Everyone entered in Saturday's 1 1/8-mile $75,000-added Stymie Handicap at Aqueduct have to fight off a snake that has not let go of his prey since August. Snake Mountain, owned by Berkshire Stud, will go for his fifth consecutive victory and his fourth straight stakes score.
Holdthehelm, who was scheduled to ship from California for Saturday's $500,000 Lane's End Spiral Stakes, will be forced to miss the race after popping a quarter crack.
The $200,000 Gotham Stakes, to be run Sunday March 17, could draw a talented group of 3-year-olds from different parts of the country, including two big-name colts from last year who will be making their 3-year-old debut. Coming up from Florida will be Remsen winner Saarland, who was unable to get a 7-furlong allowance race at Gulfstream to fill on three occasions.
As the masses congregate at the start of the Kentucky Derby trail, there will, as usual, be lots of pushing and shoving until late February and early March when the contenders begin to separate themselves from the pack. But disappointment and frustration can be prevelant just getting to the Derby trail, as evidenced by the number of highly promising juveniles who stumbled along the way last week.
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