Former claimer Crossing Point takes a big step up while seeking his fifth strike victory in Thursday's Thanksgiving Day $100,000-added Fall Highweight Handicap (gr. III) at six furlongs.Many wondered what trainer Ben Feliciano Jr. was doing when he claimed the 5-year-old gelding Crossing Point for owners Fred Heyman and Nancy Clark. But the son of Allen's Prospect, unraced in seven months and winless in his six previous starts was claimed for $20,000.
He's won four in a row under Feliciano's guidance since.Crossing Point breaks from post 4 with Laurel riding sensation Ryan Fogelsonger in the 89th running of the Fall Highweight. "I'm not thrilled about carrying a lot of weight," said Feliciano, whose charge has been assigned 133 pounds for Thursday's feature, one pound behind top-weighted True Direction. "We haven't done as much as some of the others have, but I figure I have a pretty big horse and the other horses have to carry a lot of weight, too.Fogesonger, a 21-year-old apprentice, is the leading rider in Maryland and the nation's leading apprentice in both wins and earnings. After a four-win day at Laurel last Saturday, Fogelsonger entered this week with 228 wins this year with earnings in excess of $3.8 million.This is Fogelsonger's first trip to New York. He is also named to ride Tasty Chardoneigh in Thursday's finale.There are two big concerns for Crossing Point. This will be his first start in graded stakes competition, and more importantly, there is no telling what track condition he will face. There is a major winter storm warning for tonight (Tuesday) for the Metropolitan New York area, although that storm was downgraded Tuesday afternoon some areas. The snow, which was forecast to produce anywhere from two to five inches, was expected to tail off on Wednesday and high winds were expected to follow on Thanksgiving Day."That's the only thing: I'm not thrilled about running him on an off track," Feliciano said. "I've never run him on one, and I would not be crazy about trying it in a race where he has to carry a lot of weight."
Moreton Binn's True Direction was third to Gygistar in the Riva Ridge (gr. II) on Belmont Stakes Day before his summer was ruined by a splint bone injury. Still, the 3-year-old son of French Deputy won his return race on Sept. 19 at Belmont Park and was beaten a neck by Say Florida Sandy, the leading New York-bred money-winner of all time, at Aqueduct Nov. 8.Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. has drawn the outside in this race with Sanford Goldfarb's Well Fancied. Winner of the General Douglas MacArthur and the Hudson Handicap on Belmont Park's New York Showcase Day, Well Fancied sports a 2-1-0 record from four starts on Aqueduct's main track. Wachtel Stable and Double S Stable's Sing Me Back Home drew post 3 for trainer Allen Iwinski. The 4-year-old Homebuilder gelding exits a third-place finish in the slop to Multiple Choice in the seven-furlong Sport Page Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct on Oct. 26. Smooth Jazz, assigned 132 pounds, has won four of eight lifetime starts and looked solid when defeating older horses in a third-level allowance here on Nov. 7. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Smooth Jazz has won two of three starts at the distance.$100,000-Added Fall Highweight Handicap (gr. III), 6 furlongs, 3 & up
PP Horse, Wgt., Rider, ML Odds
1 Out of Fashion(L), 128, Migliore, Richard, 10-1
2 Southland Blues(L), 131, Arroyo Jr, Norberto, 20-1
3 Sing Me Back Home(L), 131, Lopez, 10-1
4 Crossing Point(L), 133, Fogelsonger, Ryan, 9-2
5 Smooth Jazz(L), 132, Velazquez, John, 3-1
6 Back Peddle(L), 125, Glasser, Todd, 30-1
7 Vodka(L), 133, Castillo Jr, Heberto, 10-1
8 Gold I. D.(L), 127, Johnson, Richard, 20-1
9 True Direction(L), 134, Castellano, Javier, 7-2
110 Well Fancied(L), 133, Bridgmohan, Shaun, 4-1