A field of six, minus Badge of Silver, who has now had to miss the race the past two years, will run in Saturday's Carter Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct.
Badge of Silver was coming off two stakes wins in his only outings so far this year and would have been the 118-pound highweight in the seven-furlong race. But an abscess in a hind foot has forced the son of Silver Deputy
owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey to miss the race.
Last year, Badge of Silver was trained by Ronny Werner when another foot injury, a serious keratoma in a front foot, forced him to miss the Carter. He is now trained by Bobby Frankel.
Frankel will still have a starter in Gary and Mary West's Mass Media, whose last win was going seven furlongs at Aqueduct. The son of Touch Gold
won the Sport Page Handicap (gr. III) at the big "A" last October. He enters the Carter off a sixth-place finish, beaten 3 1/2 lengths, in the San Carlos Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita.
The one to beat may be Forest Danger, a son of Forestry
who has been beaten just once in five starts. In his only outing this year, at Gulfstream Park, he drew off to win by 9 1/2 lengths. Owned by Aaron and Marie Jones, who also raced Forestry, Forest Dancer is trained by Todd Pletcher.
He is another with experience at Aqueduct, last year winning the Bay Shore Handicap (gr. II) at the Carter distance and finishing second to Medallist in the Withers (gr. III).
"Obviously, he got us very excited with the way he ran in February. I think he could be one of the best sprinters in the country. Hopefully, we can get a grade I win. He proved last year in the Bay Shore that he likes that track."
Forest Danger was scheduled to arrive in New York via Kentucky today.
Medallist will be the co-highweight in the Carter field, he and Forest Dancer both carrying 117. Medallist has run two big races this year, winning the Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap at Calder and the Deputy Minister Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream.
Rounding out the field are Unforgettable Max, Don Six, and Primary Suspect.
NBC will televise the Carter, Wood Memorial (gr. I), Illinois Derby (gr. II) and Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) during its live two-hour telecast that begins at 4 p.m. Eastern. The Carter is the first leg of the NTRA Pick 3, a wager linking the Carter, Wood and Illinois Derby.
The field, from the rail out:
1 Unforgettable Max, 114, Victor Espinoza
2 Primary Suspect, 114, Pablo Fragoso
3 Mass Media, 116, Javier Castellano
4 Medallist, 117, Jose Santos
5 Don Six, 116, Michael Luzzi
6 Forest Danger, 117, Rafael Bejarano