NYRA announced Dec. 1 the stakes schedule for the 2015 winter meet at Aqueduct Racetrack, which will offer 23 stakes worth more than $3 million, as well as the inaugural running of the New York Claiming Championship Series.
Dust will be shaken from the records of three old horses heading into the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) this Saturday thanks to New York-bred Samraat and his run in the June 7 classic.
"This horse has got the mind for a Derby horse," Gary Contessa remarked. "He'll walk into that stadium and there'll be 150,000 people there...and he'll be like 'Yeah, this is cool...whatever.' "
Two New York-breds stood out in a six-horse field heading into the $250,000 Withers Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct Racetrack, and those two put on quite a show with undefeated Samraat prevailing in the end.
Eclipse Award champion and recent Gotham (gr. III) winner Hansen will school in the paddock at Turfway Park March 9 between the sixth and seventh races,
The $400,000 Gotham (gr. III) at Aqueduct March 3 will likely feature more than a dozen 3-year-olds, headed by 2011 juvenile champion Hansen.
Odds-on Stay Thirsty made a successful 3-year-old debut, taking over from pacesetter The Fed Eased in mid-stretch and rolling to a 3 1/4-length victory in the $250,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) March 5 at Aqueduct.
Todd Pletcher said Feb. 23 there were a combination of factors that led him to choose the Timley Writer Stakes as the season's debut for star 3-year-old Uncle Mo.
MAHUBAH'S CORNER, by Avalyn Hunter
Leading Kentucky Derby candidate I Want Revenge is an outcross within 5 generations, partially due to the Argentinian breeding of his dam, but also because of Stephen Got Even's unusual pedigree.
The top three finishers from the Gotham Stakes (gr. III), headed by runaway winner I Want Revenge, are among the probable starters for the 85th running of the $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I) for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles at Aqueduct on April 4.
West Point Thoroughbreds' president Terry Finley said Mr. Fantasy, who finished third in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III), would most likely run in the $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I) on April 4 for his next start. The $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) had also been considered for the son of E Dubai.
Shipping in from California and making his first start on natural dirt, I Want Revenge put away Mr. Fantasy at the top of the stretch and scored by 8 1/2 convincing lengths in the $250,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) March 7 at Aqueduct.
Triple Crown Talk blog, with host Jason Shandler, offers Gotham Analysis and Selections.
Two for one, as That Handicapping Show looks at both the Gotham (gr. III) and the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I).
Saturday at Aqueduct, we're looking for a horse that might be prepared to move forward the most. Between our top two picks, there's one obvious choice, and one that's maybe not so obvious.
On paper, the $250,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) has turned out to be one of the most intriguing and highly-anticipated prep races of the season, as a number of promising 3-year-olds will attempt to answer questions about their ability to go on to the $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I), and possibly the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Trainer Michael Matz said that Gotham winner Visionaire appears to have come out of his March 8 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) victory in good shape, and will ship back to Palm Meadows in Florida March 11.
Trained by Michael Matz, Visionaire looks to improve upon his third-place finish in the Feb. 9 Risen Star Stakes (gr. III). He will have to beat nine others March 8 at Aqueduct, including undefeated Giant Moon.
Aqueduct inner track kingpin Summer Doldrums tries to defend his turf against eight rivals, including several quick invaders in Saturday's $200,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III).
Lawrence the Roman, who had crushed his opposition by nearly 30 combined lengths in three previous starts, gave a severe jolt to the Derby plans of his connections when he beat only one horse in the $70,070 Whirlaway, a race for 3-year-olds won handily by second choice Summer Doldrums Saturday at Aqueduct.
An expected speed duel never materialized in Saturday's $200,000 Gotham (gr. III) at Aqueduct, and John Dillon's 36-1 shot Like Now took full advantage, leading the field all the way to the wire while holding off the previously undefeated Keyed Entry by a neck in a long stretch duel.
