With an eye to the future, seven 3-year-olds will find out if maturity and distance are on their side when they line up for the $100,000 Whirlaway Feb. 5 at Aqueduct.
The 2-1 favorite for the 1 1/16-mile race is undefeated Klaravich Stables’ Rescind the Trade
, who broke his maiden at Parx Racing and took an optional claimer at Aqueduct on Dec. 19.
“His Parx race was very professional,” said trainer Rick Violette. “He had to tap on the brakes a couple of times, and prevailed in a stretch-long duel over a horse who won the next time out. In his next start, his first around two turns, the first turn surprised him, and when he got to the five-eighths pole he didn’t understand he still had another turn to go. He lost all position, but then circled widest and came back to beat a horse (Pants On Fire) who went on to finish second in the LeCompte stakes at the Fair Grounds.
“So he overcame a less than perfect trip, and those turned out to be nice horses he beat. You hope it carries forward.”
Alan Garcia will ride the Put It Back colt from post 3.
Another top contender is Preachintothedevil
, who comes into the Whirlaway off a mild upset in the Champagneforashley Stakes when he sat three-wide before taking over and pulling clear to a 3 1/4-length victory, his second in three starts. Trained by Gary Contessa, the Pulpit
colt was a 7 1/4-length winner in his debut on turf and then finished third in the Damon Runyon.
“It will be the acid test,” said Contessa, who trains Preachintothedevil for Crossed Sabres’ Farm. “With a young horse you like to see every race be a step forward, whether it’s a baby step or a big step. He went from a maiden race to a stakes, and performed well, and then won a stakes. He’s continuing to impress me. And if we have even the remotest idea this horse has a chance to go to the Triple Crown, this is the place to find out.”
Junior Alvarado rides Preachintothedevil, 4-1 on the morning line, from post 5.
Also in the mix is Sky Music, who has two victories in four starts for Todd Pletcher, all against state-breds. He followed his maiden victory at Belmont on Oct. 3 with a 3 3/4-length win in the Restrainor Stakes on Nov. 18 at Aqueduct, and then finished fourth and third, respectively, as the favorite in the Damon Runyon and the Champagneforashley.
The 5-2 second choice is J J's Lucky Train
, who was runner-up in the Count Fleet on New Year’s Day.
$100,000 Whirlaway (Race 8, 3:49 p.m.), 3YO, 1 1/16 Miles (Inner Track)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1 Toby's Corner (FL), E Castro, 118, H G Motion
2 Arthur's Tale (KY), C C Lopez, 116, T Albertrani
3 Rescind the Trade (FL), A Garcia, 118, R A Violette Jr.
4 Norman Asbjornson (PA), J D Acosta, 122, C W Grove
5 Preachintothedevil (NY), J Alvarado, 118, G C Contessa
6 J J's Lucky Train (KY), J C Ferrer, 120, W D Anderson
7 Sky Music (NY), D Cohen, 118, T A Pletcher