be too quick from the Breeders’ Cup after shipping from coast-to-coast and back, but he’s doing very well,” said trainer Butch Reid from Philadelphia, where he has Poseidon’s Warrior for Swilcan Stable. “He kind of sleep-walked around there at Santa Anita, but back in the cool weather, he’s a different horse. He had a great blowout down the lane Saturday (Nov. 17) morning, 22 and change, and that kind of made our minds up.”
With Irad Ortiz, Jr. named to ride, Poseidon’s Warrior drew post position 5 and was made the 8-5 favorite on the morning line.
Repole Stable’s Caixa Eletronica, who successfully toted 131 pounds to win a 1 1/8-mile starter handicap at Saratoga in 2011, was assigned 133 pounds as he looks to return to the winner’s circle for the first time since June. The 7-year-old son of Arromanches, who this year won the Rise Jim overnight stakes at the Big A, the Charles Town Classic (gr. II) and the True North Handicap (gr. II) on Belmont Stakes day, most recently finished seventh as the favorite in the Bold Ruler Handicap (gr. III) at Belmont.
“I think the track was speed biased (in the Bold Ruler),” said trainer Todd Pletcher. “It seemed like during that little window of time, very few horses were making up any ground. They had to run against the grain of the track.”
Javier Castellano will ride Caixa Eletronica, 9-5 on the morning line, from post 2.
Also toting 133 pounds will be grade I Foxwoods King’s Bishop winner Willy Beamin, who on Saturday at Aqueduct set the pace in the Discovery Handicap (gr. III) before yielding in the stretch to Called to Serve.
Joining him from trainer Rick Dutrow Jr.’s barn will be This Ones for Phil, who has a pair of victories and two seconds in four 2012 starts. The 6-year-old gelded son of Untuttable, who in 2009 won the Swale Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, will be making his first start since finishing second as the favorite in the Diablo overnight stakes at Belmont in May.
Alan Garcia was named aboard Willy Beamin, who drew post position 3 at 6-1 on the morning line, while Ramon Dominguez will ride 5-1 This Ones for Phil from the rail.
Making his graded stakes debut is New York-bred stalwart Mine Over Matter, most recently victorious in the Hudson Stakes on New York Showcase Day at Belmont. The 5-year-old son of Mineshaft is 1-2-1 from seven starts over the Big A main track, including a last-to-first victory in the restricted Fabersham overnight stakes in April.
“He should get a good set up (in the Fall Highweight),” said trainer Mike Hushion of Chester and Mary Broman’s homebred. “I’d like to win a graded stake with him. Mr. Broman would like to win a graded stake with him."
Rounding out the field is Small Town Talk, second to Hymn Book in the Frank “Pancho” Martin overnight stakes on Oct. 19 at Belmont.
$150,000 Fall Highweight Handicap (gr. III, race 8, approximate post 2:42 p.m., 3-year-olds and up, six furlongs
PP, Horse, Jockey, Wgt, Trainer, ML
1, This Ones for Phil, R. Dominguez, 130, R. Dutrow Jr., 5-1
2, Caixa Eletronica, J. Castellano, 133, T. Pletcher, 9-5
3, Willy Beamin, A. Garcia, 133, R. Dutrow Jr., 6-1
4, Mine Over Matter, J. Velazquez, 129, M. Hushion, 8-1
5, Poseidon’s Warrior, I. Ortiz Jr., 135, R. Reid Jr., 8-5
6, Small Town Talk, E. Castro, 129, C. Simon, 15-1