Mayakovsky Flashes His Speed in Gotham Workout

By Margaret Ransom
Michael Tabor's Mayakovsky, who will represent the West Coast Triple Crown hopefuls in Sunday's $200,000 Gotham S. (gr. III) at Aqueduct, was put through his final preparations for the one-mile event with a bullet half-mile work in :46, breezing, over Santa Anita's main track on Tuesday. The Florida-bred son of Matty G., who hasn't raced since a runner-up finish in last year's Hopeful Stakes (gr I) at Saratoga, will leave for New York via Fed-Ex on Friday morning, according to trainer Patrick Biancone.

"He worked very well and galloped out strong. We're as happy as we can be with him," Biancone explained. "He's the best he can be right now. It's been such a long spell since he ran last -- 6 1/2 months -- but we do know that, for sure, this race will help him out a lot."

Because Mayakovsky is so lightly raced, Biancone is still trying to figure out what kind of a horse he has, which is why the one-turn Gotham was selected for the colt's third career start.

"Distance is a question for him for sure," Biancone revealed. "We do know he's a great horse, but how far will he go? The one-turn mile will tell us a lot. If he handles it, then we'll move forward with him and go two turns. If he doesn't, then he'll stay at one turn. We don't want to rush him, but we also want to see if he can stay the distance. We're going to give him all the opportunities possible to show what a really nice horse he is at any distance."

With the weather in Southern California unseasonably warm, Biancone made a decision to send Mayakovsky to New York as late in the week as possible so as not to expose him to an extreme temperature change. The colt will return to his Southern California base after spending just three days on the East Coast.

"We'll leave on Friday morning and arrive at Aqueduct early in the afternoon," the conditioner said. "It's a bit too cold there right now to stay too long. That's why we're going a bit later and coming right back."

Future plans for Mayakovsky are still up in the air, though things will probably become much more focused after Sunday's race.

"He's nominated to everything," Biancone said. "But we'll know more soon enough. We just have to do the best planning possible for him because we've had a long road back with him. He really is a nice horse. He does what you want him to do, is no trouble to train and stays really relaxed, which is a good quality."

Among those Mayakovsky will likely face in the Gotham are Remsen Stakes winner Saarland, Saratoga Blues, and Parade of Music, with possible starters including Tank's Expectation and Medaglia d'Oro.