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Aqueduct Racetrack Notes - February 23

By NYRA Press Office | 02/23/2014 02:44 PM ET
Sweet Reason
PHOTO/Adam Coglianese

  • G3 Gotham probable Deceived, G1 winner Sweet Reason breeze six furlongs in company for Gyarmati
  • Todd's trio of Master Lightning, Teen Pauline, and Royal Lahaina breeze at Belmont in lead up to Gotham Day
  • Flash Forward breezes 5f for G2 Top Flight H; Flores Island works a half
  • "Go Red for Women" campaign scheduled for Monday, February 24, at the Big A

Trainer Leah Gyarmati on Sunday tightened the screws on Treadway Racing Stable's Grade 3 Gotham contender Deceived, who breezed six furlongs in company with Sweet Reason on the Belmont Park training track. Both sophomores were clocked in 1:16.10.

Deceived is set to make his first start against open company in the $500,000 Gotham, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds. In his past three starts, the bay son of Broken Vow broke his maiden by 7 ½ lengths on December 7, finished third by 19 ½ lengths 11 days later in the Damon Runyon, and won an entry-level optional claimer by 8 ¼ lengths on January 31. All three races were at Aqueduct and were restricted to New York-breds.

Sweet Reason, who won the Grade 1 Spinaway in September at Saratoga Race Course, is unraced since finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies in November at Santa Anita.

"She kind of opened up a little at the end, and he came back on the inside for the gallop out, so it worked out well for them, mentally," said Gyarmati. "They both thought they won."

Gyarmati said she put a lot of thought into her decision to have Deceived breeze six furlongs six days before the Gotham.

"It's hard when you're not able to train every day to jump up and do things," said Gyarmati. "You don't want to go from jogging in the barn for four days to breezing a mile, so you kind of have got to compromise, but he's good and fit and has been running."

Gyarmati has not committed to a comeback race for Sweet Reason, but did say Aqueduct's Grade 2, $300,000 Gazelle for 3-year-old fillies on April 5 is possible.

"I'd like to make the Gazelle; I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to get there," said Gyarmati. "With the weather, I don't want to do anything stupid. I'm going to just train her until she's ready. When she's ready, I'm going to find something, and we'll go from there."

Members of Todd Pletcher's New York contingent took to the Belmont training track on Sunday to turn in final breezes in the lead up to Gotham Day at Aqueduct.

Master Lightning, one of Pletcher's three sophomore colts under consideration for the Grade 3, $500,000 Gotham, breezed four furlongs in 49.55. Teen Pauline and Royal Lahaina, both probable for the Grade 2, $200,000 Top Flight Handicap, breezed in company and covered four furlongs in 48.71.

Both Master Lightning and Surfing U S A are probable for the Gotham. Harpoon is possible. Surfing U S A and Harpoon are currently training at Palm Meadows in Florida.

After winning an entry-level optional claimer by three-quarters of a length in December at Aqueduct, Master Lightning finished seventh in the Big A's Grade 2 Jerome on January 4 and fourth in the Miracle Wood on January 25 at Laurel Park. The Pulpit colt is owned by Alan R. Cook.

"[Master Lightning] was in hand and galloped out very strongly and looked very well," said Byron Hughes, assistant to Pletcher, of Master Lightning's breeze. "His coat is shining and looks great."

Stonestreet Stable's Teen Pauline has won two straight at Aqueduct, having taken the Affectionately by 4 ¾ lengths on New Year's Day and the Ladies Handicap by 10 ¾ lengths on January 25. James A. Riccio's Royal Lahaina was third and fifth, respectively, in those two races.

"They both went well and were in hand," said Hughes. "They galloped out together and definitely are good work partners."

Among those pointing to the Grade 2 Top Flight Handicap is Brooklyn Boyz Stables' Flash Forward, who breezed an easy five-eighths in 1:02.45 under jockey Cornelio Velasquez Sunday morning over Belmont Park's training track.

The move was the 16th fastest of 28 at the distance.

"She's run well at Aqueduct but she ran good at Belmont and Saratoga, too," said trainer Dominick Schettino. "She likes two turns. She's doing well and with this morning's work she should be ready for the race."
Second behind Teen Pauline in the Ladies Handicap on January 25, the 4-year-old Curlin filly compiled a record of 2-3-1 from nine starts last year, including an allowance victory at Gulfstream Park and a win in the restricted My Flag at Saratoga Race Course.

Also working for a possible start in the 1 1/16-mile Top Flight was Gainesway Stable's Flores Island, who has won three straight, most recently a second-level level optional claimer on January 10. The Bill Mott-trained filly went a half-mile in 51.14 on Belmont's training track.

Racing fans are invited to show their support for the American Heart Association's "Go Red for Women" campaign on Monday, February 24, at Aqueduct Racetrack. Guests can participate by making a contribution on track to the "Go Red for Women" campaign, and will receive a "Go Red for Women" limited edition pin with a $2 donation.

The goal of the American Heart Association's "Go Red for Women" campaign is to fight heart disease by increasing awareness and raising funds for vital research and educational programs.