Spooky Mulder, a winner of 28 of 70 lifetime starts and nearly $800,000, will try once again -- for the 16th time -- to scare up his first graded stakes victory in Saturday's $100,000 Gravesend Handicap (gr. IIT) at Aqueduct. With little glitz and glamour, the $5,000-pedigreed Spooky Mulder, soon to be 9, has earned the respect of horseplayers nationwide the hard way, grinding out win after win after win.
Eight colts and geldings will oppose Spooky Mulder in the six-furlong Gravesend. Will He Shine, an impressive winner of his last pair, is the likely favorite.Aqueduct will be dark from Dec. 18 to 26. Racing resumes at the Big A Dec. 27.The gelding Spooky Mulder has been as good as ever in 2006, winning five of 11 starts and $206,000. Most of Spooky's '06 campaign was spent with trainer Pat Reynolds, who claimed him in April for $100,000. But last month, owner Bruce Golden and trainer Scott Lake reclaimed Spooky for $75,000. For Golden and Lake, this is the third time they've claimed Spooky Mulder. Overall, Spooky Mulder has won 12 races for Golden, a former dentist and co-owner of Snapple Beverages."I just love him," said Golden, who has paid a total of $150,000 reclaiming Spooky Mulder over the years. "He's got a lot of heart and just gives everything he's got. I've never claimed a horse as old as him before, but I've got so much confidence in him. If any horse deserves to win a stake, he's the one." On Nov. 19, Spooky Mulder appeared hopelessly beaten mid-stretch of an optional claimer over the inner track. Somehow, he found an extra surge in the shadow of the wire and went from third to first in a couple of jumps, denying Morine's Victory the win by a neck.Trainer Lake remains on suspension for a medication violation, so Steve Krebs will be the listed trainer in the Gravesend. Krebs won the Gravesend last year with Banjo Picker.
Spooky Mulder finished seventh in the 2005 Gravesend. Will He Shine, a $650,000 yearling purchase by Silver Deputy, appears the horse to beat. Trained by Dale Romans, Will He Shine has been sparingly raced, but he owns four victories and has never finished worse than second in six starts. In his last race Oct. 27, Will He Shine earned a third-level allowance at Aqueduct comfortably.The speedy Bishop Court Hill won the Carter (gr. I) at Aqueduct in April, but had little luck drawing the outside post in a race filled with quality early speed. Judiths Wild Rush and Santana Strings both own strong prior efforts in graded stakes company.$100,000-added Gravesend Handicap (gr. III, Race 8, 3:44 p.m.), 3 & Up, 6 Furlongs (Inner Track)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Santana Strings (FL), 115, Shaun Bridgmohan
2. Introspect (NY), 115, Mike Smith
3. Mantoloking (KY), 113, Joe Bravo
4. Will He Shine (KY), 114, Ramon Dominguez
5. Spooky Mulder (KY), 114, Eibar Coa
6. Lucky Gamble (FL), 112, Charles Lopez
7. Maddy's Lion (MD), 114, Pablo Fragoso
8. Judiths Wild Rush (KY), 117, Norberto Arroyo, Jr.
9. Bishop Court Hill (KY), 117, John Velazquez