Alysweep Wires Gotham Stakes

Alysweep led every step of the way, drawing away in the stretch to capture Sunday's $200,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct Park.

Ridden by Richard Migliore, Alysweep stretched out for the first time to a mile and 70 yards on the inner Aqueduct surface to defeat Grey Comet by 4 1/4 lengths. Spite the Devil was third, 1 1/2 length behind the runner-up. Alysweep improved to 4-for-5 on the inner track, where he has won all of his races.

The Gotham, originally scheduled as a one-turn mile on the main track, was kept on the inner track due to recent weather conditions. The two turns, Aqueduct's inner dirt track and the distance of a mile and 70 yards all seemed to suit Alysweep, who hardly had an anxious moment while going in splits of :23 4/5; :47 3/5; 1:11 4/5 and 1:36 2/5. He hit the wire at 1:40 3/5 on the fast track.

The chestnut ridgling by End Sweep was pressured by Max Forever and Torre and Zim on the turn for home. But Alysweep responded and pulled away from them at the top of the stretch. Grey Comet, racing in fourth place at the rail for Aaron Gryder, picked up the running in the stretch, but was no match for the winner, who opened a three-length lead by the sixteenth pole. Spite The Devil and rider Mike Luzzi rallied for third, holding off favored Colita for the show spot.

"This was a big effort," said winning trainer Patrick Reynolds. "He's got speed, speed and more speed - and that's what racehorses need. Richie (Migliore) had him on cruise control.

"This guy seems to relax and he seems to accelerate around turns," Reynolds added. "He gets down low and stretches out good. This is a step in the right direction. I don't want to be a `rabbit' or a pacesetter in any grade I race, but as easy as he did this, we'll have to really think about the Wood Memorial. He's got a lot of Aqueduct wins. I'm thinking either Wood or Blue Grass."

The $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I) at 1 1/8 mile at Aqueduct is on April 12.

Alysweep earned owners by Mark Doneson and Michael Dubb $120,000 with the victory and improved his career bankroll to about $220,000. Patrick Reynolds is the trainer. Alysweep was a $100,000 Ocala Breeders Sale Feb. 20002 purchase. He was bred in Florida by MGG Holdings.

Sent off at 9-1, Alysweep paid $21, $9.30 and $7.30. Grey Comet returned $5.10 and $3.40. Spite the Devil's show price was $5. The $2 exacta was $88.

New York Hero and Cherokee's Boy, who drew posts 10 and 11, respectively, for the Gotham were scratched. Trainer Gary Capuano said he might opt to run Cherokee's Boy in Saturday's $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at nine furlongs at Turfway Park.

(Chart, Equibase)