Colita to use Gotham as Wood Memorial Prep

Colita, whose two victories from four starts were both in New York, will return to the Big Apple on Friday to contest Sunday's Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct as a prep for the Wood Memorial.

With the opening of the main track at Aqueduct delayed indefinitely, the Gotham will be run at 1-mile-and-70-yards on the inner track around two turns. The race was originally scheduled to be run at one mile on the main track around one turn.

A run of bad weather in the Northeast has caused several cancellations and delayed work on the main track. The Gotham, the traditional prep for the Wood Memorial, drew 53 nominations, including Count Fleet winner Grey Comet and Deputed Testamony winner Cherokee's Boy.

"Now that the Gotham will be run around two turns," said Barry Irwin, president of Team Valor, which owns the 3-year-old son of Grindstone in partnership with Mercedes Alvarez and Luis Morales. "We feel this is our colt's best opportunity to prep for the Wood Memorial."

Trained by Carlos Morales, Colita finished fifth as the even-money favorite in the Sam F. Davis Stakes contested over a sloppy track at Florida's Tampa Bay Downs.

On Saturday, Colita worked five furlongs in a bullet 1:01 (fastest of 17) at Palm Meadows training center.