Naughty New Yorker Favored in New York Derby

Edited press release
After charging from 14 lengths back to win the Mike Lee Stakes at Belmont Park on June 26, Naughty New Yorker will face 11 foes on Saturday afternoon at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack, as he looks to capture the 33rd renewal of the $150,000 New York Derby, and with it the second leg of the OTB's Big Apple Triple.

Listed as the early lukewarm favorite at 3-1, Naughty New Yorker has three wins in 13 career starts. Jorge Chavez, who was aboard 1997 New York Derby winner Mr. Groush, is listed to ride the colt for Fox Ridge Farms and trainer Patrick Kelly.

Caribbean Cruiser, winner of the Aspirant Stakes and New York Breeders' Futurity last year as a 2-year-old, and the Ontario County Stakes on June 19, is the lone local entrant in the field. The colt that is listed as the 9-2 second choice has won four of his six lifetime starts, with three of those wins coming at Finger Lakes, but will go farther than seven furlongs for the first time in his career. Chin Yang is slated to ride once again for Star Track Farms and trainer Donna Bireta.

Sort It Out drew the far outside post. The 17th place finisher in this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) rebounded with a second place finish in the Mike Lee his next time out. The Bob Baffert-trainee scored a second place finish in the Lexington Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland on April 23 and a third place show in the WinStar Derby at Sunland Park on April 2. The most experienced runner in the field has 14 starts, including seven at distances similar to that of the New York Derby. All four of Sort It Out's career victories have come in those distance races.

Current leading Finger Lakes jockey John Grabowski is listed to be aboard the Thomas Bush-trained Gold and Roses, a sixth-place finisher in the Mike Lee and 10-1 on the morning line. The gelding has three wins in four starts this year, including the New York Stallion Times Square Stakes on April 24 at Aqueduct.

Established in 1999, the OTB's Big Apple Triple is a series of three races for New York-bred 3-year-olds that offers a $250,000 bonus to the owner of any horse that can capture all three legs of the series. It begins with the Mike Lee Stakes at Belmont Park, continues with the New York Derby and concludes with the Albany Stakes at Saratoga on August 24. Since its inception, no horse has captured all three legs, with Image Maker in 2000 the only horse to capture the first two.

The field for the New York Derby:

1 (a) -- Meniscus, Michael Davila, 117, 8-1
1 (a) -- Organizer, Michael Davila, 115, 8-1
2 -- Naughty New Yorker, Jorge Chavez, 121, 3-1
3 -- Freddy the Cap, Daniel Velazquez, 117, 8-1
4 -- Caribbean Cruiser, Chin Yang, 121, 9-2
5 -- Tergesti, John Davila Jr., 119, 10-1
6 -- Accountforthegold, Raymond Brian Sabourin, 121, 5-1
7 -- Twooutsintheninth, Julio Pezua, 10-1
8 -- Gold and Roses, John Grabowski, 124, 10-1
9 -- Thunderprince, Fernando Jara, 119, 15-1
10 -- Bold Decision, Pedro Rodriguez, 20-1
11 -- Sort It Out, (no rider named), 124, 6-1
(a)--Coupled entry