The $200,000 Gotham (gr. III), switched this year to a two-turn race on Aqueduct's inner track at 1 1/16 miles, has drawn a strong field of 11 Saturday, including top-notch 3-year-olds Achilles of Troy and Keyed Entry.
"Citgo Racing to the Kentucky Derby," an eight-show series on ABC and ESPN providing comprehensive coverage of key Triple Crown prep races, kicks off Saturday on ESPN with coverage of four races coast-to-coast.
Lawyer Ron took another step forward with his victory in Saturday's Southwest Stakes, extending his winning streak to four. But he still left a major question unanswered. Despite the lack of stakes action last week, there were several horses around the country who stepped up and made people take notice.
Ogden Mills Phipps' Survivalist, winner of the Gotham (gr. III) and runner-up in the Wood Memorial (gr. I), breezed a half-mile in :51 3/5 at Belmont Park Wednesday, after which trainer Shug McGaughey said the colt wasn't likely to run in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
Daddy Joe, a $900,000 son of owner Paraneck Stable's 1996 Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner Unbridled's Song who is set to run in the $150,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) Saturday, worked five furlongs in 1:00 on the Aqueduct inner track Wednesday with jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. aboard.
If Bob Baffert has his way and the weather cooperates, Roman Ruler's long-awaited 3-year-old debut will take place Saturday in the $250,000 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) at 1 1/16 miles.
Grade II winner Roman Ruler, getting ready for a start March 19 in either the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita or the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct, worked a mile from the gate at Santa Anita Wednesday in 1:38 3/5.
Richly Blended. a 6-year-old son of Rizzi, will relocate to Matt and Barbara Butterworth's West 12 Ranch near Lodi, Calif. for the 2005 breeding season.
Saratoga County took advantage of a fast pace to collar Pomeroy in mid-stretch and pulled away to a 2 1/4-length victory in the $200,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct Saturday.
Although the Gotham Stakes is only grade III, and is not known for producing Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winners, Saturday's running of the one-mile event features the most intriguing matchup of the year, between two of most gifted 3-year-olds in the country, Eddington and Redskin Warrior.
With four big Kentucky Derby preps this weekend, as well as the Swale Stakes, one would think that finally some sense of order will be restored to the Derby trail. But maybe, instead of seeing the light, we will plunge deeper into the darkness.
Bettors at Aqueduct on Sunday will basically be clueless when it comes to wagering on the one-mile Gotham Stakes. The two overwhelming favorites in the field of seven, Saarland and Mayakovsky, not only will be making their first start of the year, they have absolutely nothing in common.
Just like that, we lost two exciting prospects from this weekend's stakes, Sunday Break and Saratoga Blues, with the latter not even on the Derby trail any longer. But now it's time to concentrate on the Florida Derby, San Felipe, Gotham, and Tampa Bay Derby.
The $200,000 Gotham Stakes, to be run Sunday March 17, could draw a talented group of 3-year-olds from different parts of the country, including two big-name colts from last year who will be making their 3-year-old debut. Coming up from Florida will be Remsen winner Saarland, who was unable to get a 7-furlong allowance race at Gulfstream to fill on three occasions.
If you heard a shot ring out at Aqueduct on March 18, it was just another of those Benny and Buzz bullets that have been known on occasion to blast a hole in the wind. The latest speeding bullet from the Benny Perkins Jr./Buzz Chace arsenal is Richly Blended, a son of Rizzi who left his field for dead in the $200,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III).
A field of eight evenly matched 3-year-olds will head to the post for the 49th edition of the $200,000 Gotham Stakes (g. III) Sunday at Aqueduct. Co-highweights will be Marciano and Regal Shivers at 120 pounds, four more than the remaining six entrants.
Voodoo had his final tune-up for Sunday's $200,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct, breezing five furlongs in 1:00 over Belmont Park's muddy training track Wednesday morning. The son of Petionville owned by John Moore, Voodoo finished second behind Regal Shivers at 1-5 in the Whirlaway Stakes on Feb. 10.
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