Favorite Tale poised to break out in Bay Shore
By Sean Morris | 04/02/2014 05:44 PM ET
Coup De Grace
Favorite Tale, though still relatively anonymous among this year's 3-year-old crop, will look to make a name for himself on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack in the Grade 3, $300,000 Bay Shore - part of the TwinSpires.com Wood Memorial undercard - for 3-year-olds going seven furlongs.
Undefeated through three starts, all at Parx Racing, the son of Tale of the Cat has been quietly turning heads in Pennsylvania this winter. His debut on January 4 - for which trainer Guadalupe Preciado confessed his star pupil wasn't entirely ready to run - was timed in a blazing 1:07.66 seconds over a hard Parx surface. A month later, the bay gelding provided an equally dazzling encore: a 1 ½-length victory over next-out winner Alex Inc, stopping the clock in 1:15.12 for 6 ½ furlongs. After a failed attempt to run in the Fred "Cappy" Capossela due to a quarantine issue at Parx, Preciado changed course with his trainee, instead entering him in a first-level allowance race.
"We wanted to run [in the Capossela]," said the trainer. "My horse didn't have to be quarantined, but we just couldn't make it work. I needed a different race to run in because I needed to get a race into him [before the Bay Shore]."
In what was merely a prep, Favorite Tale delivered his most devastating performance to date on March 24, a 14-length win worthy of a lofty 101 Beyer Speed Figure. The victory, both dominating and effortless, was more than enough to affirm Preciado's belief that he had a special horse on his hands.
"I think he can run with any 3-year-old in the country," said the trainer. "He hasn't even been asked yet."
Although the quick turnaround between races is cause for concern, Preciado remains confident the PJG Stable-owned gelding is ready to give a good account of himself.
"He didn't run that hard [in his last race]," said Preciado. "He came back good, he's eating good, and he's training good."
Jose Luis Flores will have the mount on Favorite Tale, 5-1 on the morning line, and the duo will depart from post position 6.
Coming off a disappointing effort in the 1 1/16-mile, Grade 2 Rebel at Oaklawn Park, the West Coast-based Kobe's Back will get back to his favorite trip on Saturday for trainer John Sadler. Since breaking his maiden in a stakes race last summer at Betfair Hollywood Park, the son of Flatter has carried a big reputation with him wherever he's run, one that was cemented by a 5 ½-length score in the seven-furlong, Grade 2 San Vicente at Santa Anita Park earlier this year. However, in both attempts going two turns, the gray/roan colt finished off the board.
"He hasn't done well in his distance races," said Sadler, who trains the colt for C R K Stable. "I think he can run long, but he doesn't seem to relax. When he matures, we think [route racing] will be an option again, but for now he's best suited to sprinting.
"He came out of his last race in good shape. We wanted to get him back under a mile and having won two stakes, he's not really eligible for anything [in California]."
The 2-1 morning line favorite, Kobe's Back drew post position 8 and will be ridden by Corey Nakatani.
Oliver Zip, winner of the Fred "Cappy" Capossela at the Big A in his last start, will try to extend his win streak to three in the Bay Shore. After two wins and two seconds through his first four starts, the son of City Zip exploded in the Capossela, winning by 4 ½ lengths and earning a career-best 99 Beyer Speed Figure.
"He's been training great; he had a great workout [on March 23]," said trainer Kelly Breen. "He responded quicker and better than I thought [after the Capossela], even the next day and he looked refreshed and ready to run."
The Bay Shore will mark Oliver Zip's first start beyond six furlongs, something Breen is confident won't hinder his colt's chances.
"He hit the wire still running [in the Capossela], so I don't think it'll be a problem," said the trainer.
Owned by George and Lori Hall, the chestnut colt drew post position 2 with Rajiv Maragh retaining the mount. He sits at 10-1 on the morning line.
Following a brief stop on the Triple Crown trail in Florida, the Chad Brown-trained Coup de Grace will get another crack at sprinting in familiar climes. The son of Tapit debuted last fall at Aqueduct in a six-furlong dash, besting next-out winner Unknown Road by three-quarters of a length that day. He made his next start - a one-turn mile at Gulfstream Park - a winning one, too, but was handed his first loss in the Grade 2 Holy Bull at Gulfstream after a troubled trip.
The Fox Hill Farms color-bearer will be ridden by Javier Castellano and the pair will break from post position 4. He rests at 4-1 on the morning line.
Rounding out the field are Charleymillionaire, winner of an allowance race at Parx in his last start; Financial Mogul, most recently third in the Grade 3 Gotham at the Big A; Loki's Vengeance, second in the "Cappy" Capossela when last on the track; and The Admiral, winner of a first-level allowance race on March 16 at Santa Anita and trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert.
The field for the Grade 3, $300,000 Bay Shore: