Fabulous Strike, coming off a front-running victory in the Fall Highweight Handicap, heads an 8-horse field in the $100,000 Gravesend Handicap (gr. III) Dec. 27 at Aqueduct.
For 3-year-olds and up over six furlongs on the inner track, the Gravesend is the final graded stakes in New York this year.
A 5-year-old gelding by Smart Strike, Fabulous Strike has made just four starts this year, with two wins and a second to his credit. In addition to the Nov. 27 Fall Highweight, he won the Vincent Moscarelli Memorial Stakes at Delaware Park and was beaten just a head in the grade I Vosburgh Stakes.
His other start, though he finished fifth, was also a good effort. In the Sentient Flight Group Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), he was in traffic and still was beaten only six lengths.
Owned by Walter Downey, who bred him in Pennsylvania in the name of his Tea Party Stable, Fabulous Strike is tough to catch on the lead, having won 11 of 18 lifetime starts.
Trained by Todd Beattie, Fabulous Strike will break from the 2-post under Ramon Dominguez and carry top weight of 126 pounds. He will give up to 12 pounds to his competitors.
Songster, who tired while wide on an off track in his last start, will be one of those to pose a serious threat to Fabulous Strike. Prior to his third-place finish on the off track, he won the Bold Ruler Handicap (gr. III) while shading 1:09 for the six furlongs.
A 5-year-old horse by Songandaprayer, Songster is owned by Darley and trained by Tom Albertrani. He will be ridden for the first time by someone other than Edgar Prado, with Rajiv Maragh getting the mount.
$100,000 Gravesend Handicap (gr. III, race 8), 3-year-olds and up, 6 furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Rider
1. Night Stand, 114, Roberto Alvarado Jr.
2. Fabulous Strike, 126, Ramon Dominguez
3. Songster, 117, Rajiv Maragh
4. Lucky Island, 121, Alan Garcia
5. Good Card, 114, Javier Castellano
6. Grand Champion, 117, Richard Migliore
7. True Quality, 115, Charles Lopez
8. Cavallo Pazzo, 115, Channing Hill