​Durante back for more in G3 Fall Highweight H.
Stakes Advance
Nov 19, 2023
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​Durante back for more in G3 Fall Highweight H.

by Mary Eddy

Trainer David Jacobson and JKX Racing’s Durante returns to the scene of his last-out Grade 3 Bold Ruler victory when taking on five rivals in Friday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Fall Highweight Handicap, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up, at Aqueduct Racetrack. 

The 4-year-old Distorted Humor gelding enters from his dominant 2 3/4-length score in the six-furlong Bold Ruler on October 27 where he led at each point of call under returning rider Manny Franco and set swift splits of 21.92 seconds, 44.87 and 56.96. Stage Left attempted to make a bid at the top of the lane, but Durante drew off with ease and completed the course in 1:09.78. He earned a 91 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort. 

“He ran really well and we’re looking forward to another good performance,” said Jacobson. 

Durante has put together a near-perfect record for Jacobson since arriving in his barn in August, winning 4-of-5 starts and finishing a close second in the other. Durante made his first three starts this year in California for trainer Keith Craigmyle before shipping east to trounce a six-furlong first-level allowance by six lengths on August 2 at Penn National in his first start for Jacobson. He followed with two more open-lengths allowance level scores, including a five-length optional claiming conquest on September 16 here that garnered a 96 Beyer. 

“We got him good and then we ran him against some easy company,” Jacobson said. “Every race has been a little bit tougher, and he’s up to the challenge.” 

Durante has worked back twice since the Bold Ruler, most recently covering a half-mile in 50.80 seconds over the Belmont Park dirt training track yesterday. 

“He gets most of his fitness from his races,” said Jacobson. “He doesn’t need to do much in the mornings because he’s running.”

Durante, who carries a field-high 134 pounds, will emerge from post 4. 

William Butler’s New York homebred Rotknee [post 2, Dylan Davis, 130 pounds] earned a 100 Beyer last out when taking the 6 1/2-furlong Hudson against fellow state-breds on October 29 here. 

Trained by Mike Maker, the 4-year-old son of Runhappy dueled early with Today’s Flavor and drew clear of that rival at the half-mile call before extending his advantage to 5 1/2 lengths at the top of the stretch. The dark bay dug in gamely down the lane to fend off the late bid of multiple graded stakes-placed Ny Traffic and crossed the wire one length ahead in a final time of 1:16.23. 

Rotknee, who seeks his first open-company stakes score, won a trio of state-bred stakes last year, led by a 12 3/4-length romp in the Ontario County last June at Finger Lakes Racetrack. Earlier this year, he was awarded a career-best 101 Beyer for a 4 3/4-length optional claiming conquest in June at Belmont. 

Pantofel Stable, Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber’s New York-bred Bold Journey [post 1, Jose Ortiz, 128 pounds] seeks his first stakes win on the heels of a nose victory in a second-level optional-claimer sprinting six furlongs on October 12 here. 

Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the son of Hard Spun pounced from four lengths off the pace to arrive at the wire just in time to collar He’smyhoneybadger. The win marked his first on dirt since February and came three starts after taking a turf allowance in June at Belmont. 

Bred by Fred W. Hertrich, III and John D. Fielding, Bold Journey is a half-brother to Grade 1-winning New York-bred millionaire Americanrevolution. His best finish at stakes level came against fellow state-breds in last year’s Gander when landing a pacesetting second to Barese. 

Ten Strike Racing, Four Corners Racing, Broadview Stables and Cory Moelis Racing’s Win for Gold looks to make amends from a troubled fourth last out in the Hudson after hitting the gate and trailing in last-of-7 down the backstretch. The New York-bred son of Goldencents, bred by Sequel Stallions NY and Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, made up ground late, but had too much to do and finished 3 3/4 lengths behind Rotknee. 

Trained by Michelle Giangiulio, Win for Gold had a three-race win streak ended in the Hudson after taking a starter allowance in August at Saratoga Race Course and two state-bred allowance level scores in September. 

Kendrick Carmouche, aboard for the gelding’s last eight starts, retains the mount from post 5 [124 pounds]. 

Completing the field are a pair of contenders for owner Built Wright Stables and trainer Ray Ginter, Jr. in graded stakes-placed millionaire Sir Alfred James [post 6, Trevor McCarthy, 130 pounds], who enters off a pacesetting fifth in the six-furlong Bet on Sunshine on November 4 at Churchill Downs, and graded stakes-placed Cowan [post 3, Jose Gomez, 130 pounds], a last-out fifth in the Bold Ruler. 

The Fall Highweight is slated as Race 3 on Friday’s nine-race card. First post is 12:20 p.m. Eastern.  

America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the fall meet at Aqueduct Racetrack on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.

NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Aqueduct Racetrack, and the best way to bet every race of the fall meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.

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