Paraneck Stable's Achilles of Troy, winner of the Whirlaway and Count Fleet at Aqueduct, has been declared out of consideration for the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), so there will be no wagering on the colt in Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager when it opens a four-day run on Thursday, April 6.
Paraneck Stable's Achilles of Troy, the beaten favorite in Saturday's Gotham (gr. III), has come out of the race with muscle spasms in his back and will likely make his next start in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II).
An expected speed duel never materialized in Saturday's $200,000 Gotham (gr. III) at Aqueduct, and John Dillon's 36-1 shot Like Now took full advantage, leading the field all the way to the wire while holding off the previously undefeated Keyed Entry by a neck in a long stretch duel.
Never before have three grade III stakes and a grade II stakes come together on one afternoon to showcase so many major players on the Triple Crown trail. With the grade III Rebel, Gotham, and Tampa Bay Derby and grade II San Felipe drawing so many serious Derby horses, this surely will be a make or break weekend.
The $200,000 Gotham (gr. III), switched this year to a two-turn race on Aqueduct's inner track at 1 1/16 miles, has drawn a strong field of 11 Saturday, including top-notch 3-year-olds Achilles of Troy and Keyed Entry.
If you're tired of the same old cast of characters that have been playing the major roles so far, you're going to love next weekend's mixed bag of stakes races. After Saturday, many questions will be answered, and don't be surprised to see some new, exciting faces take center stage on the Triple Crown trail.
Ernie Paragallo, owner of Paraneck Stable, and trainer Jennifer Pedersen finally severed ties when Paragallo entered his horses for Saturday's card at Aqueduct under the name of assistant trainer Frank Amonte.
Santa Catalina (gr. II) winner Brother Derek shot to favoritism at 10-1 among individual horses as Pool 2 of the 2006 Kentucky Derby Future Wager closed on Sunday. But the field entry of all 3-year-olds not listed in the pool was a solid overall choice of bettors at odds of 3-1.
The mutuel field remained the favored betting interest at the midway point of Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, but unbeatens Barbaro and Strong Contender gained solid support as well Friday.
Lawyer Ron took another step forward with his victory in Saturday's Southwest Stakes, extending his winning streak to four. But he still left a major question unanswered. Despite the lack of stakes action last week, there were several horses around the country who stepped up and made people take notice.
It is mid-February, and although the 3-year-olds look to be a solid bunch, there are few standouts. With question marks surrounding some of the leading contenders and the top spots up for grabs, it's time to check out the second wave, which includes several horses whose bandwagons are ready to take on passengers.
Achilles of Troy will be an overwhelming favorite in Saturday's $65,000 Whirlaway Stakes, but will he win the race? There are two indications that he might be vulnerable. Regardless of the outcome, the race doesn't have significant Kentucky Derby implications, since there are no graded earnings at stake.
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